The power of jingles to jog the memory

Jingles have fallen out of favour in many marketing circles, according to brandgym partner agency Distinctive BAT. In his fascinating article on the topic (1), Cathal Gillen suggests the decline in jingle usage reflects shifts in media buying (towards paid search and digital display for example) but also a loss of appeal in creative agency circles. And yet jingles consistently score highly in distinctive brand asset studies conducted Distinctive BAT (see below). And as Cathal explains, new media channels such as Tik Tok present opportunities for jingles to make a comeback.

So, if you are interested in the potential of jingles for your brand, in this post we explore some of Cathal’s top tips to drive distinctiveness (1).

1) Give the jingle a starring role

The first suggestion is to ensure your jingle plays a starring role in your marketing. “If it’s only used to sign-off at the end of creative, it will likely struggle to be remembered,” warns Cathal. “Like any priority or lead DBA, it requires a commitment to the cause”. A good example of brand making a jingle central to its creative efforts is Just Eat, that we posted on here. The brand has used famous celebrities including Katy Perry and Snoop Dog to refresh and add relevance to its jingle, driving awareness and online buzz.

2) Invest in talent

“Don’t take a shortcut on production or budget,” recommends Cathal. “Do your research on the musician or talent who could propel your brand forward. Scope out the hot musicians and investigate if any pop writers would be interested in working with you.” A good example of doing just this is the Gillette brand that we posted on here. To update the theme tune, Gillette tapped into the vibrant energy of up-and-coming British singer Tom Grennan. His involvement brings a fresh and modern twist to the classic song. Grennan’s rendition of the iconic tune was not only released across traditional media platforms. It also took on a digital life of its own with a TikTok sing-along.

3) Transform your tagline

Most taglines underperform on distinctiveness metrics, as shown in the research mentioned earlier. Sonic branding can help supercharge a tagline by transforming it into a jingle. Gillette’s The Best a Man Can Get and Just Eat’s Did Anyone Say Just Eat are good examples of doing just this.

4) Tap into nostalgia

“If your brand is lucky enough, it may have used a jingle previously that could be refreshed and resurrected,” Cathal explains in his article. This point is illustrated by distinctive asset testing on specific jingles by Distinctive BAT (below). As you can see, almost all the jingles tested are in the top-right corner of the distinctive asset grid. This means they deliver the double whammy of distinctiveness: high recognition AND high attribution, meaning people correctly link the asset to the brand. Several of these jingles date from decades ago. And some of these are still recognised despite limited marketing investment in recent years. Club, for example, invested in the 1970s to 1990s but had limited marketing support in recent years. The Glade Shake ‘n Vac jingle is similar, being 44 years old! And I posted here on how Cornetto refreshed its famous Just One Cornetto jingle, another 40 year old brand asset.

5) Drive brand name fame

It might seem obvious, but Cathal is right to remind us to try and use the brand name in as part of the key line. “Yes, this is the equivalent of ‘make my logo bigger‘,” he says. “But if your jingle does reach the cultural zeitgeist, you are potentially seeing millions of free impressions”.

In conclusion, jingles are a powerful way to drive distinctiveness, with the potential to be a brand asset that lasts for years or even decades.


1. Distinctive BAT article

2. Just Eat