I know I discussed my hatred of most television commercials in a former blog post, but I have another complaint to lodge. Why do commercials get to feature awesome music in the background (like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, or Of Montreal, to name a few)? I mean, that’s great if it gives people an opportunity to listen to new things, or if it gives a band the money they deserve…my problem doesn’t involve either of those aspects. Personally, I do not like hearing one of my favorite songs all spliced and diced to the visual of a gas-glutton SUV or a roll of fluffy toilet paper. I think that commercials cheapen familiar songs because if I see the commercial enough times, I’m bound to picture THAT in my head every time I hear it in another context. And that drives me completely crazy!
Why do television commercials even need to use songs of other artists? Isn’t that the purpose that jingles are supposed to fill? When I was younger, I remember hearing commercial jingles all the time, and they were clever because they forced listeners to commit their business names (and their phone numbers) to memory. I’ll never forget the Empire Carpet jingle: “800-588-2300…EMPIRE!” or the catchy tune that Luna uses: “773-202-LUNA” (I apologize profusely if either of these becomes trapped in your head after reading this). Sure, neither of those is going to win any Grammy awards, but my point is that both are original tunes that effectively advertised a business and its products without having to obtain licenses for or compromise the integrity of an existing song.
I wish that more companies would bring back the jingle and recognize the sheer brilliance of it. Think of all the potential creativity that could be bubbling just below the surface of your marketing campaign…all it needs to succeed is an upbeat tune and a strategically-placed telephone number or website address! People will be humming along in no time.