Jingles - the process & more!

So, how do you get one of those catchy, memorable little songs that will have people singing the name and benefits of your brand? In our last blog, we determined that there is, perhaps, no better form of memorability in advertising than a jingle. Case in point: one of our regional jingles, that played only in New York, got national attention on the “Opie & Anthony” radio show, which is syndicated across the country. It was so catchy that they were actually talking about it and playing the jingle on-air for a month! Check out the sample from their show here!

Getting the right jingle:

The first step is selecting the right jingle production company. Look for a company with great credits and an excellent reputation. More importantly, check out their work and make sure their productions are first-rate, musically catchy, lyrically engaging, and stylistically on mark for the companies they are representing. The musical styles featured on their demo reel may differ from what is most appropriate for your company. That’s okay, as each brand is unique and should sound different. The better jingle companies are musically versatile and will stand the best chance of conveying your brand’s message in the most effective way.

Once you find a great company, they will walk you through the process. We usually begin by picking our client’s brain to find out their main selling points, target audience and what personality, vibe and image they want to convey. You don’t necessarily need to know what style of music you would like or think is best, although it can be helpful to have a particular style in mind. Once the jingle producer fully understands your brand, they will typically suggest some genres of music that they think would be best to target your audience and convey your message. They might even provide a couple of musical references to make sure you’re on the same page and have an understanding of the musical direction they have in mind for your jingle.

The process:

Once that is established, the jingle writer may come up with sample lyrics to make sure your message is conveyed correctly. If you don’t already have a slogan or tagline, some jingle companies will present ideas for this as well. The slogan should be solidified first before creating the other lyrics. Lyrics will sometimes change as musical ideas evolve, but you should judge the lyrics on the message. Many people will look at lyrics on paper and say, ”how does it go”? At this stage in the process, it’s more important to make sure your main selling points are there, and that your story is being told correctly. The music will typically come later. That being said, the jingle writer may have a terrific musical hook idea for your slogan and name of your brand first before writing other lyrics. There are no hard and fast rules. The only thing that matters is the end result, and there are many ways to get there.

The jingle company will then create a demo, or in some cases multiple demos. These are typically charged at a demo fee, which generally covers the cost of the singers and instrumentalists at a demo rate. That way, you’re not paying thousands of dollars for something you have no idea whether or not you’ll like!

Once the jingle demo is composed and produced, you’ll have a chance to review it.  It typically takes multiple times hearing a melody before it sticks – so play it at least 3 times before concluding whether or not you like it.  Remember, you can’t compare something you’ve heard one time to a jingle you’ve heard 10,000 times on the air. It’s also recommended to play it on a halfway decent sound system, or with good headphones. Playing it in mono on an iPhone is not really giving it a chance. That’s kind of like walking into a dark room with sunglasses on to judge the Mona Lisa! : ) That being said, it should sound good on an iPhone as well, but we wouldn’t recommend letting that being your first impression.

It’s also important, when judging your jingle, to not confuse your own musical preferences for what is most appropriate for you brand.  You might love edgy, alternative rock but are trying to convey a friendly, happy vibe for your brand. The most appropriate musical style for your jingle, in that case, would likely be different. Ideally, after hearing the jingle multiple times, you should still love it! If not, discuss your concerns about the jingle with your producer and request another demo. If they have an understanding of what you’re looking for, they should get it right!  

Once you have a jingle demo that you love and would like to use as part of your advertising campaign, most jingle production houses will charge you a final buy-out fee for local or regional use. National jingles sometimes involve contracts and residuals for the singers etc., but we’ll address that in another blog!

How much does a jingle cost?

…Not an easy question, since it varies greatly depending on the jingle company, the quality of work they do and the level of production they’re putting into your music. They might create the music track electronically, or they may hire one or more musicians This all depends on the musical style of the jingle and greatly affects the cost. The old adage, ”you get what you pay for,” is largely true when it comes to jingles. You might be able to get a cheapo jingle for $1,500, but it will likely sound like it was produced by a kid using Garageband.  A decent local or small regional jingle will typically start around $4,000 to $5,000. This may sound like a lot of money to some, but keep in mind: a great jingle is sometimes used for decades! It’s an investment worth making, to ensure that your brand name and message sticks for years to come. How many jingles do you remember from your childhood? What other form of advertising can you remember from that long ago? Or even yesterday?

A great jingle can be a very powerful tool, especially when it gets the proper exposure on-air or on-line!

Have questions or would like more information on jingles? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

email: info@sound-imagination.com

phone: 1-800-41 SOUND (417-6863)

Ed Kessel