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What’s the Average Length of a Jingle?

Keaton Robbins | February 23, 2023

A woman with dark hair holds her headphones and is singing, while looking away from her microphone.

Advertising jingles have been part of the marketing world for decades since the advent of radio transmissions and the first television broadcasts. If you want a consumer to remember your product or brand, then a jingle is another way to stay in your audience’s mind.

The best types of jingles are the ones people can recite from memory and bring back warm, fuzzy memories. After all, people still remember classics like “Like a Good Neighbor,” “Gimme a Break,” and “I’m Lovin’ It.” 

In this article

  1. So, What Is a Jingle?
  2. How Long Does a Jingle Last?
  3. How Do You Know if a Jingle Is Too Short or Long?
  4. What Makes a Jingle Catchy?
  5. Conclusion

But what is the average length of an advertising jingle? Let’s dig into some of the best ones and discover what makes these jingles into earworms for the average consumer. 

So, What Is a Jingle?

An advertising jingle is a short song or sound effect that has the power to remind you of a particular brand or product. Most of the time, a jingle’s repetition gives it the hook to help consumers place a specific feeling upon hearing it. For example, you might get a little hungry when you hear McDonald’s jingle or want to grab a Mentos when you hear the “Freshmaker” theme. 

The point is that jingles are effective advertisements designed to help you remember the advertised product or brand. 

While there has been plenty of historical deep dives on the power and effectiveness of the jingle, there has also been plenty of discussion on the first one. 

According to The Atlantic, many believe the first radio jingle came from a Wheaties ad in 1926 featuring a barbershop quartet crooning, “Have you tried Wheaties?” 

While historians bicker and fuss over the first jingle, there is no doubt among them that the jingle soon became one of the most effective forms of advertising on radio and television. 

But there is also debate over the length of the most effective jingles. 

How Long Does a Jingle Last?

While there is no academic definition of the perfect length of a jingle, there is a good rule of thumb that many advertisers use. Considering the average attention span these days is a lot less than it used to be, an effective jingle in our digitally-obsessed world is about 5 to 10 seconds

While the jingles of the past used to constitute whole songs for commercials, the jingles of the contemporary era are usually only a few words in length. After all, the economy of words means ensuring every word used in an ad is effective and succinct. 

However, there are many jingles out there that are much longer than 5 to 10 seconds. For example, fast food restaurant Chili’s lit up the marketing world in the late 90s with their ode to Baby Back Ribs – a nearly minute-long opus that allowed the restaurant to show off their newest menu addition.  

And we cannot forget one of the greatest jingles of all time: “I Wanna Be A Toys R Us Kid.” This famous jingle perfectly encapsulated the joy and carefree spirit of being a child going to America’s then-favorite toy store. 

Fun Fact: novelist James Patterson is credited with being one of the writers of this iconic jingle.

How Do You Know if a Jingle Is Too Short or Long?

A jingle can also be too short or long for people to remember effectively. Again, the economy of words is crucial.

A too-long and repetitive jingle can cause a tune-out effect or, worse, people openly hating the ad to the point of hurting the brand or product. 

A jingle that is too short runs the risk of becoming forgettable and just another noisy thing to tune out while watching television or listening to the radio.

The key is to find the perfect blend of catchy, repetitive, and short. Unfortunately, in many ways, you might be in a situation where only two of those three options are available. 

Wondering how to make a jingle for an advertisement? Read our blog, walking you through the process.

What Makes a Jingle Catchy?

Generally, a jingle’s effectiveness or if it is considered “catchy” depends on the brand’s power, repetition, and if the jingle is memorable. 

Look at the ads in the present, for example. State Farm’s “Like A Good Neighbor” is only four words in length and five notes long. Yet, those four words and five notes are so intertwined that even hearing the notes alone will immediately make someone remember the words to the tune. 

McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” is capable of the same ability: five notes and only three words. The burger giant’s marketing firm even experimented with a few ads several years ago that just went with “ba-da-da-da-da” instead of saying their slogan.

Repetition is also one of the most potent ways a jingle becomes catchy. A set of words repeated several times – usually with the help of some accompanying music – allows consumers to sing along with the jingle. This repetition can turn an ad into what many refer to as an “earworm,” or something that is so stuck in your mind that it is difficult to remove. Pair that with the number of times a catchy ad runs on television or radio during the day, and you’ve got a recipe for a winning jingle. 

Positive memories also contribute to making a jingle catchy. Jingles like the one ‘Toys R Us’ produced in the 80s often remind older Millennials and Gen Xers of the carefree days of childhood. But, of course, nothing makes someone remember something like the warm and fuzzies. 

These recent jingles show that the right mix of branding and memorable tunes are a partnership that’s effectiveness cannot be overstated. 


An advertising jingle is another way for brands or products to break through the noise of everyday life. A single jingle can mean the difference between a brand becoming deeply ingrained in a person’s mind thanks to repetition and being just another sound that gets on the nerves of the average consumer. 

Still, in our often noisy world where everything is battling for shortened attention spans, the jingle remains a powerful and effective way of cutting through any other distractions. 

Looking to post your next voice over job that needs a catchy jingle? Post today on Voices, for free!

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