6 Famous Musicians Who Wrote Jingles for TV Commercials
You might be surprised by who wrote those jingles that get stuck in your head.
1. Jack White for Coca-Cola
As a teenager, Jack White was obsessed with Coca-Cola—so obsessed that he wrote 100 short songs about the soda. When the company asked him to write a jingle in 2005, White jumped at the chance. "What Goes Around Comes Around" was attached to a short film commercial from director Nagi Noda called Love is the Truth. It was about a minute and 45 seconds long and only aired once on the British Channel 4.
“I’ve been offered the opportunity to write a song in a way which interests me as a songwriter,” Jack White told NME.com. “I certainly wouldn’t want a song that I’d already written to be used on a commercial. That seems strange. But to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I’m not really used to appealed to me."
2. Barry Manilow for State Farm
Barry wrote jingles for a number of companies during the '60s and '70s, including McDonald's, Stridex, Dodge, and Band-Aid (yup, Manilow wrote the music to "Stuck on Me"). He's also responsible for one of the catchiest commercial jingles of all time: State Farm's "Like a Good Neighbor," which he penned in the '70s. Although the insurance company still uses the jingle in their commercials today, Manilow doesn't receive any royalties for it. He sold off his rights as a songwriter to State Farm, who only paid him $500 for the jingle.
3. The Flaming Lips for Hyundai
The Flaming Lips wrote and performed "Sun Blows Up Today" for a 60-second Hyundai ad that aired during Super Bowl XLVII. Hyundai offered 100,000 free downloads of the song before and after the Big Game in 2013; the track was also featured as an iTunes bonus track on the band's record Terror.
VP of marketing at Hyundai Steve Shannon told Billboard, "The Flaming Lips are very much like Hyundai. They're a little offbeat. They've been around a long time and they continue to reinvent themselves."
4. Randy Newman for Dr. Pepper
Before he won numerous Emmys, Grammys, and Oscars, Randy Newman wrote commercial jingles. He co-wrote "The Most Original Soft Drink Ever" and "Be a Pepper" with Barry Manilow and Jake Holmes—a commercial composer who wrote "Be All That You Can Be" for the U.S. Army—for Dr. Pepper's marketing campaigns.
5. Mark Foster of Foster The People for Muscle Milk
Before founding indie pop band Foster The People, Mark Foster wrote catchy jingles for Cadillac, Bing, Bank of America, California Tourism and, most notably, Muscle Milk. "Spring Break It Down" was a Jersey Shore parody that promoted the protein drink. It became a viral video smash hit in 2010.
“Well, I think melodies are my real strength,” Foster told the San Francisco Examiner. “I know how to build and deliver a chorus, whether it’s instrumental or whatever. So I guess I have a good handle on dynamics, which is what commercials are all about."
6. The Rolling Stones for Rice Krispies
Before they were famous, The Rolling Stones wrote and performed a catchy jingle for Kellogg's Rice Krispies during the early '60s. Brian Jones co-wrote the jingle for the J. Walter Thompson ad agency and the commercial only aired in the United Kingdom.
BONUS: Ween for Pizza Hut
In 2002, Pizza Hut and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy commissioned Ween to write a jingle for their new pizza, "The Insider." The fast food company was looking for an edgy ad campaign and W+K believed the Pennsylvania-based indie rock band would be a perfect fit. But Pizza Hut didn't think the six songs Ween wrote fit with their corporate culture, so they rejected them. Disappointed with the outcome, Gene and Dean Ween wrote an explicit version of "Where'd the Cheese Go?" for Pizza Hut as a final attempt, but it was also rejected.
"In keeping in line with their new cutting edge image, the agency hired Ween to do the music, and we delivered in a big way," Ween wrote in 2003. "Unfortunately, they didn't like a single piece of the 6 tunes we submitted and they had us rewriting the song every day for a couple of weeks before they hired someone else. In my opinion, it is one of the best tunes we wrote all last year."
Meanwhile, "Where'd the Cheese Go?" became a cult favorite from Ween.