For those who don’t have a feline friend of their own, any advertisement for cat food they encounter will probably fall under the radar. That is unless the words “Meow Mix” happen to enter their ears. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the company, more people knew the melody to Meow Mix’s iconic 1970s jingle than the national anthem. This fact is even more incredible considering that the company hadn’t run an ad with the tune since 1996. Throughout the history of advertising, many other jingles have similarly wormed their way into the public consciousness, although that hasn’t been the fashion lately.
Jingles began their fall from grace in the 1990s as more companies focused on securing rock star endorsements instead of composing catchy ditties. This trend arguably hit its peak in the 2000s when U2 sold Apple a number of songs to use for their iPod promotion. While undoubtedly effective, the celebrity strategy also required a lot of money to pull off. That’s when companies moved towards making music that sounded like the work of famous artists except with a few key differences. These sound-alikes are not only far cheaper than the real thing, they can also be used to score TV shows as well as ads.
A group of musician-entrepreneurs called Jingle Punks know this better than anyone. The New York-based company has been composing songs both for entertainment and advertising since 2007, with revenue increasing from $5 million in 2011 to more than $18 million last year. Jingle Punks’ 17 songwriters spend their days composing in various genres for almost any use. The finished and approved tunes end up in the company’s library of more than 500,000 songs where potential clients can peruse them. The going rate for music ranges anywhere from $500 for an internal company video to $100,000 for a national commercial, with royalty payments split between the songwriters. Jingle Punks also does custom commissions, like when Meow Mix ordered several remixed versions of their jingle in different genres. Along with scoring ads for many prominent brands, the company also provides the music for shows like The Americans and the Real Housewives franchise. So if you ever hear a tune on television that catches your ear, whether in the middle of the action or during a commercial break, it likely came from a company like Jingle Punks.
- Why are jingles effective in advertising goods and services?
- What’s the danger of using a celebrity strategy in promoting a product?
Source: Claire Suddath, “The Jingle Geniuses Making Millions Writing Music for Ads, Reality TV,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, May 20, 2015. Photo by: Oliver Thompson.