Jingle Bengal

29 May 2015

Get This In Your Head — Confessions Of An Aspiring Jingle Writer

by Kim Tronic, Resident Cocktail Expert + Jingle Writer…

It’s happened to all of us.

You’re in the shower lathering up or driving to work and you start humming a tune. Then you hum louder and bob your head. Before you know it, you’re screaming “Fresh goes better with Mentos, fresh and full of LIIIIIIFE!” even though you despise the small, sugary, tooth-decaying mints.

Know what that’s called? Effective advertising. At least in terms of getting in your head.

Despite the success of certain jingles (“my bologna has a first name,” anyone?), there will always be critics ready to condemn the infectious tunes. But you can’t deny that those catchy little suckers have an impact, even if they’re annoying like your little sister. These “ad ninjas” will infiltrate your brainwaves then settle in and pester you when you least expect it.

Listen up!

Music makes an ad enjoyable and memorable. (Sorry, but Juicy Fruit’s “The Taste is Gonna Move You” will always be one of my favorites.) And if your assignment is a seemingly dry topic like train safety, no worries — just incorporate amusing lyrics and a great melody:

McCann Melbourne hit a home run with their “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign and saw impressive numbers of YouTube views, social shares, and music sales. Would the campaign have succeeded if it featured a talking suit droning on about metro safety? Obviously not. No one wants to share a monotone executive. The McCann creative director noted that they wanted the song to have global appeal. And it certainly did, thanks to some talented writers and musicians.

Time to make some music…

Until last year, I subscribed to the Jingles are Annoying Newsletter. Then it hit me like a whimsical ballad straight to the face: why haven’t I jumped on this train?

I’ve been writing poems for as long as I can remember. Instead of buying birthday or Christmas cards, I’d write a “Merry Xmas To Mom Rap” or an “Ode to Chris on Her Day of Birth.” But it never occurred to me that my poems could be paired with peppy music to make a little marketing ditty. Could there be an opportunity to turn these poems into a career? (And not like in the Emily Dickinson kind of way. She’s way too emotional about love and death. Someone please give her a copy of In Touch Weekly.)

In 2012 I entered a contest for original jingles about Taco Bell’s legendary Doritos Locos Tacos. I threw together some lyrics and made a grainy black-and-white video:

Somehow it slid into the top 10 submissions. Naturally I pleaded with family, friends, coworkers, teachers at UCLA, enemies, and the baristas at Coffee Bean to vote for my video. For a day or two my video was in the lead but it eventually lost. I like to think the contest was rigged.

Later, one of my teachers asked if any students would do a video testimonial about the class. Why not make it fun? Cue another grainy black-and-white video (this one directly from my Mac) and, voila, 30 seconds of bouncy jingly bliss. (At least in my humble opinion.)

I then wrote a song for another class whose code was UCLAx425, so I urged students to “Get jive with 425!” I needed some street cred because of the word “jive” so I filmed by a graffiti wall:

The teacher for this class now Tweets his new students each quarter telling them to check out the video. #missionaccomplished

Stuck in your head yet?

Since I’m hunting for writing jobs, I want to stand out creatively, so I wrote this ditty about why prospective employers should hire me (because paper resumes are sooo 2004):

The goal is to get my voice stuck in their heads until they go crazy and decide to call me. I think my plan to subtly torment them through my “ad ninja” is a smart stealth decision.

Finally, here’s my favorite — one I recently wrote about my cat, the Bengal Jingle:

And that’s something worth singing about.

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The author of Dear Diary: Does This Cancer Make My Ass Look Fat?, Kim Tronic has worked in marketing and media for over a decade as a copywriter, content manager, and podcast producer. The Emerson College alum loves comedy, cats, and cocktails, not necessarily in that order.

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