Memes, jingles or songs that just won’t go away..

Well, up until the recent Campaign IPA Excellence Diploma giveaway, and Richard’s comments about them, I had no idea what a Meme was. Well, upon posting about Christmas ads, I came round to thinking about them (and yes, I know a Meme isn’t just a jingle or a song, but for the purposes of this post, it will be).
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The Coke holidays ad was clearly successful because of the tune, and indeed, it’s not the only ad in recent memory to use music as its selling point; look here at an example of the Halifax ‘Howard’ campaign from DLKW.
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But DLKW’s efforts aside, very few agencies seem to want to devise songs for their ads any more – it’s all low-tempo folkie stuff, obscure beats (in the case of O2) or no music at all.
I think agencies are missing a trick here; some of the most memorable ads have great tunes:
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And yes, I really did enjoy the Um-Bongo advert; it was a damn shame I couldn’t find the full length version.
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More importantly though, that those songs truly stick in the head. I don’t think the new Coke Christmas execution is better or worse than the Lorries one, but as it doesn’t have that memorable jingle, people are less willing to readily associate it with Christmas.
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After all, all any brand wants is to be talked about, even if it is subtle and in the form of a song. As for DLKW currently doing a lot of jingle themed ads – they do tend to be parodies of existing tunes, rather than their originals. Look at how successful Sheila’s Wheels have been.
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I suppose there is a massive risk element in writing songs in today’s environment; there’s always a concern that the brand will get a lot of negative publicity if a song is needlessly irritating. Sod it. Ads should at least be memorable, if nothing else, and songs are a valuable form of cultural capital.
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And no, not every brand or ad should do it – could you imagine a COI song on various health matters?
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Anyway, this is away from the most important point about this post. Repeat after me: Um bongo Um bongo they drink it in the Congo..
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