Download the jingle as an .mp3.

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Baseball in the park.





Movies after dark.





Resting in the shade.

Summer skies

And fireflies

And Simply Lemonade®.

Summer sun

And summer fun

And Simply Lemonade®.

Writing a jingle is very much an engineering challenge.  Even more so, perhaps, than it is a creative challenge.  To be certain, there is still plenty of room to be creative -- but the engineering of a jingle is arguably more important (or perhaps, requires more attention) than the mere creative elements.  And I’ve said many times before that I’m much more of a musical engineer than your typical songwriter.  As such?  I felt right at home with this challenge -- with one exception.

I had to select a product to push.

Before he fell off the Internet, Mike Lombardo and I talked (from about 01:45 to around 04:15) about the differences that exist between writing songs while being driven by commercial pressures versus writing songs strictly for your own pleasure.  Happily, I fall firmly into the latter category.  So for me, the challenge wasn’t to simply “pick the product you think would best lend itself to a jingle.”  For me, the challenge (the considerable challenge!) was to pick a product that I felt comfortable with “promoting,”  that would still lend itself well to spawning the kind of jingle I wanted to write!  This turned out to be anything but an easy task.  Plus -- in this round, we were all given the latitude to select whatever product we wanted.  I felt that this put no small amount of pressure on the final product -- if the resulting jingle proved to be lacking in <some fundamental way>, I feared it would invite the question, “Well then, why didn’t you choose some other product?”

So with this in mind -- and out of deference to and respect for my fellow competitors in SpinTunes -- I didn’t want to write any kind of a “joke” jingle.  (By that I mean a jingle that laughs at or mocks the very product it’s purportedly trying to sell.  The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer would lend itself quite well to this kind of approach.  Read the comments -- they’re hilarious!)  I wanted to make sure that there would be no question that my entry for this round was a bona fide jingle, written for the express purpose of earnestly trying to peddle the particular product I chose.  But there were also some products that I would have chosen that don’t lend themselves to jingles.  (As an example of this -- Apple’s has made one brilliant marketing decision after another, and jingles do not factor in their advertisements at all!  You sell iProducts by showing people how they work -- or better yet, letting customers hold them and handle them and use them.  To write a jingle for, say, an iPad or an iMac would be nothing less than an insult to both the creators and the consumers of those products.)

So it took a bit of time to arrive at Simply Lemonade® as my product of choice.  Once I did, however, the engineering of the jingle itself went very smoothly.

As I write this, this song holds two distinctions in my “catalogue” which at first blush may appear contradictory, but are in fact quite complimentary.  This is both my shortest lyric (at just 38 words) and my most heavily-rhymed song (by density -- 15 of the 38 words are part of the rhyme scheme -- a whopping 39.5%!).  But that’s all part of the nature of writing a jingle.  You have a minimal amount of time to trigger a particular desired reaction from your audience.  Every word, every facet, every choice matters and must lend itself to the intended result.

Rhymes add sparkle to and focus attention on a lyric -- so this lyric is stuffed with them.  The lyric must quickly paint a picture -- so the lyric is driven by 13 verbs and 11 nouns.  The chord progression is familiar, easily recognized and readily accessible.  True, the arrangement may be just piano, bass drum and cymbals -- but it’s full of drive and bright energy for the first two-thirds of the jingle.  And then in the last ten seconds, the tempo slows (facilitated by three hits on the bell of the cymbal -- possibly my favorite little detail in the whole orchestration) to a much more gentle, nostalgic pace -- until it lands squarely on the name of the product.

Now -- this is still a certain kind of a jingle.  There are some jingles which try to get you to remember the words after the commercial has aired.  (You do know the phone number for Empire Today, right?  Or “break me off a piece of that _____ _____ _____”?)  This is not that kind of a jingle.  Just because there are so many rhyming words doesn’t mean that you’re going to remember them after hearing this song -- in fact, you probably won’t!  The whole lyric is written like a list -- and unless you provide your own connective tissue to help you remember the whole list, the rhymes are not going to be enough.  No -- this is the kind of jingle that tries to foster a connection with the audience.  What the list does accomplish is the rapid painting of a warm, evocative, maybe even nostalgic landscape with which the audience can identify -- and then (as jingles do) it crassly attempts to connect those feelings to the product being marketed.

In terms of what I attempted to do with this song, I don’t know how I could have done it much better.  (And then there’s the video element -- the creation of which was just laced with far-more-than-its-fair-share of serendipity.  If you’d like to download the HD-version, it’s 18.1 MB, and it’s available here . . .)