22 April, 2011

Sing a song of adverts

Melbourne Herald Sun, Friday April 22, 2011

Can a song glue your product to the customer's heart? Is it time to get a jingle?

Like everything in advertising, jingles are a fashion item. In the seventies and eighties you would automatically get a jingle written for your new commercial. By the nineties and noughties they had gone out of fashion and any music used would be a recently past hit song.

Now they have started to come back, though their supporters prefer to call them "short songs". But we are still not at the levels of the past.

"They've made a little bit of a comeback," said Mike Brady, "but still nothing like they used to be." Mike should know. In his time he wrote some of the best of them - I'm lucky I'm with AAMI is still being used, and Up there Cazaly resurfaces every footy season.

"They're particularly prevalent on radio," he continued, "A young man at the footy last night recognised me and started singing every jingle he knew - from Taylors Tree and Stump Removal to Call Call Carpet Call."
This is their secret. Mnemonics - their ability to stick in your mind. Paul Kancachian of Image on Line calls it "sonic branding". His company works mainly through the internet and produces a steady flow of jingles, again especially for radio - and in their case, a lot of regional radio.

"I believe they are coming back," he said. "You don't need to be in the room but as soon as the Bunnings commercial plays on TV, you see the commercial in your mind."

Composer Keith Moore blames the decline in Australian jingles on the loosening of advertising quotas. "There was nothing stopping overseas tracks being run here, but the Americans made sure their musicians stayed protected." He hasn't written a jingle in five years, now concentrating on film and TV music.

Both he and Brady point to lazy advertising creatives who just hunt out music tracks and buy up the rights, "Do you know how much they pay for these tracks? Hundreds of thousands but they don't own the song," says a frustrated Brady.

Warming to a favourite topic, he declared, "I still passionately believe that a product in a song will be remembered for decades." He then rattled off You can't beat a Sao for a snack, You ought to be congratulated, Aeroplane Jelly - as having stuck long after the campaigns finished.

He might have added some of his own like The Pride of the Fleet Will Be You and Hard Yakka. "It's an effective way to embed a product in someone's mind."

Journalist Paul Ryan once spent a boozy session with a handful of friends and picked the top ten Australian TV commercials of all times. Six of them were jingles, like the original VB ad ("Matter of fact I've got it now"), Slip Slop Slap, I like Aeroplane Jelly, Louie the Fly, Vegemite, and Life. Be In It.

You've got to admit, these definitely win the going of "sonic branding". But how much do these commercials cost to make?

All made the point that it depends on how grand the track is. If you want the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra it will cost more than one man on a synthesiser, but they start around $10,000.

Which raises a question that has been nagging my mind for the past few weeks. What on earth does La Mer (the sea) have to do with Adelaide wineries? It's a beautiful song but does it really say "Adelaide"?

Blog: themarketeer-raybeatty.blogspot.com

No comments: