Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

The Enduring Magic of the Jingle

Pakistani jingles have left an indelible mark on our culture as well as on the ad industry, writes Sumaira Mirza.
Published 19 Jan, 2024 02:10pm

As I settled to craft this piece, memories of my favourite jingles flooded my thoughts. These tunes, once the soundtrack of my upbringing, now beckon my writer’s soul. As an adwoman, my longing to craft something truly iconic – words and melodies that jingle their way across the years – stirred within me. Something that, even after decades have passed, will make hearts hum with the timeless tunes and lyrics. Something like Bhool na jaana phir papa, Naurus lay kay ghar ana, Aey khuda merey abbu salamat rahein, Meri muthi mein bandh hai kiya?Naz paan masala, Chai chahiye, kaunsi janab, Lipton umda hai or even the instrumental of the most iconic Movern Gold… ‘Rhythm of Unity!’ Just couldn’t stop humming them, even when I started jotting them down. This is the music magic!

For a quarter of a century, Pakistani TV screens have been graced with the tunes and lyrics of catchy advertising jingles that have left an indelible mark on our memories. From heart-warming jingles that tug at our heartstrings to upbeat tunes that make us groove, these jingles have played a pivotal role in shaping the advertising landscape of Pakistan. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Aurora, a publication dedicated to Pakistan’s ad and marketing world, this celebration would be incomplete without applauding the musical masterpieces over the years.

In the realm of advertising jingles, several Pakistani brands have endeavoured to create melodies that would distinguish them from the crowd and leave a lasting imprint on the audience. For those who have spent substantial hours in front of the TV screen, a flood of familiar jingles instantly comes to mind – tunes that remain entrenched in memory long after the commercials themselves have aged.

But why do some jingles stand out and stay with us even as we become indifferent to most ads? The magic is in their rhythm. Our brains are like a small music studio where we store our favourite musical memories. This is why catchy tunes stick in our heads, and sometimes we catch ourselves humming them. It’s all about how these jingles connect with us, making them unforgettable. Music/jingles can help gain attention, create desired moods, change the pace of an advertising narrative, facilitate brand recall, improve attitudes towards brands and ultimately, influence purchase behaviour. Music, combined with other factors like visuals, storylines, words and sounds, exerts a persuasive influence through cognitive and affective processes. On certain occasions, music has even taken centre stage to become the focal point of successful advertisements through emotional storytelling. Among the multitude of TV commercials, there are a few that undeniably stand out, thanks to their distinctive, repetitive, or purely delightful jingles that captivate our auditory senses. There was a time when jingles reigned supreme.

In the late nineties and early 2000s, Pakistani advertising was in its formative years. Advertisers were experimenting with various styles and genres, and if you are from the nineties era, the Ding Dong jingle likely triggers a rush of nostalgia; Ek moti taazi billi thee, jo mazay sey Ding Dong khati thee is a tune adored by every kid from our generation and remains etched in memory till today. Merely mentioning its name sparks an involuntary replay from start to finish in your mind. Dairy Milk’s Kitna maza aye re too became a treasured favourite for chocolate enthusiasts, echoing through the years and prompting endless sing-alongs.

In every Pakistani household, young and old alike, the 0900-78601 storm ushered in by this ad remains unforgettable. Whether it was the repetitive nature of the ad, its catchy tune, or the sight of the dancing telephone on our screens, this commercial lingers in our memories, standing the test of time. While Telefun might not have achieved commercial success, they undeniably became a nostalgic part of our lives, imprinting that catchy jingle in our minds.

The Peek Freans instrumental tune and the jingle Listen to the sound of the day triggered childhood memories as did their Sooper ad from the early 2000s, which instantly captivated us, embedding its lyrics firmly in our heads. While other biscuits claim to represent the des, Sooper effortlessly attained that status long ago. Pepsi’s Yeh Dil Maange More was a game-changer, merging the worlds of advertising and entertainment. The Dil Dil Pakistan jingle for Vital Signs cemented its place in the hearts of millions, becoming an unofficial anthem for the nation. Then there’s Molty Foam. Meri nanni pari, naye ghar ko chali. Makes me emo, every time I hear it…sniff, sniff!

Summers and Ramzan were incomplete without Jam-e-Shireen. When we spot a bottle of Jam-e-Shireen in a store, the light, light refreshing jingle instantly pops into our heads. That shows how much influence this jingle had in our lives from seeing it so often. Even with new ads, the old TVC song is hard to beat.

Dalda’s Tum ho tum hee ho, tum pey hai naz, tumhi ho mamta ki awaz, Tullo’s Amma Tullo mein pakao, Servis shoes for everyone… The list can go on forever. There was an era when jingles ruled. They were a reason why people were hooked to the twice-in-an-hour break during dramas because they loved listening to these catchy tunes again and again.

But we are losing the magic of jingles… aren’t we? While it may seem like today’s jingles cannot quite measure up to those from the nineties, there are various factors influencing this beyond just content quality. A significant reason for the diminished brand love toward jingles is the reduced exposure they receive, thanks to smaller screens taking up a considerable chunk of our time. And, let’s remember that although jingles serve as an effective means to promote brands, their impact isn’t guaranteed, especially when crafted without proper research and support. Across decades of advertising, countless jingles have graced the airwaves, but only a select few managed to forge a deep connection with the audience, while the majority faded into obscurity.

In the last decade, advertising has evolved significantly, driven by intense competition and while the core challenges and goals of creating awareness and leaving a lasting impression in consumers’ minds remain consistent, marketers have regularly turned to jingles as a preferred means to achieve these objectives. However, despite the evolution in audience preferences and the changing media landscape, many marketers still adopt conventional, trend-following approaches rather than charting unique brand paths.

The absence of memorable and enduring quality in Pakistan’s contemporary ads stands in stark contrast to the iconic TV commercials of the eighties and nineties. Present-day TVCs often engage in brand rivalries or imitate foreign ads, missing the emotional depth that once resonated with audiences. Widespread use of uninspiring one-liners, taglines and jingles contributes to the lack of a lasting impact. Despite access to advanced technology, a more educated workforce, and robust research, the creative spark appears to be lacking, resulting in ads that lack freshness and the captivating elements of bygone memorable commercials. However, not all is lost. The encouraging news is that certain brands have succeeded in creating unforgettable jingles, defying the challenges along the way.

Over the past 25 years, Pakistani ad jingles have not only entertained us, they have left an indelible impact on our culture and advertising industry, with their power to evoke nostalgia, resonate with emotions and promote brand recognition.

As we celebrate this musical journey of 25 years, it’s clear that catchy jingles are here to stay, continuing to be an integral part of the advertising landscape in Pakistan. From the heart-warming melodies of the past to the modern and trendy tunes of today, Pakistani ad jingles have truly created a harmonious connection between brands and their audiences.

Sumaira Mirza is ECD,
Ogilvy Pakistan.