There is no doubt that advertising jingles played an important role in American culture. It’s been nearly 100 years since the commercial jingle aired. Jingles became famous on the Christmas of 1926 when Wheaties aired its first-ever radio broadcast.
These were the early days of jingle advertising which people actually enjoyed. Jingles made a great impact on buying habits of generations of Americans. Although there has seen a rise and fall in the use and production of commercial jingles throughout the decades. But the ones that exist are still very popular
Some best examples are McDonald’s “Ba-da-ba-ba-baa…I’m lovin’ it” and the iconic cough drop brand’s “Riiicolaa!” jingle. However, all advertising jingles are not created equal. Some are very catchy and keep bouncing in your head, some fail to impress after a few years, while others are just annoying.
We’ll cover some of the best advertising jingles there have been in the last 100 years. Be ready as there are some interesting revelations about the most famous jingles.
Why Do Brands Use Advertising Jingles?
The answer is fairly simple if you know what’s a jingle!. Jingles are short songs/slogans that are catchy and simple for people to remember. This is why jingles are widely famous for advertising and branding. Advertising jingles are very effective for brand recognition.
We’ve seen some funny jingles, sentimental ones, and even full songs that are set in our minds without realization. With a little digging, you’ll see that famous brands like KitKat and Subway have pretty cool advertising jingles. It’s because jingles are,
1. Timeless – Kids can easily remember and sing timeless jingles. Besides short jingles also reduces advertising expense. Jingles can also be songs which brings us to another advantage.
2. Memorable – If you were born around the 1950s, then you may still remember Wringly Gum’s jingle. It is because Jingles create nostalgic feelings and have the power to get stuck in your mind for years.
3. Creative – People also admire the creativity of commercial jingles. When your think of something offbeat and catch people off guard it immediately puts up a good impression.
The First Advertising Jingle - Wheaties Cereal
Back in the 1920s, commercials were played on radio broadcasts. They sounded quite like jingles and had a slight flowery language. Although these may be the earliest days for jingles, the credit for the first commercial jingle goes to a Wheaties breakfast cereal commercial in 1926. This was just before executives were thinking of discontinuing Wheaties.
The cereal company’s jingle said the following: “Have you tried Wheaties? They’re whole wheat with all the bran. Won’t you try Wheaties? Wheat is the best food of man.” Soon, it was evident that the cereal was getting popular in regions where the jingle aired.
So General Mills launched the jingle nationwide and the success was as sweet as the cereal itself. Even after almost a decade, Wheaties remains a favorite breakfast across the globe.
Most Popular Advertising Jingles of All Time:
The most famous advertising jingles have actually been around for a long time. Their roots go back to even mid-19s. Great jingles are the ones that are simple, catchy, and recognizable by people all over the world. The following list of famous commercial jingles ticks all these marks.
1. “Five Dollar Foot Long” – Subway (2008)
In 2008, the term “Five Dollar Footlong” became famous as Subway was offering their foot-long submarine sandwiches for $5. While those beautiful days are gone, the jingle “Five, Five dollars, Five dollars footlong” is still alive and going well. It was originally created by a Miami Subway owner, Stuart Frankel.
The idea was to use “$5 footlong” in the song as many times as possible. This was a huge success as the company generated a revenue of $3.8 billion. “Five Dollar Foot Long” has been Subway’s most successful commercial jingle ever.
2. “They’re Magically Delicious” – Lucky Charms Jingle (1963)
This magically delicious cereal was created in 1963 but the earliest commercials were missing a theme jingle. Later, an instrumental tune for this was created by the Irish voice actor, Arthur Anderson.
He was also the voice behind Lucky the Leprechaun in commercials. Anderson remained the voice behind this jingle until 1992, after which he became the voice of grumpy Eustace Bagge in the cartoon “Courage the Cowardly Dog”.
3. “I’m Lovin’ It” – McDonald’s (2003)
Did you know rapper Pusha T wrote McDonald’s famous “ba-da-ba-ba-ba” jingle? This was before he got all his success as an artist. Justin Timberlake gave voice to this jingle and the rest became history. People still love this tune because of its chirpy tune that ends with a positive note.
Reportedly McDonald’s invested $1.37 billion in this ad campaign. Five commercials were released under this jingle and they were translated into 11 different languages.
4. “Mommy wow! I’m a Big Kid Now” – Huggies (1994)
You certainly don’t know the day when you became a big kid, but surely would have heard this adorable jingle from Huggies. The “I’m a big kid now” advertising jingle is the biggest ad campaign success, even beating Pampers at the time.
Huggies currently owns 22% of the worldwide market share. Commercials have changed throughout these two decades, but still remain as adorable.
5. “Gimme a Break” – Kit Kat® (1986)
Kit Kat’s original “Gimme a Break” from 1986 combined the sweet taste of chocolate with an amazing jingle. The classic American version of this nifty tune was written by a copywriter named Ken Shuldman. He chose Michal A. Levine (a classic violinist) to compose the song.
“Chance the Rapper” is the new voice and face behind Kit Kat’s new advertising jingle which goes “Break me off a piece of Kit Kat bar…”. This is a soulful and jazzy take on the classic jingle which perfectly resonates with Kit kat lovers.
6. “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” – Alka Seltzer (1951)
Alka Seltzer’s “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” jingle is the perfect example of a jingle commercial turning the tables. The commercial made a huge noise and orders for their cheeseburgers broke records. The original jingle was created in 1951 and the repetition of the words Plop and Fizz became a part of the brand for many years.
7. “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Weiner” – Oscar Mayer (1965)
This popular Oscar Mayer jingle from 1965 is as hilarious as it sounds. Richard D. Trentlage was the one who wrote and gave music to this infamous jingle. Millennials certainly have witnessed the popularity of this advertising jingle.
A good look on the internet shows barbershop quartet (Julien Neel) and even a singing parrot vibing to this song.
8. “Stuck on Band-Aid” – Band-Aid (1976)
Created by Johnson & Johnson, “Stuck on the Band-Aid” became one of the most successful jingles as it won the Clio Award for advertising excellence. The jingle was a huge hit thanks to the voice of famous American artist Barry Manilow.
Above all, Band-Aid still remains most Americans’ choice. In a recent commercial, a ballet dancer uses a bandage on her feet after a performance, with the final words saying “Stick with it”.
9. “800 Number” – Empire Carpet (1977)
The Empire Carpet man, Lynn Hauldren made a clever move by turning the company’s contact information into a catchy jingle. The original jingle didn’t originally feature the number.
They added a number in the commercial in 1996 and because of it, they became easily approachable for carpet installation.
10. “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there” – State Farm Jingle (1971)
“Like a google neighbor, state farm is there” was a catchy jingle for State Farm insurance. The man behind this popular jingle was “Barry Manilow” (an iconic American singer and songwriter). In 2010, the famous American rock band “Weezer” also recorded a cover for this
State Farm now has a new jingle tune that says “Here to help life go right”. This is promising as the company has ties with noteworthy organizations like American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.
Old Commercial Jingles From 19s
Advertising jingles were more frequently used as they became popular around the 1950s. While some may have been long forgotten there are still many just as popular. Here is a list of well-known advertising jingles produced before the 1990s.
1. “You Deserve a Break Today” – McDonald’s (1971)
This was McDonald’s main advertising jingle for two decades after its creation in 1970. The classic version that aired in 1970 was the longest one. After this, the main part of this jingle “you deserve a break today” was used in many campaigns for 20 years.
2. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce…” – Big Mac (1975)
This one crosses the line, but it is one of the greatest American commercial jingles. People born after the 70s know it very well. It is the most creative jingle from McDonald’s. The plot involves a bus on sesame street, picking up kids for school – two twin girls Patty and Pattie, one boy named Laster Cheese who’s picking bunions, and Ross in a wheelchair.
After reaching late to the school, when asked by principal Big Bird about the reason for being late, he cues the music and sings: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese picking bunions on a sesame-seed bun!“
3. “Have it Your Way” – Burger King (1970)
Here comes the elephant in the room, a long-known rival of McDonald’s. Burger King’s “Have it Your Way” jingle wasn’t something that came out of the blue. It was targeted toward McDonald’s weakness and their own strength at the time. This was the fact that “they could fulfill special orders faster than McDonald’s.
In the commercial, you can see a band in Burger King’s orange signature uniform.
4. “Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pepper Too?” – Dr. Pepper (1970)
People born in the 1970s are well aware of this jingle, made for DR. Pepper’s soft drink. The jingle and video commercial were an absolute hit, played all over the radio and TV at the time.
This advertising jingle was also the first appearance of “David Naughton” and “Ray Bolger”? After this, David secured a lead in the film “American Werewolf in London” and Ray played Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.
5. “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!” –
“The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!” This one is a short but very famous 19s jingle from Folgers coffee. Although the original 90s tune is good, the newer ones are even better. These might be better morning alarm than your iPhone’s tune.
This classic jingle was sung by the American music group “Rockapella”. As a morning person, I wouldn’t mind switching to this.
6. “Double your pleasure, double your fun!” – Doublemint Gum (1959)
Yes, even gum commercials had jingles. This is the oldest jingle on our list. it’s simple, catchy, and can be easily recognized by your grandparents. The commercial has twins eating the gum and it’s geared to young and fun-loving people.
Most Catchy Advertising Jingles of All Time:
Here’s a thing. There is a fine line of difference between popular jingles and catchy commercial jingles. Catchy jingles have certain characteristics in common. This includes bits of rhyming, repetitive words, and a fine melodic tune that’s hard to resist.
The following advertising jingles have all these virtues which make them memorable in people’s minds.
1. “I’d like to teach the world to sing” – Coca-Cola
When talking about catchy jingles, you just can’t count out this one from Coca-Cola. Coke has been able to create many advertising jingles. Popular ones include Always Coca-Cola, It’s the real thing, A Coke and a Smile, Coke feeling, etc. However, the best one yet is “I’d like to teach the world to sing”.
The song is just too good to forget. It was actually a pop song by The Hillside Singers in 1971 which later became a jingle in this coke ad.
2. “Nationwide is on your side…” – Nationwide Jingle
It may surely surprise you, but the most recognized jingle actually comes from an insurance company. The slogan “Nationwide is on your side” was created in 1964, and was used in their ads for decades.
This relaxing seven-note jingle was used for over 50 years. With such a long run, there is no surprise that 3 generations of Americans would instantly recognize it.
3. “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…” – Chili’s Jingle
In a way, Chili’s 1986 advertising jingle rocked food lovers better than Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. Jokes aside. You know the song very well, don’t you? “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, I want my baby back, baby back …”.
With such soft words, the jingle sounds both mundane and catchy at the same time. If your want a more soulful take, Justin Timberlake also did a version of this back in 2007.
4. “Give me that Filet-o-fish. Give me that fish.” – McDonald’s
Mcdonald’s has a few recognizable jingles but the one they did to promote the “Filet-o-Fish sandwich” wins in terms of catchiness. This nostalgic 2009 commercial jingle sings “Give me that Filet-o-fish. Give me that fish…”
This commercial bribed half of the Americans to get a taste of Frankie the singing fish mounted on an oval-shaped plaque.
5. I don’t want to grow up… – Toys “R” Us
“I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys “R” Us kid” – a memorable jingle for all 80s borns. This jingle just clung to the head of all the kids of that era. Bikes, trains, video games, the song actually has everything that kids would love.
Although the song may sound a little annoying, the rhyming is the reason why this can’t miss the list of catchy jingles. Here’s how it goes:
Jingles that People Often Find Annoying:
Yes, even if something is celebrated today, it doesn’t mean it’ll be after 50 years. The same applies to jingles. When it comes to jingles, people often get fed up with repetitive words and commercials that are just too bad. We have gathered a perfect list of annoying jingles of all times.
- Nestle – “I wonder, wonder, wonder, What’s in a Wonder Ball?
- Pepsi Cola – “Have a Pepsi day”
- Pillow Pets – “It’s a pillow, it’s a pet, it’s a Pillow Pet!”
- Meow Mix – Meow meow meow meow…
- J.G. Wentworth – Call J.G. Wentworth, 877-CASH_NOW”
- General Mill – “Reeses puff Reese’s puff eat em up”
- Nair – If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts!
- Liberty Mutual Insurance – “Liberty, Liberty, Liberty … Liberty!”
- Freecredreport.com – F-R-E-E, that spells free, credit report dot com baby
- Lume DeoDorant – “You want a way to not be fumy… Come, my friends, you need Lume!… I found Lume and I lost my stench…”
Why Jingles Today Are Non-existent?
The popular American jingle commercials are still remembered to this day. You can forget your partner’s number but would still know the digits required to call Empire Carpet. We still know the Toys R Us song word to word and Folger’s coffee is the best part about waking up. All of this proves that advertising jingles are very effective for marketing.
However, they have become a relic in the 20th century. All because of the increasing trend of pop-up songs. Look around and you’ll see a Kanye West song in the Bud Light Platinum ad, and Victoria’s Secret is using a Bob Dylan track for advertisement.
It All Comes Down to This:
Jingles may not have been in trend for the past few years, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. For advertisers, it is still one of the best options especially when others are not using it. Just remember that advertising Jingles should be creative, fun, and easy to understand.
For instance, most people still misinterpret Sara Lee’s “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee! with “Nobody does it like Sara Lee!”