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How Good Marketing Sticks

Have you ever heard a commercial with a catchy jingle that you can never seem to get out of your head? Do you ever wonder why this is? In the podcast Stuff You Should Know, the speakers break down the mystery of why these jingles stand the test of time.

A jingle, as most people know, is a melody that is sung about a product or service. Examples include slogans, phone numbers, or call letters. Industry professionals often call this audio branding.

The first recorded jingle was by the "Wheaties Quartet,” which praised Wheaties cereal. At the time, Wheaties was about to go out of business when they made an important realization. The cereal company realized that the sales of Wheaties had skyrocketed in the market locations where the “jingle” was being broadcasted. Executives decided to air the commercial nationally, and Wheaties was saved!

So what makes jingles so catchy and successful? "Earworms" are melodies that contain repetition, catchy melodies, and easy to remember “hooks”. These audio tactics can contribute monumentally to the success of a jingle.

However, because of these tactics, some commercial jingles have come to be seen as annoying or bothersome to some groups of consumers.

For Wheaties, as the jingle started to fail in 1987, marketers decided to license popular artists' songs to use instead. This successful tactic is used today by many companies all around the world.

Read more about this and the future of jingles and music marketing at

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