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The Power of a Jingle

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Dean VanHeerde couldn’t have been more pleased when his friends told him that they were sick of hearing his shop’s jingle on the radio. “That was music to my ears,” says the co-owner of Pierre’s Body Shop Inc. in Sioux Falls, S.D. “It meant it was working.” His aim was to make his shop’s name known to as many people as possible, as often as possible.

Though Pierre’s has been in business for more than 50 years, when VanHeerde and his wife bought the 10,000-square-foot shop in 2002, he realized the previous owner hadn’t invested much in advertising. So in 2003, he hit the airwaves with a catchy jingle. That established the shop’s name recognition and branded Pierre’s as a first-rate collision repair center to tens of thousands of people. Six years after he first began using the jingle, VanHeerde says it’s been an invaluable advertising tool. “It’s a very effective thing to do to brand your shop. If you want to help your business grow, you have to be out there in front of them every day.”

Regardless of whether you’re advertising on the radio, a jingle may have its place in your marketing plan. A memorable tune can be used as on-hold music, on your Web site or in a television commercial. The lyrics themselves might even work their way into your printed marketing materials; all uses of a good jingle can help strengthen your brand.

“A jingle is a way to put some gas on the fire of your advertising. It’s an audio logo.”     
—John Nordstrom, vice president of sales, Creative Radio

YOUR AUDIO LOGO                    

David Sehorn knew he needed to find a new advertising strategy when he realized his bottom line was taking a hit. “We were spending a ton on Yellow Pages advertising,” he says. Sehorn, the general manager of Hite Collision Center in Lawrence, Kan.—a 7,000-square-foot shop with $2 million in annual sales —was spending $7,000 a month for ads in four directories. Realizing it wasn’t cost effective, he pulled all but $600 from the shop’s directory budget and allocated the money for other types of local advertising instead. “We bombarded the local market—radio, TV and newspaper,” he says. In December, Sehorn “got real serious with radio” and started airing a shop jingle. So far, results have been great. “People at the grocery store come up to me and say they heard it,” he says. “It’s helped us tremendously.”

John Nordstrom, vice president of sales for Creative Radio in St. Cloud, Minn., says the power of a jingle is that it provides consistency in your commercials. “A jingle is a way to put some gas on the fire of your advertising. It’s an audio logo.” For shops, top-of-mind awareness is critical. “You want to be [among] the top choices of businesses that someone thinks of when it’s time for your service or you really don’t have a shot at getting their business,” he says.

Sehorn agrees. “It’s hard to think when you’re in a wreck. The last thing you’re thinking about is what body shop you’re going to take your car to, [but] if you say your name enough, they’re going to think of you.”

WHO’S SINGING YOUR SONG?

VanHeerde hired a local talent to record his jingle. He paid about $4,000 for the singer to record a 30- and 60-second song that included the jingle: “Honesty and integrity is what you expect from Pierre’s.” (To hear the entire jingle, go to pierresbodyshop.com.) VanHeerde then contacted local radio stations to determine ad placement. He interspersed his ads throughout the day, mostly during daytime and early evening hours to reach rush-hour commuters. He targeted a wide demographic of listeners, ranging from 20- to 60-year-olds.

THE COST OF A JINGLE
Wondering what a jingle will set you back? John Nordstrom, vice president of sales for Creative Radio in St. Cloud, Minn., says shops can expect to pay between $1,600 and $2,500. “Our average price for a local jingle is $1,800,” he says. For more information, visit creativeradiojingles.com or call 800.307.2346.

Jingle This, in Los Angeles, Calif., charges between $2,000 and $3,000 for a jingle. Executive producer John Schulte says the L.A. location is an asset: Clients can choose from experienced singers, and all hired talent have participated in national commercials.

For more information, visit jinglethis.com or call 866.745.1924.

VanHeerde pays $3,000 a month to advertise on five radio stations. The money goes a long way. Sioux Falls’s population is over 120,000, and each of the radio stations has a 100-mile radius. “[We’re] hitting tens of thousands of people,” he says.

Sehorn created the catch phrase for his jingle at a meeting hosted by his local radio station. Instructed to come up with something catchy that went with his shop name, he thought: “If you want it done right, take it to Hite.” It stuck. When the shop made its big push for radio advertising seven months ago, Sehorn continued to use the rhyme. He worked with the radio station—which hired a professional singer—to create the shop’s jingle.

Sehorn paid $10,000 to have 60,000 radio ads come out in a year’s time. His jingle airs on three stations. One is AM while the other two are FM rock and easy listening. He hopes the diversity will help him hit a variety of age groups. While he’s reaching tens of thousands of people like VanHeerde, Sehorn decided to target a specific local market. Within the city of Lawrence—about 100,000 people—he concentrates his advertising efforts specifically in Douglas County.

TUNE UP YOUR BRANDING

Both Sehorn and VanHeerde agree that creating a jingle helps brand their respective shops amidst the clutter of competitors. VanHeerde also realized that since Pierre’s has been around for more than 50 years, the shop’s jingle helps to remind folks the shop is still around and providing better service than ever.

The consistency of a jingle is powerful—and something people won’t forget. “After awhile, they recognize the body shop just from the first couple of beats of jingle music,” Nordstrom says. “well before the announcer even says what the shop’s name is. Music is memorable.”

It looks like people sure are remembering Hite. When asked what his results are like over seven months, Sehorn laughs. “The recession isn’t bothering us! I have people standing at my counter right now.”

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