The History of the Jingle

by phil on Monday Dec 24, 2007 6:46 PM
wikipedia gem

This is interesting bit from wikipedia on the Jingle


A jingle is a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials.


The jingle had no definitive debut: its infiltration of the radio was more of an evolutionary process than a sudden innovation. Product advertisements with a musical tilt can be traced back to 1923, around the same time commercial radio came to the public. However, if one entity has the best claim to the first jingle it’s General Mills, who aired the world’s first singing commercial. The seminal radio bite, entitled "Have You Tried Wheaties?", was first released on the Christmas Eve of 1926. It featured four male singers, who were eventually christened "The Wheaties Quartet", singing the following lines:

Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.

While the lyrics may appear hokey to modern day society, the advertisement was an absolute sensation to consumers at the time. In fact, it was such a success that it served to save the otherwise failing brand of cereal. In 1929, General Mills was seriously considering dropping Wheaties on the basis of poor sales. However, advertising manager Sam Gale pointed out that an astounding 30,000 of the 53,000 cases of cereal that General Mills sold were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the only location where “Have You Tried Wheaties?” was being aired at the time[2]. Encouraged by this incredible results of this new method of advertising, General Mills changed tactics entirely. Instead of dropping the cereal, it purchased nationwide commercial time for the advertisement. The resultant climb in sales single-handedly saved the now über-popular cereal.

After the massive success that General Mills enjoyed, other companies began to investigate this new method of advertisement. The jingle movement was bursting. Ironically, part of the appeal of the jingle was that it circumvented broadcasting giant NBC’s prohibition of direct advertising[1]: this new variety of advertisement could get brand’s name embedded in the heads of potential customers without trying to sell it. The art of the jingle reached its peak around the economic boom of the 1950's.

The jingle was used in the advertising of branded products such as breakfast cereals, candy, cheerios and snacks (including soda pop) and other processed foods, tobacco and alcoholic beverages, as well as various franchises and products that might reflect personal image such as automobiles, personal hygiene products (including deodorants, mouthwash, shampoo, and toothpaste) and household cleaning products, especially detergent.

Today, with the ever-increasing cost of licensing preexisting music, a growing number of businesses are rediscovering the custom jingle as a more affordable option for their advertising needs.

Creative Commons License