Tuesday 25 June 2013

Dumb ways to die, good ways to jingle

Jesse and Joey from Full House are back in business! 

Dumb Ways to Die just cleaned up at Cannes. And that means Jingles are back!

But wait, didn't we relegate jingles to Carpet King ads on community TV for a reason?

Of course we did.

Jingles are the sum of everything that is contemptible about advertising. They are a product of primitive psychology. The same psychology that therapeutically electrocuted people, and believed homosexuality was an illness. 

Jingles were designed for one thing: To achieve memorability by getting jammed in people's heads - likeabilty be damned! (Coles down down ads anyone?)

So, everyone (Sans Ted Horton) banished the jingle from their ideas toolbox, because, like a suit secretly changing your copy, they were more than just slightly annoying. 

We even banned the mere mention of the word 'jingle' from echoing in our foosball laden agencies in fear our CDs thought we'd gone mad.

Then Dumb Ways to Die Happened. 

It has enjoyed unequalled success at Cannes (Five Grand Prix, 18 Gold Lions, three Silver Lions and two Bronze.)

And this success should be a welcome reminder that in advertising, as other art forms:

Let form follow function.

Jingles aren't inherently bad, it's what has been done with them in the past that has earned them their bad reputation. McCann knew the rules and very intentionally broke them, and to great effect. 

They knew the function of the advertising had to change behaviour and the importance of it being remembered wasn't merely to sell more stuff, but to save lives. So they created an ad in the form of a jingle. Not an irritating one (Like Coles), but an incredibly likeable one. Smashing together the benefits of old school jingles and new era story telling. Bam!

So, what do you take away from this?

Let form follow function. If an execution hasn't worked in the past it doesn't mean it won't work for you and your new brief. Don't discount a technique as bad just because it has previously been executed poorly.

(I know some people call it a song, even the creator John Mescall calls it a song, but it's a song for advertising! So, a jingle by any other name is still a jingle.) 

Bad jingle vs. good jingle:

By Christopher Ott

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