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In my Music Branding class at Woodbury University, we discuss the very interesting or horribly predictable ways in which brands use music.  One thing that is clear from my students, as well as my peers in the Music Branding world, is the need for authenticity and the willingness to take risks.  But how can you maintain “risk” and “authenticity” when discussing that old Ad Music relic “The Jingle.”

Sure, we can point to at least one recent (and unforgettable, for better or for worse) jingle that follows all the usual rules (mention the product, don’t do anything too edgy) with the song for Lapband, a weightloss device.  Come on, you know the song:

“Let Your New Life Begin Call 1-800 Get Slim (or Trim)”

Not too mention “Beep Beep.com” and the “Freecreditreport.com” band.  But these are rarities today.  More often when brands and agencies want an original piece, they want it to feel less like a “jingle” and more like a song.  This includes everything from Karen O’s Adidas song to Chris Brown’s Doublemint commercial which was suspended when the singer got in some PR trouble.  During last week’s class, my friend Geoff Sherr, from Squeek E. Clean (one of the hottest original music houses for advertising), walked us through the process.  We were all struck by the quality, risk-taking and sheer authenticity evidenced in some of their groundbreaking work like their “Accidental Duet” track for Match.com which won them a host of awards at Cannes Lion.  This isn’t “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” and, in fact, the song is so authentic that YouTubers are covering it.

“I Like Old Movies Like Godfather 3”

In the recent “Conversation About Music, Marketing and JetBlue,”during Ad Week’s recent conference, this desire for authenticity and risk-taking was echoed.  When explaining JetBlue’s “Live From Terminal 5” program featuring artists playing for between-flight customers, Fiona Morrison, Director of Brand & Advertising, said “You have to be willing to take risks.”

Companies like Squeek E Clean (and their brethren Mophonics) understand that and, as a result, they will continue making interesting work while jingles continue their slide into irrelevancy.  And, in a bizarre bit of jingle appreciation, I leave you with Cotton Candy, a band whose repertoire consists entirely of old product jingles.  Listen here.

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