Advertising And Pop Music

The sound of commerce.  How advertising has moved in on American popular music.

Barry Manilow performed or co-wrote a number of commercial jingles early in his career, most notably for State Farm, Bandaid, and Stridex. (AP)

Barry Manilow performed or co-wrote a number of commercial jingles early in his career, most notably for State Farm, Bandaid, and Stridex. (AP)

From the dawn of radio, music and mass marketing have had a big affair.  It took about five minutes for songs sung forever in hills and hollows to be put to work selling biscuit flour.  Right behind came the great age of jingles that probably still rattle around your head.

Things go better with Coke, and all the rest.  And at some point, whatever dam there was between popular music and ads just broke.  The Beatles and Bob Dylan and Alicia Keys – everybody, it seems – selling stuff with their songs.

This hour, On Point:  a new look at the marriage of music and marketing in America.

-Tom Ashbrook


Timothy Taylor, professor in the department of ethnomusicology and musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He’s the author of The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture. You can read an excerpt here.

Ron Dante, singer, songwriter, session vocalist, and record producer. He was a successful jingle performer and composer.

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate “Could Kraftwerk have made a jumble of numbers any catchier than that jingle, performed by Hauldren’s own barbershop quartet, the Fabulous 40s? And why was I protective of those manipulative notes? I still remember the shock when I heard the song in New York with “800” shoehorned at the top of the harmonized call signal, a mandatory addition once the company expanded beyond Illinois. That was my carpet jingle!”

Spinner “Man, those free credit report jingles can be pretty annoying. But the thing is — and we hate to admit this — they’re also kind of catchy. Though classic-rock hits have nudged out original jingles as the primary musical vehicle for selling stuff, the very best advertising songs are synonymous with their products — and have become burned into our brains. Here are our favorite commercial tunes throughout the years.”


Check of the trailer for the Sounds of Capitalism.


Here’s Bob Dylan’s Victoria Secret commercial.

Check out this famous diet Pepsi commercial with Ray Charles from 1991.

Here’s singer Barry Manilow playing some of his commercial jingles.


I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
“Like A Rock” by Bob Seger
Bob Dylan “Angels in Venice”
The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour
Chiquita Banana by Mack Shopnick
Chiquita Banana “Opera Rumba”
“Back Seat Blues” Ford commercial
“Things Go Better With Coca-Cola” by Aretha Franklin
“You’ve Got a Lot to Live” by Johnny Cash
“You’ve Got a Lot to Live” by Roberta Flack
“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”
“You! You’re the One!” by Gladys Knight and the Pips
“Sugar Sugar” by Archies
“Anticipation” by Carly Simon
“Revolution” by The Beatles
“Be All You Can Be”
“Pink Moon” by Nick Drake
“Fun” by Wiseguys
Chris Brown Forever Wrigley Doublemint Commercial
“Too Close” by Alex Clare
“New Soul” by Yael Naïm

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