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Top 10 Advertising Jingles of All Time!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

A good advertising jingle has the power to spark nostalgic feelings and get stuck in your head for days. You might even have a playlist full of them. The top 10 advertising jingles of all time are:

  1. McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”
  2. Kit Kat® “Give Me a Break”
  3. Oscar Mayer “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Weiner”
  4. Subway "Five Dollar Foot Long"
  5. Empire "800 Number"
  6. State Farm "Like a Good Neighbor”
  7. Lucky Charms They’re Magically Delicious”
  8. Huggies “I’m a Big Kid Now”
  9. Alka Seltzer “Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz”
  10. Band-Aid “Stuck on Band-Aid”

There used to be a time when you’d turn on the TV and actually watch the commercials. If you’re a Baby Boomer, then you remember Wrigley Gum’s ditty, “Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun.” Kids from the 90s will never get the Wonderball song out of their heads. Even in the digital world, companies like Nationwide and Kay Jewelers are still finding their groove with advertising jingles.

What is the history of television jingles? Which ones are the most popular? Hum along and learn a little more about these classic advertising tunes!

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Consumers like and have fond memories of many jingles. Over a period of time, they can conjure up good memories that are then associated with the brand.

– Charles R. Taylor, Professor of Marketing at Villanova University

What Makes a Jingle Popular?

When it comes to writing a jingle, there isn’t a magic formula that’s bottled up and sold at stores. Still, there are a few criteria that make for a successful one:

Timeless

You want your children’s children to be able to sing the jingle, even if it’s no longer in commercials.

Memorable

The best jingles march to the beat of their own drum and have a catchy rhythm.

Creative

It’s about thinking outside of the box and coming up with something a bit offbeat.

The jingles featured in the top 10 list all hit these notes and strike a chord with the audience. They have been on repeat for a long time, stick in your brain, and are completely original.

1) McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” (2003)

If you’re a hip hop enthusiast, you’re probably familiar with Grammy nominated artist Pusha T. He’s worked with big names like Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, and Drake. Before all this success, though, he was the man behind McDonald’s catchy ba-da-ba-ba-ba. Justin Timberlake came onboard to sing the refrain and the rest is history.

According to AdAge, McDonald’s spent $1.37 billion on advertising when “I’m Lovin’ It” debuted. They released five commercials featuring the jingle and translated them into 11 different languages. The first appearance was in Munich, Germany, sparking debate about whether or not agency Heye & Partner were really the ones who wrote the tune. Regardless of its true origins, this jingle is as juicy as a delicious Big Mac.

2) Kit Kat® “Give Me a Break” (1986)

Kit Kat® gave us a sweet taste of quality jingle writing with the infectious, “Give Me A Break” in 1986. Ken Shuldman was a junior copywriter at DDB Needham when he wrote the nifty tune. He brought on a classic violinist named Michael A. Levine to compose, and people started breaking off pieces of this milk chocolate all over the country!

Kit Kat®’s trademark jingle got a modern update by Chicago native Chance the Rapper in 2016. In the ad, he’s dressed up as a giant teddy bear for Halloween and is shopping for the candy in a gas station. His thought at the end of the commercial: “That’s a good song.” The nation couldn’t agree more, with about 564 Kit Kat fingers consumed every second!

3) Oscar Mayer “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Weiner” (1965)

All it takes is being a weiner to ensure the love of those around you. At least, that’s the sentiment proposed by Oscar Mayer’s enormously popular jingle. The song was composed by Chicagoan Richard Trentlage in 1965. He loved jingle writing and even created one for a fictional company called Modern Plastic Brooms when he was in high school. This fake jingle was so memorable, his former classmates sang it during their 50th reunion. It’s no wonder he went on to create the beloved Oscar Mayer song!

The Oscar Mayer jingle has completely taken on a life of its own. In the years since it was released, it has been sung by a metal band, barbershop quartet, ukulele player, and even a singing parrot! You may even hear the song blasting from the Wienermobile as it cruises through your neighborhood.

4) Subway “Five Dollar Foot Long” (2008)

While the beautiful days of $5 footlongs are gone, the spirit of the catchy jingle is still alive and well. Stuart Frankel dreamed up the campaign to bring more business to a Subway he acquired in Fort Lauderdale. The campaign was so successful, it soon became a national phenomenon. Ad agency MMB was brought on to write the jingle, and from there, this simple song and dance got stuck in people’s brains. The commercials are credited with making the subs one of the best-selling fast food items in the entire country.

Unfortunately, Subway’s eyes were bigger than their stomach, causing them to put the brakes on the $5 footlong campaign. That is until January 2018 when they outdid themselves with an even better deal: a $4.99 footlong. It doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it.

5) Empire “800 Number” (1977)

Talk about marketing genius. Lynn Hauldren, the guy who became known as the Empire Carpet Man, turned the company’s contact info into a hit jingle. The number didn’t always feature the “800” at the beginning. This addition to the lyrics came in 1996 when the Chicagoland area started using more area codes. From that point on, you’d always know who to call for carpet installation.

The phone number wasn’t the only thing that changed over the years. The company is now called Empire Carpet Today, and Hauldren’s caricature has gotten a digital facelift. Still, though, they use the original jingle in their commercials because why fix something if it isn’t broken?

6) State Farm “Like a Good Neighbor” (1971)

Barry Manilow, you know that guy your dad is really into, is the man behind State Farm’s famous jingle. Since it was released, the jingle has transformed the insurance company’s corporate values for the better. In 2018, State Farm started a program called Neighborhood of Good, an entire website that makes finding volunteer work super easy. They have also formed formal partnerships with notable organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross.

As of 2016, State Farm revealed a new jingle that’s geared more toward the positive services they offer. Written by ad agency DDB Chicago, the new tune is “Here to Help Life Go Right.” The insurance company is apparently making good on that promise since about half of Americans have State Farm policies!

7) Lucky Charms “They’re Magically Delicious” (1963)

Lucky Charms has used their catchy jingle since 1963. The magical tune was sung by Arthur Anderson, a man with a strong Irish accent, who also voiced Lucky the Leprechaun in the commercials. The voice actor served as the spokesperson for the cereal until 1992 and then went on to be grumpy Eustace Bagge in the cartoon classic, “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”

You’re probably familiar with all the marshmallows found in a box of Lucky Charms. In 2018, General Mills added a mythical touch to their formula by replacing their hourglass with a white unicorn. This marks the first time the cereal has changed in over a decade! Hourglass or unicorn, they’re still magically delicious.

8) Huggies “I’m a Big Kid Now” (1994)

Maybe you don’t remember the day you became a big kid, but you probably remember this infectious jingle from the 90s. The campaign helped Huggies catapult to the front of the pack when it comes to diaper duty, even beating out Pampers at the time. The success comes from the adorable commercials where kids can be seen singing the tune as they use the potty.

Today, Huggies from Kimberly-Clark owns about 22% of the global market share. Their commercials have also changed since they took their first steps as a brand, though they still believe in the power of music. In a 2015 ad, they sing a slow song about the power of a good hug. It’s less about potty training and more geared toward mothers who just had a newborn child.

9) Alka Seltzer “Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz” (1975)

A good jingle can seriously affect buying habits. Take for instance Alka Seltzer’s tune from the mid-70s. The repetition of “Plop” and “Fizz” in the lyrics encouraged consumers to use two tablets instead of one. This made sales fly through the roof for the medication. Granted, it also might have been that people were eating one too many cheeseburgers.

Ad Age, a marketing magazine in circulation since 1930, ranks Alka Seltzer’s jingle as one of the top ad campaigns of all time. On the jingle’s 75th anniversay, they held a contest to see who could redo the tune in a unique way. Cyndi Lauper, the singer behind “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” judged the contest and the winner received both $10,000 and their song featured on national television.

10) Band-Aid “Stuck on Band-Aid” (1976)

Johnson & Johnson knocked it out of the park with this fun jingle for Band-Aid. This is another one Barry Manilow had a hand in creating. He even went as far as to alter his voice to be more “childlike” in the commercials. The song was a hit and even won ad agency Young & Rubicam a Clio Award for excellence in advertising.

America is still stuck on Band-Aids. In 2017, the brand earned over $247.5 million in business revenue. They are also still coming up with inventive advertising campaigns. One of their more recent commercials features a ballet dancer who gets the bandage placed on her feet after a performance. The final slogan that comes on screen is “Stick with It.”

Hour Glass

Honorable Mentions:

- Folgers “The Best Part of Waking Up”

- Meow Mix Song

- Chili’s “Baby Back RIbs”

- Toys R Us “I’m a Toys R Us Kid”

The Future of Jingles

It’s just like any song that stands the test of time. Music has the unique ability to be both retro and modern. It’s why our playlists jump from Frank Sinatra to Metallica to Selena Gomez. A good melody doesn’t need additional bells and whistles to serve its purpose, which is what makes jingles so great in advertising.

Many brands, like Kit Kat® and Alka-Seltzer, are featuring updated renditions of their classic jingles in commercials. According to Forbes, advertising jingles will make a comeback because the brands that continue to use them are thriving. They create a sense of trust with the consumer and make branding a bit more exciting.

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Some say the jingle’s a classic not to be messed with, while others are eager to usher in new and improved ones for the 21st century that sound more like Top 40 hits than commercials.

– Jessica Long, The San Diego Business Journal

Stats About Jingles

In a survey by the Journal of Advertising Research, 83% of participants recalled an advertisement with a 10 second musical cue.

The Stanford University School of Medicine found that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention.

According to marketing experts, ads with a musical element tend to perform better than others.

The Bottom Line

The word most often associated with jingles is “earworm.” These songs wiggle into our brains and hearts, making us remember the brands when we need them most. Even if you’re not the world’s best singer, you can still use jingles in your advertising campaigns. Worst case scenario, there’s always Barry Manilow.

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She’s a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you’ll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.

References

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Long, J. (2006, June 5). Nostalgic Jingles Still Ring True for Some Advertisers. The San Diego Business Journal, www.sdbj.com.

Redhot Jingles. (2018). Research on the Effectiveness of Advertising Jingles. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from http://www.redhotjingles.com/research-effectiveness-advertising-jinglesresearch-effectiveness-advertising-jingles/

Lacy, L. (2016, August 2). 5 Reasons Jingles are Powerful Marketing Tools. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/5-reasons-jingles-have-marketing-power-beyond-nostalgia/169074/

Baker, M. (2007, August 1). Music Moves Brain to Pay Attention, Stanford Study Finds. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2007/07/music-moves-brain-to-pay-attention-stanford-study-finds.html

Hogan, M. (2016, July 14). The Contentious Tale of the McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ Jingle. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/1227-the-contentious-tale-of-the-mcdonalds-im-lovin-it-jingle/

Nestlé. (2010, October 11). Nestlé Celebrates the 75th Year of Kit Kat. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://www.nestle.co.uk/media/pressreleases/nestlecelebratesthe75thyearofkitkat

The Morning Call. (2016, September 30). Oscar Mayer Weiner Jingle Composer. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from http://www.mcall.com/features/food/mc-oscar-mayer-wiener-composer-dies-20160930-story.html

Nagle, M. (2016, June 2). State Farm Refreshing ‘Like a Good Neighbor’ Slogan. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.pantagraph.com/business/state-farm-refreshing-like-a-good-neighbor-slogan/article_25980f54-c4a0-540c-8282-4e93a5ea7737.html

Nail, J. (2018, January 17). How State Farm Turned a Marketing Tagline Into an Expression of Its Corporate Values. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2018/01/17/how-state-farm-turned-a-marketing-tagline-into-an-expression-of-its-corporate-values/#3e596bc57400

Pomranz, M. (2017, June 22). Voice of Lucky Charms, Arthur Anderson. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/food/voice-lucky-charms-arthur-anderson-passes-away-93

Molina, B. (2018, February 20). Lucky Charms is Retiring One of Its Marshmallows to Add a Unicorn. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/02/20/lucky-charms-retiring-one-its-marshmallows-add-unicorn/354024002/

Mannino, B. (2010, March 23). The All-Time Catchiest Commercials. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.womansday.com/life/entertainment/a1401/the-all-time-catchiest-commercials-104970/

Stevenson, S. (2008, April 21). Jingle Hell. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from http://www.slate.com/articles/business/ad_report_card/2008/04/jingle_hell.html

International Franchise Association. (2018). Five Dollar Footlongs: The History of Subway’s Game-Changing Promotion. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.franchisehelp.com/franchisee-resource-center/subway-five-dollar-footlongs-history-promotion/

Taylor, K. (2018, January 2). Subway Brought Back the $5 Footlong. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/subway-5-footlong-returns-2018-1

Statista. (2018). Dollar Sales of the Leading First Aid Tape/Bandage/Gauze/Cotton Brands in the United States in 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/463318/us-sales-of-leading-first-aid-tape-and-bandage-brands/

Passman, J. (2017, May 30). Why Advertising Jingles Will Make a Comeback. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanpassman/2017/05/30/why-advertising-jingles-will-make-a-comeback/#1a7e53f21b2e