Thursday, April 26, 2007


Al Ries and Jack Trout would never have imagined that the newest weapon of mass destruction in marketing warfare is, hold your breath – music!!!

“Aye mere vatan ke logo… zara aankh mein bhar lo pani...,” sang the melody queen Lata Mangeshkar; hearing which, even Jawaharlal Nehru (then India’s Prime Minister) who was a part of the audience, was moved to tears. That was decades ago; yet, even today, this song never fails to move you. Music has tremendous power. As Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Advertising men have used this tool efficiently, to build brands and beat competition. Think of any big brand in any industry and most likely you will recall a catchy jingle.

“Kya swaad hai zindagi mein…” Do you remember humming this tune in your car or in the shower! That was the heartwarming ad of Cadbury chocolates where the girl jives into the cricket field, oblivious of the crowd, as her boyfriend hits the winning ‘six’. “Jab main chota bachcha tha,” was a jingle of Bajaj Bulbs that was aired years ago; still, the tune is still remembered. Jingles have the power to imprint the marketing message into the hearts of the consumer. Some jingles are so well written and so well made that long after the advertisements have stopped, they still linger in our memory. People remember songs more than speeches. The catchier the tune, the stronger and longer lasting the effect. A research in Australia showed that more Australians recalled the 40 year-old-jingle, “We’re happy little vegemites,” then the first verse of their national anthem.

Jingles help juggle out competitors

More than 80 years ago, there used to be a brand called “Wheaties” in 1926. Its sales started sagging and the brand was close to being discontinued, that’s the time someone created the very first jingle of advertising. The fortunes of the brand turned around and the jingle was a runaway hit! When Pepsi aired its first radio jingle in 1939, it was so popular that it was played in the jukeboxes and became a hit record. Many years later, Coke did the same in 1971 with, “I’d like to teach the world to sing”.

Back home too, Coke has realized how music can make a vast difference to an ad film and to sales. Prasoon Joshi, National Creative Director, McCann, rocked the nation yet again with his “Bahar se hai alag-alag, ander se hai... same-ah same-ah...” The ad has ensured that Coke remains a leader at least as far as “recall of ads” is concerned. According to Prasoon Joshi, music can play the role of a “hero” in the film. The music in a commercial can change the whole image of a brand.

Airtel used the genius of A. R. Rehman to make a tune that would keep listeners hooked on to the ad and to the product. After all, he had charmed millions with his tunes in so many Bollywood flicks. If it was a ‘war of jingles’, then Hutch and its absolutely adorable ‘little boy and pug’ and the superbly melodious jingle “you and I” won the war without much effort. If you are a cellular service provider, then venture forth only if you have great jingle up your sleeve!

Jingles are forever

Some tunes have become so familiar and well loved that they have become synonymous with the brand. Liril may have modified its tune today, but think of “la..lala..lala..lala” and you think of Liril. Think of “,” and you think of Kingfisher, and of the “new kingfisher fan” in the adjacent changing room being taught the right way to hum the jingle.

Jingles build images...and brands!

Jingles have become the identities of some brands. Music being a universal language, it pays to have a “well- tuned” ad! A good jingle grabs the attention quickly, makes a lasting impression, and also gets the cash registers jingling as more and more people hum the tune!

Jingles help associate feelings with the brand. Not many would know in India if you were to ask them which was Mozart’s Fifth Symphony; yet, ask them the tune of the music in the ad for Titan Watches, and they would immediately hum it for you. Titan’s signature tune, which was introduced in 1988, has stayed in people’s hearts even till today. You feel so nostalgic listening to it.

“Deewaron ko jab sahaana ho...,” sang Nerolac and found its way to everybody’s heart and home. “Buland Bharat ki buland tasweer…Humara Bajaj,” made you feel proud of your country and your two-wheeler. “Mango Frooti... Fresh-n-juicy,” gave a sense of energy and youthfulness to the brand.

Piyo glass a full doodh doodh,” suddenly made mundane milk so hip-n-happening.

Today, good music almost ensures a good opening for a Bollywood film; it’s become as important in advertising too. Top composers are being roped in to churn out special tunes to enhance the image of the various brands. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy not only worked magic for the movie Dil Chahta Hai, but made you turn and give a second look to Ford Fiesta and “Go Fida.” Horlicks made drinking milk quickly a lovely game, thanks to Shantanu Moitra’s catchy tune “Epang opang jhopang!” With all brands wanting their own unique jingle, it has suddenly become a very profitable business venture to make jingles. Top musicians today are charging upto one lakh rupees for a jingle! Making a jingle is more challenging than making a whole song; for in 30 seconds, you have to put across your message in a way that makes your brand look different and outsell the competitor.

As radio is fast becoming a popular medium, the necessity for a good jingle is increasingly. More and more people are tuning in to the radio and jingles are becoming as much loved and liked as movie songs. In fact, so many jingles now use the tunes of popular Bollywood movie songs. To sum it up, music and jingles have stopping power (they make you notice the brand), a striking power (they make your brand look different) and sticking power (they remain in your memory).

So if you want your brand to be noticed, go back to the keyboard and guitar, and string out a cherry tune. Your brand armed with a good tune would be in a better position to beat the competition. After all, who can resist good music. As Max Sutherland said, “Jingles are the ‘rhythm method’ of advertising!” Done well, you can jingle all the way up to the bank!

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