Are you ready for some football?!
In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, this Sunday marks Super Bowl XLVI, with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots playing for this year’s title. We don’t know about you all, but we’re ready to sit back, eat some chicken wings, and enjoy the game (and commercials, of course).
But don’t be surprised if afterward, you have a jingle or two stuck in your head. With all of those commercial breaks, it’s bound to happen. (If you’re the type to skip out on the commercials, at least listen up for the dubstep remix of the NFL theme song this year.)
With a lot of hard work, creativity, and networking, maybe your own tune could be featured in the next Super Bowl. Here are a few great tips from the DiscMakers Blog, Echoes, to get you started writing and selling jingles:
1. Research Other Jingles
“Listen to everything,” says Richard Leiter, a California-based composer who has created jingles for Walmart, Tropicana, the American Red Cross, and Microsoft, among others. “When it comes to the quality of your work, you need to match what’s on TV.”
Lloyd Landesman, a New York-based musician and jingle writer who has worked with Budweiser, Capital One, Dr. Pepper, Ford, and many others, agrees. “Pay attention to commercials and watch channels that are more youth-oriented, like MTV and Fuse,” he says. “What kinds of music are being used in those commercials? Are they dance tracks and electronica, or more quirky, acoustic songs from artists like Ingrid Michaelson? Watching and listening to what’s out there can give you an idea of what the industry is looking for.”
2. Understand Your Role
“Jingles are custom-written works for specific companies that have both words and music,” says Leiter. “Your goal as a jingle writer is to understand what a company’s message is and to translate that into a song. In other words, it’s their message, but your illumination of it.”
Landesman echoes the point, emphasizing that aspiring jingle writers need to be open to suggestions and compromise. “You’re providing a service,” he says. “You want the client to be happy with what you’ve done, so if within the 30 seconds of music you’re writing there are 10 seconds that the client isn’t thrilled with, it’s your job to find out what’s wrong and correct it. Don’t be married to anything you’ve done and be very careful about picking your creative battles. Will changing this guitar part to make your client happy ruin your spot? Probably not — and sometimes listening to your client’s ideas can actually make your work that much better.”
3. Shamelessly Self-Promote
“One way to get into jingle writing is to start a dialog with somebody at an ad agency – a writer, creative director, or producer,” says Leiter. “If you can figure out what their specific needs are at the time, then you can offer to help. They may have focused messages that they need to convey that you’d never be able to guess otherwise.”
Getting access to such people can be tricky, Leiter says, so he advises taking every possible route. “Call them, figure out their email addresses and write to them, send them homemade chocolate chip cookies,” he says. “Tell everybody you know that you write jingles, and see who knows a creative director at an ad agency. Then go in and try to meet with them, tell them you’ll work for free for the first one. You want to open doors, so do what’s necessary to get there, even if it means putting together a free demo.”
Readers, do any of you have experience writing and selling jingles? Share your expertise with the community! Like these posts? Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe.