Monday, November 7, 2011
The Justification of Jingles
With a background rooted in music and fervor for what goes on inside the human mind, I landed at Northwestern University’s Medill School. The pairing of lessons learned in the Integrated Marketing Communications program—ranging from building brand equity and direct and interactive marketing to consumer insight and marketing finance—with a degree in music business management and songwriting has equipped me with a unique perspective. The interconnectivity between music and marketing and the parallels I’ve uncovered have led me to the conclusion that marketing is, indisputably, one of the most complex art forms in existence. The craftsmanship required of truly stellar marketers spans a number of disciplines. To further illustrate perhaps the most obvious link between marketing and art, we need only look to jingles!
There is a place—somewhere between knowledge and instinct—where emotion guides every individual. Arguably, music is the most powerful stirrer of emotion. Nothing compliments a broken heart like the melancholy lyrics of another forlorn soul. The mixolydian scale’s ability to transport an audience to the mystical backdrop of Arabia is unparalleled. Melody is perhaps the most effective way to jolt memory as we are each the creators of the soundtracks to our lives. So where do marketers fit in and how do they leverage these truths—highlighting a natural fit between brand recognition and music—to create melodious marketing?
Truth is, the role of music in marketing has changed but music remains just as powerful and persuasive a tool as ever. Living in the nostalgia-lined arsenals of some of the worlds’ most beloved and longstanding brands are jingles that are forever ingrained in the minds of consumers, young and old. There is no escaping the desire to burst into song at the sight of the Oscar Meyer Wiener truck. When it comes to insurance, thanks to the likes of Barry Manilow we know, like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And there’s no mistaking that to many, the best part of waking up is a certain brand of coffee swimming in your cup.
There is nothing to say jingles today aren’t just as effective as they were in time gone by. More and more, however, music is popping up in the lives of the consuming public in unexpected ways. Part technologically provoked and part the result of what some refer to as schemer schemas—consumers’ intuitive theories about marketers’ influence tactics—people are becoming increasingly savvy and marketers are being forced to keep stride. The use of music in advertising is no exception.
Take, for instance, the success of Coca-Cola’s World Cup soccer anthem, "Wavin' Flag", written and performed by Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist, K'naan. Functioning as the musical centerpiece of Coca-Cola's largest marketing campaign ever, Wavin’ Flag reached 160 countries and skyrocketed to number one on iTunes in 17 countries in under a year. This unprecedented success began with a brief sent out into the musical stratosphere and ended with an uplifting anthem inclusive of Coke’s famously recognizable 5-note melody. According to Emmanuel Seuge, head of global sports and entertainment marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, Coke discovered a new way to tie its brand to the passion of young consumers without seeming heavy-handed. The success of the campaign speaks to a new era in which entertainment marketing prevails and music continues to play a critical role.
Music has always tugged at our heartstrings and has long been pulling at our purse strings. The difference in today’s musical marketing landscape is the stealthy integration required of marketers.
Tyler Witkin, Graduate IMC, @TylerWitkin