Perspective | TV jingles replaced by movie songs...Why?

Jingles have always been a part and parcel of Indian advertising.  Indians have always loved and appreciated the art of creating good ‘Jingles’. It’s quite fair to say that a musical ad jingle is remembered over the years and becomes an identity for a product even 5 or 10 years down the line. Going down memory lane we can recollect jingles of the 80’s which have been imprinted in our psyche. Be it Amul’s 'Maaro Gaam Kathaiwad' song or detergent giant washing powder Nirma's famous jingle, Vicco Turmeric or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk ad commercial jingle which said 'Kuchh khas hai hum sabhi mein, Kuchh baat hai zindagi mein' or the cute 'googly woogly wuksh' by Pond's, there was an air of originality attached to them.

Yesteryear’s jingles like Bajaj Bulb ad 'jab mein chotta bacha tha’, and the current ones including Hero Motocorp's and Airtels’s 'Hum hai hero song', 'Har ek friend jaroori hota hai' and Nirma Sandal ad jingle, with their music and catchy lyrics are just a few handful that can be named which have grabbed the attention of the Indian audience. But with the passage of time, one observes that good jingles are almost non existent. Now in the post 80’s era it is common to see agencies and brands incorporating old and latest hindi film songs as their ad jingles which is a far cry from their earlier counterpart. As a result it is seen that there is a dearth of original jingles and the concept is gradually dying out.

In the book, Adkatha, Alyque Padamsee (in the chapter Brand Padamsee on Indian Advertising) says, “Most of the advertising today is a waste of client’s money. Most commercials, like the products they advertise, are initiatives of each other. The ad sells the ad, not the brand. There is no brand build-up at all. 90% of advertising that I see is a waste of money. When I ask someone who has just seen the ad, what the brand was, what it stands for , I get to see a blank stare.” 

We at Adgully took an industry opinion from experts like: Manoj Motiani, Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Thought Bubbles, Shormistha Mukherjee, Creative Partner, Rickshaw Design & Communication, Manish Bhatt, Founder Director, Scarecrow Communications and Vikram Sabharwal , Vice-President (Marketing) MTR Foods Pvt Ltd

When asked, 'Does the advertising fraternity lack originality in music (jingle) that were very prominent in the 80's and 90's', this is what the agency expert’s had to say:

Shormistha Mukerjee said, “I don't think there's a dearth of original jingles. I just think our ads are getting shorter in terms of duration.  Usually an ad with a jingle needs time, for the words to register, the music to stick, the tune to catch on. Unfortunately, over the last year, we've seen a whole lot of 20 seconders  or maximum 30 seconders. So I think when you have very few seconds, you try and make them count by doing something short and sweet to make it memorable, which is why humour works so well.”

Adding further she said, “However, look at brands that have used longer formats and also digital, like for example Cinthol. They've used the jingle to create effect. I know a lot of people who like it. Some great jingles, even signature tunes become the brand identity for years while there's no denial that 80’s and 90’s gave us fantastic jingles.”

Manoj Motiani, said, “I don’t think we lack originality today. Some things just evolve. The music and mood of a film now shares equal importance with the lyrics. Composers and creatives are experimenting and creating some great stuff especially when it comes to celebrating the music in our jingles today, we have reason to be proud of them . Jingles have an intrinsic recall, good or bad you tend to remember them. But the best ones are those that are soulful and try to root themselves in some truth."

Manish Bhatt opined that an audio mnemonic helps in making the communication sticky. That was an era and there was not much television craze and the ‘Jingles’ during those days were used as short cuts. Brand building does not only depend upon good jingles or musicals, it depends upon how one uses it. Good Jingles can happen today as well . It’s just the scarcity of time and not creatives.”

When asked, 'Does the popularity and reach of film songs become the driving reason for their inclusion in ad films', we received the following responses.

Shormistha Mukerjee says, “Yes, it is easy to use a film song because it's something consumers are familiar with.  You can remix it, change the tune and also change the context and inspite of it make it work pretty well. I don't think it’s a lazy option. I think its audio shorthand. You use something familiar, but give it a whole new spin. And as long it's funny, memorable, apt, or emotional...as long as it hits the spot...why not?”

Manoj Motiani here said, “Film songs are everywhere. All this rhyme and recall makes it a smart thing to do sometimes. Some jingles are remixed and represented so well, they can set the mood of the message just right. The Bombay Times Born Glamorous film does just that for me. Planted, and yet so colloquial and fresh.”

“But the natural expression for any artist is to say new things, and in a new way. Many great jingles have been done without film songs. So we don’t have to run to Bollywood at the drop of a hat,” Motiani added.

Motiani was also of the opinion that there is always a lot of originality and opportunities around. All that is needed are brave creatives and ready clients. Then we would be justified in using  Bollywood in the  advertising jingles.

Manish Bhatt believes that, "Yes the songs have a good reach already and it saves time as well. It’s all about using the song in the best way that helps the brand reach where it should be".

On asking, what is that one factor that convinces them to pin down a yesteryear film song as a communiqué for their product or service, as a marketer, Vikram Sabharwal said, “It’s not about good or bad ‘Jingles’, advertising is all about spreading the message and creatively using the medium. The song should go with the content that is to be portrayed. It’s all about fitting the right musical.”

All in all, we can conclude to say that 'Jingles' have always been and will continue to be the heart and soul of any Indian TV commercial.

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