I could be cynical. I usually would be cynical. You know those jingle demos that feature some jock or PD going on about how “everyone remembers our jingles and sings them on the streets”? I always thought they were a little hokey. I mean, think about it. If you encountered someone wailing “L-oooo-n-don’s H-e-aaaaart. This is H-E-AAAAART!” into a pretend microphone, you’d put in an emergency call to the men in white coats.
Here in the UK there was a famous 1970s TV commercial advertising “Shake ‘n’ Vac”. A middle-aged housewife so thoroughly elated with her fresh-smelling carpet couldn’t resist trotting back and forth with the vacuum belting out “You do the Shake ‘n’ Vaaac and put the freshness baaaack… Do the Shake ‘n’ Vac and put the freshness baaaaack!” Decades later, she’s probably still receiving treatment. So can you really believe that real-life people sing radio jingles in public? No, I didn’t believe it either.
However, ’tis the season to be jolly and jingle bells were paired with jingle yells recently on Beckenham High Street. Nice woman: a little woozy after consuming more than a few Christmas drinks, stumbled off the bus and started asking the usual stranger-to-stranger questions. “What do you do for a living?” was the inevitable opener, and when I told her I’m a producer at London’s talk station LBC 97.3, she took to the stage for her performance of a lifetime. Here I am, quarter to midnight on a freezing cold night, talking to someone who could barely stand let alone speak, but with absolutely perfect timing and pitch, she belted out…
“Nick Fer-rar-iii at Break-faaast… Ell Bee Ceeee!”
So it does happen, and jingles still work as well now as they always did, back as far as when the famous tune for Brand Christmas was first sung:
“We wiish you a Merry Ch-riiii-stmas and a Haa-peee New Yeeeear!”