BBR puts a little jingle in your pocket.

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As BBR’s newest employee (and rookie blogger), I’m a little intimidated by this assignment, so I turn to my folks for advice.

“Write what you know,” advises Mom, always practical.

“What’s a ballog?” asks Dad, “Is that a Louisiana thing, like that boudin we ate?”

(He’s still reeling from the virtual delicatessen of assorted meats I bring home to my native Tennessee every few months.) No, Dad. This blog is not a meat product, but thanks anyway.

So, in the interest of practicality, I’m going with Mom’s advice and writing my inaugural blog (now that has an awfully nice ring to it…) about something I know: jingles.

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johannaspic

“A blonde, brunette and redhead are wearin’ the pants now…”

Buckle your seatbelts and click here to listen to the BBR-Locomotion jingle.

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Now, I’m not talking about the Christmas-bell kind of jingles, but the I-wish-I-was-an-Oscar-Meyer-wiener kind, the silly little tunes that you can’t seem to get out of your head while you’re trying to take a math test, or fall sleep, or make a Sunday morning omelet.

Hokey as it may seem, I am an inveterate jingle-holic, a lover of all things mystifyingly catchy yet simply crafted – the little ditty that effortlessly crosses socio-political, geographic, and language barriers in a single musical bound, like some mysterious marketing superhero. Yes, that kind of jingle – part song, part commercial, and part creepy brainwashing-water-torture tactic with the uncanny ability to get into our heads and not go away.

According to Tim Faulker’s article “How Commercial Jingles Work,” the jingle wormed its way into the American psyche in the mid-1920s, with the Wheaties Quartet crooning “Try Wheaties.”

General Mills execs had all but decided to can their two-year-old cereal brand when they noticed a rise in sales in regions where the radio jingle aired. They went national, and, well, Bruce Jenner, Michael Phelps and Chris McCormack, here we come.

So, it seems, Faulker is right on target: “A jingle can do wonders for business – it can save a dying brand, introduce a new item to a broader audience and rejuvenate a lackluster product.”

The jingle business boomed well into the 1970s, thanks to radio and later TV, with prominent songwriters putting elbow grease into jingles for the likes of Ajax, Chevrolet, Oscar-Meyer, Band-Aid, Wrigley’s and (personal favorite) Mounds/Almond Joy, making a good living and creating some truly memorable ads.

In the 80s and 90s, as branding focused less on the product and more on the consumer, original jingles were largely usurped by commercially successful songs that elicited a strong emotional response and, subsequently, a new kind of connection to the product. Think Nike’s “Revolution” ad and the “Pepsi Generation” series with intergalactic überstar Michael Jackson.

NOTE: For a 21st Century installment of the pop-music-as-ad-fodder craze, you may want to squander a few precious moments watching Stephen Colbert’s recent segment with “Alternative” Grammy-nominees Vampire Weekend and The Black Keys competing in a “Sell Out Off” to see who got their songs in more 2010 commercials.

Popular song ”classics” are still the name of the game for big brands like Nike, Honda, Sony, and Mac. But as these songs come with costly music licensing fees, the simple, unassuming original jingle is making a comeback in smaller markets.

Enter BBR. You may not know it, but BBR has now added jingle writing to its list of specialties, and I’m the de-facto jingle expert over here on Rue Beauregard. So if you’d like a little more jingle in your pocket, give us a call!