Birth of the Jingle

What’s the world’s best connector? I’d say that it’s got to be Music, with a capital “M.”

Everyone loves music, in one form or another. Your preferences may run toward classical, while mine run toward jazz, and Sally Jane loves classic rock, while Bobby Ray loves hip-hop. But there’s always something about that rhythm, rhyme, tone, beat, melody, harmony, cadence and scales that grabs our attention and makes us pay attention.

And if you’re paying attention to the music you love, then you can be sure that others on the planet are digging it too!

Today, more and more companies worldwide are discovering the power of associating music with their brands, and using that association to draw consumers closer into their webs, both literally and figuratively. (Just think of what Charlotte could have done with the Internet.)

Of course, this isn’t really anything new. Background music began gently accompanying product advertisements back in 1923, about the time commercial radio came to the public. Jingles gradually evolved, but the first one was probably from General Mills, which produced the world’s first singing commercial.

It was called “Have You Tried Wheaties?” and was released in 1926 on Christmas Eve. The lineup was four male singers (“The Wheaties Quartet”), who sang this –

Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.

At the time, that advertisement was a huge success – customers loved it – and it literally saved Wheaties from failure because of its previously dismal sales. In 1929, GM’s advertising manager Sam Gale observed that an astounding 30,000 of the 53,000 cases of cereal that they sold were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the only location where “Have You Tried Wheaties?” was being aired.

GM then changed tactics entirely and bought nationwide commercial time for the advertisement. The result – sales skyrocketed and the now incredibly popular cereal was saved!

Music + Words = Marketing Success

Next post – how companies today are taking music marketing to the next level.

More to come,


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