What comes to mind when you think of a jingle? Perhaps the operatic refrain of “Go Compare!” or the joyful simplicity of “I’m Lovin It”? Jingles have a unique ability to cut through and lodge themselves in your memory, for years or even decades. They can clearly be an incredibly powerful asset for brands, particularly in these fast-moving times when grabbing attention is becoming an art form.

Why then, is the use of jingles and slogans in decline? Historically, slogans were a key tool in advertising. In 2014 74% of ads in Kantar’s Link ad testing database contained a slogan. They were often associated with big, memorable brands that invested heavily in them and used them across campaigns. Now just half of the ads we test include slogans. Of those, 85% are written or superimposed text, 73% are spoken and just 5% are sung.

Getting noticed

A recent WARC article reported on a study from the Journal of Advertising Research which found that jingles have a “negative impact on the brand alignment of campaigns”. The article covers some of the reasons this might be the case, such as that repeated use of jingles may prevent messages getting through as the jingle becomes logged in memory with little context associated with it. 

However, at Kantar, we have clear evidence that slogans, when either sung or included as jingles, can be a highly effective way of not only getting your brand noticed, but instilling it into people’s memory. Our effectiveness research finds that when ads include slogans that include the brand name, are used repeatedly, and are also ‘sung’, they see a 17-point increase in overall branding scores. 

And it’s not just Kantar, Les Binet, head of Effectiveness at adam&eveDDB, is also a believer in the power of the jingle, as is Mark Ritson who argues that sonic brand cues are one of the most impressive ways to drive brand distinctiveness.

Getting it right

However, simply including a jingle in your ads is not enough. To really help with branding, other factors are important, like including the brand name and using it repeatedly, so it becomes an established branding cue. When these additional factors are included in TV ads, we see a 6-point increase in branding scores.

We also know the power music can have in advertising. When ads also include music with a jingle or slogan, the brand impact is higher still, with a 25-point increase from average. Most importantly, this doesn’t come at a cost. These ads with a 25-point increase in branding also have a 19-point increase in impact, a 10-point increase in involvement and a 6-point increase in understanding, with enjoyment still maintaining average levels.

Thinking outside the box

The potential of sonic branding, aka jingles or audio logos, has taken a new turn with advances in technology. But they are most effective when they work alongside other assets to build meaningful and identifiable brand associations.

A strong, unique sound that appears in your advertising can be reinforced across all touchpoints, from podcasts to social audio. Beyond this, sonic branding can be translated into functional assets such as a custom tune when you turn your car on, or a unique sound that plays when you buy something in a shop. The possibilities to ‘get your brand heard’ are currently on the crest of a wave that it could prove beneficial to stay ahead of.

New technology is creating a more audio-centric world, so brands can now develop deeper relationships with their consumers through sound. The over-saturation of visual media, as we switch from one screen to another, means reaching out to your consumers through the additional sense of sound may now be an important move to make.