This question is still heard in interviews, conversations, and schools, so I decided to dive deeper into this subject and provide some historical context to help us understand the differences and why one does not prevent the other. However, Sound Branding does incorporate the jingle as it constitutes a much broader tool that emerged in response to technological advancements and the increased scope of brand communication. But let’s start from the beginning.

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The jingle emerged 100 years ago in the 1920s, at a time when communication was centralized in newspapers and radio. It was very effective in creating emotional connections between people and products, playing a fundamental role in making major campaigns unforgettable. Many of these short songs resonated with audiences, making them dream and feel different emotions. During that period, musical production included jazz, samba, blues, and classical music. This means that the harmonies, instrumentation, and textures were more sophisticated, and the jingles followed this aesthetic, providing richer experiences.

With the advent of television and rock music, compositions became simpler, and jingles became increasingly basic. Campaigns started to rely on massive exposure through various media channels, believing that this would make people memorize the message more quickly. The excessive repetition of melodic phrases and parts of the lyrics made us learn the melodies faster, even if we didn’t want to. As a result, what was once charming and playful sometimes became annoying. In no time, an entire country was singing an “advertising” chorus about the sale of soap.

Over the decades, we realized that it was also an inappropriate appropriation of our unconscious mind and auditory space, overwhelming our senses and testing our patience, underestimating our intelligence and sensitivity. Rise and fall, following the laws of the universe that show everything is cyclical—birth, growth, and death. The same will eventually happen with Sound Branding.

Another point is that once the campaign ended, the jingle became obsolete along with it. In most cases, the brand did not inherit anything from that effort and recognition achieved. Everything vanished, and the company had to start from scratch with a new idea, a new slogan, a new campaign to sell more.

With the emergence of the internet and the fragmentation of communication across old and new media, companies felt the need to have a sonic identifier to be recognized beyond visual logos. It was during this time that I and other sound and marketing professionals simultaneously conceived Sound Branding—a platform for sonic communication that goes far beyond a mere sonic signature.

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In my first book, Sound Branding, a Vida Sonora das Marcas (Sound Branding: The Life Track of Brands), I explore the principles and applications of Sound Branding and dedicate a chapter to jingles. But I’ll give you a spoiler, just to clarify the difference between a jingle and Sound Branding:

Sound Branding – It exists to ensure that the brand is recognized through its sound in all its spaces. It is long-lasting, enduring as long as the brand itself. It allows brands to be recognized and creates unforgettable experiences in all media and public spaces such as metros, airports, trains, and stores. It fosters a warm relationship between the brand and people, who start to enjoy its music. It is incredibly comprehensive, fitting into all brand spaces, not just films and campaign videos. Its applications are endless, ranging from TV commercials to hold music, internet videos to stores, self-service machines to cellphone ringtones. Most importantly, it raises people’s vibration. This is a new aspect of this format: Sound Branding does not abuse the ears of others, it does not harass them. It does not underestimate the perceptual capacity of the audience. Instead, it seeks to soothe the senses, paying attention to the sensory impacts on others, and, more importantly, it elevates the state from point A, which may be apathy or a mechanical operating state, to point B. A sensitive, vibrant, joyful state, creating positive and transformative experiences, just as music does.

Jingle – It existed and still exists with the goal of selling a product or service through an advertising campaign. It exists for the duration of the campaign and its application is limited to the specific product, not the brand as a whole. It usually disappears when the campaign ends. It primarily sounds in traditional media and now, at most, in social media videos. Many jingles have touched people’s hearts, but most of them adhered to the famous catchy formula that aims to stick in consumers’ minds. In this older approach, what I now refer to as Sound Harassment, the other person is not considered, and a one-sided usage relationship is imposed that only benefits the advertiser, inadvertently repelling the audience.

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It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s called a jingle or Sound Branding, whether it takes the form of advertising, albums, or live shows, whether it is used in TV, radio, stadiums, bars, or stores. It doesn’t matter who it’s for—whether it’s for the poor, the rich, foreigners, Brazilians, extraterrestrials, plants, or animals. What truly matters to me is creating music and sounds capable of impacting individuals, changing their frequency and the frequency of the collective around us. Sound applied in any medium, from our time forward, must have this premise. We can no longer subject ourselves to any sound frequency because we now understand that it alters our state and interferes with our human experience. It can either be nourishment or garbage for the soul.

If you enjoyed this content and want to know if we can create a jingle, of course, we can compose a mini-music piece that conveys the message of a product or service! However, today we create with the consciousness and knowledge of Sound Branding, with the strategic mindset of Sound UX (user experience), considering the sonic experience of the audience. What does this mean? Give us a call!

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Sound Design: The Art of Storytelling through Sound, from Cinema to Advertising