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The Lost Art of Jingles

They used to be powerful marketing tools. What can we learn from them?

Guitar with 40% sticker on side -

I love writing jingles. 40 second delights. They were the cotton candy of advertising, and some of the best are still rattling around your head after years and years.

Then, suddenly, jingles became 'uncool.'

Actually, jingles were never 'cool,' but they were incredibly effective marketing. Copywriters hung their heads if they were asked to create a jingle.

They convinced brands to move on.

They were expensive, but they also supported American creativity. Some pretty famous musicians earned moola from jingles. I produced tons of jingles and always felt I was contributing to the arts by providing artist a well-paying day gig.

But in a bit of 'dark history,' the jingle industry became corrupt. Greedy producers ginned-up on royalty charges, and inflated fees until brands turned away.

I learned a lot writing jingles, stuff that I applied across the different aspects of my career.

What were some of the useful rules of jingling?

There's a lot to learn here that can be applied to other forms of creativity.

To create a jingle that not only sticks in people's minds but also sings its way into their hearts is a nifty trick.

As a seasoned jingle producer with a couple of hit tunes under my belt, I'd like to share some strategies I've used over the years. These are off the top of my head and there's a million ways to go about it, but most of these ideas were based on hits I produced, jingles that moved the brand, which after all is the idea.

Jingles sell. That's the point.

What can we take away from this lost art?

Here are 5 ideas.


1. Sing-Along Jingle Model:

The essence of a memorable jingle lies in its singability. Think of songs that people can't resist singing along to, especially around a campfire. Capture that vibe in your jingle, and you're halfway to success! We had one powerful sing-along for Kit Kat (written by Michael Levine) that we traveled all over the country getting people to sing. Very cool campaign.


Find a cultural lodestone, and center your creative thinking there.

2. Jingle Storytelling Power:

I wrote this jingle hit for Budweiser. How did I do it? Simple! I took inspiration from everyday life. Walking around my neighborhood, I observed and wrote couplets about the people I encountered – from a garbage man to a woman on the corner, imagined I was buying them a round in a bar. The result? A catchy hook that resonated with everyone. This Bud's For You. 🍻


When an entire culture is based on antediluvian stories told by a storyteller 8000 years ago, you get a pretty good idea of the power of story.

3. The Perfect Jingle Voice:

For Volkswagen, finding the right singer was crucial. We discovered a vocalist with a distinctive voice and created a character named Helga around her. This not only gave us a fantastic jingle but also birthed an entire campaign. Fahrvergnugen.


Voice is all when it comes to your story, song, vibe, result. Don't cut corners.

4. Jingle Hook Comes First:

The heart of your jingle? The hook. Focus on crafting a compelling hook that incorporates the brand name. It's the part that people will remember and associate with your product. You're a Dr. Pepper too. (Jake Holmes)

I think it was Steve Tyler who said, don't bore us, just get to the chorus. What's the hook? Start there.


Start your story as close to the end as possible.

5. Personal Connection Jingle:

Add the word ‘you’ to your lyrics. This simple trick creates an instant connection between the listener and the message. Making it personal is the key to making it memorable. 'You, you're the one.' (Keith Rhinehardt)


People are interested in one thing--themselves

My years of jingling eventually led me into writing themes for television shows.(Chuggington.) The same kind of rules apply. Basically, if you can master the forty-second form, a world of fun awaits.

I had one major rule: I had to write the jingles in my head.🧠 If I couldn't sing it from memory, what good was it!

There you have it – five insider tips to crafting a jingle that not only captures attention but also wins hearts. We may be well-passed the Golden Age of Jingles, but it's still fun to create a tune that might have everyone humming along! 🎶

🔥Even if it's just for your kids on a car ride!🚙

We hope these were interesting tips (and a bit of history) and we'd love it if you'd support our work by subscribing. It helps us all keep in touch, and frees us from the AI infested swamp of social media! Thanks ~ chris

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