Stings, Jingles and Music for Advertisements

*Music in Ads

A number of months back we did a blog post that detailed what it means to choose the right soundtrack for your piece of visual media. That particular blog was aimed at longer-form pieces like film or TV series, which require a lot of post-production where sound is concerned because they run for such an extended period of time. Today, however, we will be looking at sound in advertisements.

Ads are extremely important as they form the backbone of what creates a massive amount of income for the film industry each year, and because we have people paying so much to put them out there, they have to look really good in order to be memorable. What’s more important though, is the soundtrack. And here’s why:
If you’ve ever sat down for some mindless fun on YouTube and had a look at Superbowl ads, or perhaps you’ve been watching the Rugby World cup or Wimbledon, you’ll notice something interesting – the most memorable ads are those that have a jingle that is so good, you can’t forget it. Think of the “Avocados from Mexico” jingle, it’s short, sweet, and sticks in your head for days. Even more iconic is the massive franchise McDonald’s, the moment you see the “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan, there’s a tune you either hum to yourself or think of.

This is the power of truly great music in advertising because it drives home a message by creating an attachment to a product that’s more than just a visual representation.

Jingles and Stings – what’s the difference?

1.The sting

Stings have been around for some time. Another name for a sting is a musical sounder – the reason for this is the music is used to create a particular sound that amplifies the intensity of emotion in a particular shot. A great example of a sting that has been used for years if the screeching violins in early horror films – synonymous with the moment just before something awful is about to happen. Another great sting is the theme from Jaws – which almost everyone knows even if they’ve never seen the film.

Ads can use these very effectively as they can be used to keep an audience in the front of their seats, whether at home or in a cinema.


Jingles are a bit more complex and nuanced.
Where a string is there to give you a specific emotion, a jingle’s entire purpose is to be catchy and memorable. Think of them as branding with sound.

This requires some effort on the part of the composer to really nail down an idea that works. Jingles are typically quite short (though they sometimes can be an entire song, depending on the brief), and usually comprise of a catchphrase which more often than not, is either a fact about the advertiser or something they believe in, like their company ethos.

Jingles have been used for everything from old spice to coca-cola, and some of the most highly paid musical composers have made their fortunes with writing jingles.

Long-form music

Longer form tracks also have their place in ads too, sometimes there are companies who really want to make longer-form film style ads that both look great and have a particular feel. Many ads which use long-form music use it to create deep emotional attachment. More often than not they are also set stories that portray a particular group of people to which the audience is going to become attached.

This is one of the important things about longer-form music or ads. Short or sharp emotional triggers can be created by stings, but lasting impressions are created with longer tracks.

How to choose what’s best for you

Everything you do in an advertisement will be created around the purpose of the ad itself. An emotional PSA will require longer form music, a short comedic piece (such as the UK Whiskas “Curious Cats” series of ads) require no more than a short 30-second jingle.

Assigning the kind of music you need is all about finding what you want your ad to portray.

If you’re looking for music and jingles for an Ad, show or film, feel free to contact us.

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