What if you could take a creative process that usually involves a minimum of two or three months of back and forth between client and agency and reduce it to an hour? And what if that process resulted in creative that was ready to use the next week?
Gayle Troberman, exec VP-chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia, wanted to see if it could be done.
"How do we get more brands to understand the power of a jingle?" Ms. Troberman asked. "What if we brought in great musicians and what if we expose that to clients? What if we, all in one day, just showed at scale how many jingles could be created?"
iHeartRadio joined with Jingle Punks to do just that for 13 marketers, pulling off a one-day hackathon for jingles that ended with each brand walking away with a musical signature that then debuted on iHeartRadio properties nationwide a week later on Dec. 26, National Jingle Day.
The brands were a diverse bunch, ranging from consumer package goods to financial services to restaurants, and even included legal advocacy group American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Each was asked to provide a creative brief, and the marketing teams for each brand were given an hour to work with Jingle Punks to produce a song. Participating companies included Aloe Gloe, Axe Hair, Band-Aid® Brand Adhesive Bandages, Burger King, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Glade, Logitech, musical.ly, Outback Steakhouse, Suave, Ziploc and more. (Hear all the jingles created in just 13 hours here.)
"Creating and celebrating the first ever National Jingle Day was a great way to announce our partnership with iHeartMedia," said Jingle Punks President & CCO Jared Gutstadt. "These were real people, real brands and real collaborations. Announcing it any other way such as a stunt would have been a disservice."
Some of these brands had never used a jingle, and others, like Band Aid Brand, have a long history of successful jingles. Who doesn't know how to sing "I am stuck on Band Aid Brand cause Band Aid's stuck on me!" But when the opportunity arose to take a fresh approach to the 41-year-old song, the marketing team grabbed it.
Outback Steakhouse went beyond the iHeartRadio debut and put the finished jingle up on the jumbotron at the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, New Year's Day, inviting the stadium to sing along. It also posted it to its Facebook page.
"The fact that the idea left the room, was on the radio and even used beyond was pretty impactful," said Mr. Gutstadt, noting that at the Outback Bowl, the audience was "experiencing the jingle the same way they do a song on the Jumbotron."
For ACLU, the opportunity to create a musical signature came at an interesting time for the organization, as it has been vocal about some of President Donald Trump's ideas. The ACLU placed a full page ad in the New York Times on Nov. 11 that was written as a letter from Executive Director Anthony D. Romero noting Trump campaign promises that, if enacted, would violate the U.S. Constitution. The Pub, the content strategy and brand publishing practice at Co:collective has developed a campaign, dubbed "We the People," to highlight the work that the ACLU plans on doing post-election, and wanted to launch it the week prior to the Inauguration.
Co:Collective Partner and Chief Content Officer Tiffany Rolfe said the idea of a jingle at first felt a little light for the message they were trying to convey, but then the team considered the success Broadway's "Hamilton" has had using music to explore difficult political issues and was convinced that music could help "unify and unite people," she said, adding, "There was an opportunity to be celebratory around constitutional rights, so why not take what a jingle is, a way of getting a message out with music, and do it?"
Just as President Trump took the oath of office, in which he swore to protect the U.S. Constitution, the ACLU campaign asks citizens to take their own oath, The People's Oath, as a way to cement the idea that the ACLU is not just a team of lawyers protecting liberties, but a way for everyone to protect constitutional rights. The song that was created by Jingle Punks is being used as a way to get people to know about The People's Oath, and drive participation. The campaign encourages people to record themselves taking the oath, and personalizing it by identifying which right they will be working to protect.
The Jingle Punks team was more than happy to help. "The ACLU song, that was a really special one," Mr. Gutstadt said, noting that many of the members of his team feel very strongly about the election and what sorts of policies might be enacted. "People were really emotional, it was a true come together moment."
The final song, which channels the musical styles of Chance the Rapper and Lauren Hill, turned out to be more than a quick jingle; the complete song is three verses and a chorus. "It's something we would release as a single," Mr. Gutstadt said, likening it to a "We are the World" type of song. The campaign will use a 30-second version that focuses on the chorus, "We the People, All Created Equal," to introduce The People's Oath.
The big question going into the day, Ms. Troberman said, was whether in an hour the team could create something or just the beginning of something, and it turned out that each brand walked out with a fully baked jingle. "My big takeaway was maybe this marketing thing isn't as hard as we thought. Maybe sometimes taking a leap of faith and not agonizing over each aspect so much and just letting the creative flow is the way to go," she said.
"We essentially squeezed in what can sometimes be up to a year's worth of work into a day, with one round of tweaks allowed" Mr. Gutstadt said. "The process allowed us to flex all of our creative muscles without time to second guess decisions. Sometimes the best way to create is by turning off the part of the brain that can make you overthink each step."
"This was a terrific way to efficiently and effectively get great audio marketing creative," Ms. Troberman said, noting that creative departments have not embraced audio and radio. "In one day, we could jumpstart a process and show what's possible."
Mr. Gutstadt and his team were so inspired by the experience that they are now talking about ways to take it on the road, possibly having a jingle activation at key tent pole events throughout the year. "iHeartMedia has forced us to rethink how immediate this content should be. DJs are introducing new music every day. Brands should be thinking about how to leverage the power of the jingle and audio creative."
About the Sponsor
With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 85 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 markets through 858 owned radio stations, which can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company's radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets and smartphones, and on gaming consoles. The company's operations include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, live concerts and events, and more.