Get an unfair advantage over competitors

If you are an owner/operator of an independent pizza shop, you begin your business with a handicap as soon as your sign goes up. Unlike franchisees of the major chains, you have a monumental task ahead: building name recognition.

In my last column, I promised I would tell you how to:  1) permanently implant your company's name in the minds of radio listeners; and 2) make your radio commercials sound every bit as expensive as the major national pizza advertisers at a fraction of the cost.

You can accomplish both of these seemingly insurmountable tasks by using an advertising tool that is unique to radio and television. Although it can be used quite effectively in conjunction with other media, this tool is the most effective one you can use to gain name recognition quickly. What is it? It's a jingle!

When you hear the name of a business or product set to music and rhyme, there's no forgetting it. It makes a permanent impression in your mind. Want proof? When you hear the opening bars to a song that was popular many years ago, don't you instantly recognize it and start humming along, even if you haven't heard it in decades? Want further proof? Ask people to name the current advertising slogan of Winston cigarettes and you will get only blank stares…unless you ask someone over 40 years old. They won't give you the right answer, but they'll be able to tell you the most famous one Winston has ever used. They won't just tell you the slogan; they'll sing it!  "Winston tastes good like a (clap, clap) cigarette should."  Would you believe that that simple little tune hasn't been heard for thirty years! That's because cigarette advertising was banned from broadcasting in 1971. Despite ever increasing print advertising budgets through the years, Winston has never been able to recapture its status as the number one selling cigarette in America since then.

Music is a great memory device. That's why such major advertisers as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Chevrolet use advertising jingles. You can learn from their research and experience to level the pizza-marketing playing field in your area. Then you can compete with "the big boys."

"But," you object, "aren't jingles really expensive? "What costs more: placing a series of ads in the newspaper and a string of ho-hum radio spots that don't get noticed; or, purchasing a catchy jingle that gets listeners' attention and running that on a couple of radio stations in conjunction with your newspaper ads? Another point to consider: You can pay off the cost of jingle production over several years. Depending on the studio you select, expect to pay, say, $1500 to $2800 for a "re-sing" and anywhere from $2500 to $6000 for an original song.

Where do you go to obtain a memorable, positive-image-building advertising song? Oh, sure, your brother-in-law's best friend's son is a musician and he would be happy to come up with one in exchange for a few free pizzas. Hold it! Don't even think about it. You wouldn't consider using an Easy-Bake Oven instead of a commercial unit, would you? Your jingle is just as important to your livelihood as is the right choice of oven.

There are many jingle shops around the country (ARCA in Little Rock, Arkansas, comes to mind; of course, I AM prejudiced). Find these companies on the Internet or ask a couple of radio station sales reps for a few names and numbers. Call them, ask for demos of their work-especially restaurant jingles-and inquire about price.

The jingle producer will want to know many things about your business. Be prepared to explain what makes your pizza and your establishment different from your competitors. Do you already have a slogan to use in your jingle? What sort of image do you want your pizza parlor to project?

Few local businesses use professionally created jingles, so your well-produced, catchy, memorable tune will break through the clutter and demand attention. Your pizza shop will sound every bit as big as any major franchise competitor.

For the first two weeks, run the full sing version of the jingle frequently so listeners will be able to learn the words and begin singing along. When you later use a version that gives you lots of time for copy points-even the instrumental only-listeners will identify the message as being about your shop. The music makes every commercial an identifiable part of a consistent advertising campaign. You should also incorporate the jingle into your telephone message-on-hold to further strengthen your marketing.

Your jingle IS your image. For your present and future customers, it is your friendly, familiar identity. It's the song that will pop into their heads often, especially when they think of pizza. Your jingle gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors…even the big ones!

In the next issue, I'll try to persuade you to hire an independent audio production firm to create award-winning radio spots that SELL! As a bonus, ARCA's creative writers will give you a clever script you can have your local radio station produce for free! PMQ

THINGS TO KNOW

Before you call, there are some things you should know about the jingle industry.

Make sure that your jingle is produced with no fewer than 12 mixes in both 60- and 30- second versions.

You do not have the kind of money the major advertisers have, so you will not "own" the jingle you decide to "buy." Instead, the company that creates the music for you retains ownership and maintains the copyright. Essentially, the jingle firm "leases" you the exclusive right to use the song in your market area, either in perpetuity (forever) or for a specified period of time. They are then free to "ease" the same music bed (and, possibly, some of the same lyrics) to other clients in other areas of the country without infringing on your territory.

Assuming you operate in one city, you will qualify for the lowest rate.  Still, you will probably be quoted two prices: one for an "original" jingle which is created "from scratch," just for you (and later leased to others); and a lower rate for a "re-sing." You may hear a jingle on a demo you really like that was created for a pizza firm in another part of the nation. Because the music bed has already been created, the musicians paid and the lyrics composed, you can save money and time. Perhaps only a few words need to be changed, your name substituted for the one you heard on the demo, and then the studio singers simply "re-sing" over the existing music.