Since the days of Burma-Shave and the Victrola, advertisers have used jingles to worm their way into their customersâ€™ conciousness. Advertising has gotten a lot more sophisticated since then, but these insipid anthems still have the power to hijack our brains in a way few other strategies can.
As consumers, we like to think that weâ€™re not so easily manipulated, and maybe youâ€™re not. But try to read the following lines to yourself without also humming the tune:
- My bologna has a first name, its O-S-C-A-R
- What would you do for a Klondyke bar?
- Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat Bar
Launched earlier this year, â€œFive Dollar Footlongâ€ has met with largely good, if exhasperated, reviews. It also seems to have had a dramatic impact on sales of, you guessed it, $5 footlongs.
â€œSaved by Zero,â€ on the other hand, has recieved a downright chilly reception. In place of the bemused irritation of the Subway campaign, reactions to â€œZeroâ€ have been much more hostile. Why?
Itâ€™s not that â€œZeroâ€ is inherently more annoying than â€œFootlongâ€â€“at least it doesnâ€™t come with corresponding dance moves. Instead, the reason â€œZeroâ€ makes viewersâ€™ teeth itch is that we donâ€™t really know what this musical beast thatâ€™s taken residence in our heads even wants from us.
Saved? By zero? From what? What does that even mean? And what the hell does it have to do with a Toyota?
The beauty of the jingle is itâ€™s simplicity. If you get me humming â€œFive. Five dollar. Five dollar footlooooong,â€ my takeaway is that I can get a footlong for five dollars. If Iâ€™m humming it around lunch time, I just might march myself right into a Subway. Conversely, walking around humming â€œSaaaved by Zeeroooo,â€ isnâ€™t going to get me to do anything besides grind my teeth. It doesnâ€™t make me think about why I might want a Toyota, and in any case, I tend to purchase automobiles with a bit more gravity than I do my lunch.
Unfortunately, it looks like â€œZeroâ€ is going to be here for a while, so you might as well carve out a little cranial real estate, maybe next to the ever-popular â€œI got my baby back baby back baby back baby backâ€¦ Chiliiiiiiiâ€™s baby back riiibsâ€¦â€
Oops. I hope I didnâ€™t get that one stuck in your head.