Where have the Jingles Gone?

Sat, Feb 6, 2010

Biz Arena

Where have the Jingles Gone?

A few days back while surfing the Internet I came across an old advertisement for Bajaj – the “Hamara Bajaj” commercial, and as soon as I saw the ad I started to sing along with it. It was an old advertisement, but strangely I realized that I was able to recollect all the lyrics of the song in the commercial as soon as it started playing. The ad brought back some very old memories and most importantly it brought a smile to my face. I searched on the internet for few more such old ads like the Bajaj one and came across a few others like Amul Butter, Limca, Pepsi, Nirma etc. What makes us still remember these ads? Why is it that as soon as we listen to them we start singing along? One of the most important reasons for the immortality of such ads is the creative jingle associated with them. These jingles were simple, catchy and easy to remember and hence have stuck with us long after the ads have gone off air.

There was a time in the Indian Advertisement Industry when every ad had a small, catchy jingle associated with it and more often than not, these jingles where able to grab the consumer’s attention. Who can forget the “Do Minute Ruk Sakte Hain……” ad for Maggi Noodles or the “Kuch Khass hai Zindagi mein…….” for Cadbury’s or the “Yeh dil maange more” commercial for Pepsi. These jingles and many others like them had become a part of our daily lingo and still come up once in a while during conversations and that indicates the power they have. They had their impact across regional, linguistic barriers. While creating a jingle, a brand chooses an emotional association that it would like to present to the consumer and together with a punch line a song is created in such a way that it is easily identified by the consumer. A jingle when played repeatedly helps increase the brand recall for a particular brand resulting in higher sales and revenues for a product. Nowadays we notice that the use of jingles in the ads has considerable declined, though there are have been a few good ones of late like the Airtel A.R Rahman Song or the Hutch/Vodafone “You and I” commercial, but the number of such ads with jingles is very few and even the ones around are not that catchy as the old ones used to be. What is the reason for this trend? Why is it that ad-makers have moved away from such a fruitful advertising tool?

One of the reasons given for the lack of jingles is that the use of better technology, better picture quality, and more celebrities has taken its toll on the creative aspect of the ads especially in the case of jingles. The ad-makers of today are more focused on getting the most popular celebrities and models for their ads than on developing a great idea and working on it. Although such a strategy might appear to be reaping rich dividends at present, in the long run such ads do not have the kind of recollect like the old ones. People watch these ads one moment and forget it the next. The actual challenge for both the ad-maker and the brand is to ensure that their ad has the same impact even when it is played years after it was aired for the first time. A typical example here are the ads which the Nirma Group came up with, a decade or two ago. These ads did not feature a famous celebrity, but even now we remember them as well as the exact words in their jingle. We still start humming “doodh si safedi Nirma se aaye, rangeen kapda bhi khil khil jayein….” every time these ads are aired on television or radio. These ads helped Nirma carve an image for itself in the minds of its customers. Nirma went on to become one of the biggest players in the detergent and soap industry in India, and this simple advertisement and the catchy jingle were largely credited with its. There is also the argument that in this modern era, jingles do not have their relevance anymore. Ads are a reflection of the society we live in and like our modern, fast and materialistic lifestyles the ads also have moved away from the emotional aspects. There is no emotional attachment that we used to have with a particular brand anymore. With so many options available to the consumer nowadays, he is concerned foremost with the value for money that he gains from a product, than for brand loyalty. However, if this is the case, then how can the immense popularity of the Airtel and Vodafone ads be explained? Why is it that every time we listen to the Airtel song or the Vodafone song we feel emotional attached to the ad? Airtel ads have the trademark A.R. Rahman background score playing whereas the Vodafone/ Hutch ads have the sweet You and I song capturing the audience’s attention, and both these ads have been huge successes with the masses irrespective of age, gender, region, religion etc. The jingles have added an additional flavor to these ads, people easily recollect the brand as soon as they listen to their jingles and more importantly the jingles have been able to connect to the audience at an emotional level. So popular are these jingles that people still use them as their mobile ringtones, a good 3-4 years after they were initially aired.

A jingle is like the voice of an advertisement. A good jingle touches the soul of its audience. It provides an opportunity for an advertiser to make his/her product gain a permanent place in the audience’s memory. The advent of mediums like cell phone, internet along with the traditional mediums like television and radio provide ample opportunities for the consumer to hear an ad jingle and hence such a strong marketing tool is even more relevant in the current scenario. The modern ad-maker should realize the potential of jingles in ads and try to bring back the golden era of Indian advertisement once again. It is these beautiful jingles which over the years will turn into even more beautiful memories and bring smiles on the faces of those who listen to them.

K V Gopa Kumar

MBA Batch of 2011,

IIT Kanpur

4 Responses to “Where have the Jingles Gone?”

  1. Mayank Gandotra Says:

    Nice article. Yeah really felt nostalgic after reading the article. And remembered those days when we used to see ads like ‘ I am a complan Boy’, ‘Vicco Turmeric Cream’ , ‘Vicks ki goli lo – khich khich door karo’. Really ad-world should look back into it, and instead of keeping big celebrities, they should have an emotional connect with the masses.

  2. Rca Ieftin Says:

    Hello Mr. Gopa Kumar,

    I think the commercial messages are destroying the traditions of almost all countries. Seems to be an unpleasant effect of the using the ideas of traditions in the world of Internet and spatial technologies. I just hope the traditions will survive somehow…

    Have a nice day !

  3. Mickey Says:

    Cool! That’s a clever way of looking at it!

  4. sarita Says:

    very informative article…really appreciate this..


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