Sometimes it only takes a soundbite to transport you 20 years in the past.
Earlier we discussed what it means to be a sonic brand. Strong radio marketing campaigns leave impressions that can last a lifetime. While a radio jingle can get stuck in our heads, the effect of sonic branding goes much deeper. Aural queues can evoke strong emotions and memories in listeners. A voice, a phrase, or even a musical backdrop can be enough to make listeners feel secure, joyous or even hungry, in the case of clever food marketing.
What stands out about the campaigns we’ve selected is their ability to stick in the memories of their listeners. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane:
This catchy jingle has stayed in consumers’ minds decades after the commercial stopped airing. The sound of Alka-Seltzer fizzing into a glass of water is sure to evoke a strong feeling of relief in listeners for years to come.
Pillsbury Doughboy Giggle
The Pillsbury Doughboy may be the longest running case of sonic branding in this list. The giggly mascot first appeared in 1965 and has been brought back for various campaigns, as recently as 2011. It’s hard to hear or see the Pillsbury Doughboy without craving their buttery crescent rolls.
The Budweiser Frogs first appeared during the 1995 Super Bowl XXIX and were an instant classic. The commercial features 3 frogs (“Bud”,”Weis” and “Er”) as they croak their name in succession. The TV spots included the CGI-rendered frogs but the powerful audio element made the frogs an easy crossover into the world of radio.
Bud Light – Real Men of Genius
The Real Men of Genius campaign was so good that I would stop what I was doing and turn up my radio just to listen to them. The wildly funny ads had countless iterations which all consisted of a baritone voice describing a “hero” over a cliche soundtrack. Not many ad campaigns can boast over 150 different spots in less than a decade, but the Real Men of Genius did just that.
Oscar Mayer Weiner
Much like Alka-Seltzer’s Plop-Plop Fizz-Fizz, The Oscar Mayer Weiner songs prove that a simple jingle can leave impressions that last a lifetime. The ad originally aired in 1965. It wasn’t the television spot that stuck, but the unforgettable tune. Almost 50 years later, parents and kids alike can recognize the iconic jingle.
Rice Crispies Cereal
Rice Crispies Cereal is lucky enough to have its own sonic branding made apparent as soon as you fill the bowl with milk. The snap, crackle, and pop of the popular breakfast staple has been a marketing point since the 1930s, when it was used in radio ads. The sounds inspired an illustrator to create the popular elf-like characters Snap, Crackle, and Pop that still appear on boxes 80 years later. The branding is so pervasive in popular culture that physicists frequently use the terms snap, crackle, and pop to describe derivatives of movements.
The Slinky jingle, originally written in 1962, can still make you feel like a kid again. The jingle’s chorus is simple (“It’s slinky, it’s slinky, the favorite of girls and boys”) but bound to get stuck in a listener’s head. The metal spring turned cultural icon has been amusing children for almost 60 years.
The original “Like A Good Neighbor State Farm Is There” jingle was written by none other than Barry Manilow. Since then, the company has been using the jingle in a line of new ads that feature down-on-their-luck customers singing the tune to magically summon a State Farm representative. The jingle recently got a full-length cover from rock legends Weezer.
Very rarely does a jingle tap into the cultural zeitgeist like Coca Cola’s “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke” ad did. It was 1971. Richard Nixon was President and the Vietnam war was raging on. The commercial features a chorus composed of singers from around the world with a simple message of global harmony. And what draws people together better than a bottle of crisp, cold Coca Cola?
This catchy tune from the 1950s was sung by many hit artists during its day, but none drew as much attention as actess and singer Dinah Shore. The upbeat jingle evokes a sense of patriotism and paints a picture of beautiful American landscapes ready to be explored by its listeners.
It’s every advertiser’s dream to make an ad that will stick with consumers for 30, 40, or even 50 years. But that’s just what these ads have done. It’s only proof of the amazing power of sound; proof that the sound of your cereal or the tune of a jingle can transport you back in time.