Recently I’ve had two unwanted visitors take up lodging in my brain. The first is a jingle that may be one of the most annoying creations in the history of television advertising. The second is not as purely irritating in terms of its melody or delivery, but it’s so wrong, on so many other levels, it deserves mention.
First let’s consider the fiendish Kozy Shack pudding jingle. This 30-second, auditory equivalent of water-boarding began playing in heavy rotation sometime back in May on my usual morning news program. It must have played at least three times each morning. Often I just had the TV playing in another room and the perky strains of Kozy Shack would come wafting in:
I’m flippin’ over Kozy Shack
Flip it over read the back
You can view the masterpiece here. Note how the pudding is so delicious that Mom and Dad actually do backflips as their flabbergasted young son looks on!
I know that I am not the only one who has been afflicted by this Kozy Shack plague. Search Google and you will find numerous other, mostly profanity-laden, reviews. This comment from Tumblr sums it up pretty well: I’ve had some bad earworms stuck in my head over the years, but I’m not sure that anything rivals the Kozy Shack pudding ad in terms of sheer suckitude.
So as a regular person who watches TV I’m exasperated, but as a marketer I’m fascinated. This jingle vaulted an unknown brand for a product I do not consume into prime territory in my unwilling brain. On my weekly grocery shopping trip I saw it in the refrigerator case and wondered – has it been there all along and I just never noticed it? Now that I had awareness of Kozy Shack, I saw Kozy Shack. And if I were a pudding consumer, I would have considered Kozy Shack. That jingle did its job, creating awareness which paved the way for consideration.
I started to wonder why more B2B companies don’t have catchy jingles/sounds. The only one I could remember was the Intel Inside “bong.” Just reading the words “Intel Inside” probably triggered the sound for you. I wonder why Cisco or IBM or Microsoft never came up with some little string of musical notes to hook into our brains and trigger visions of their logos? There’s the start-up sound of Windows, but I don’t restart that much any more.
Which brings me to the other thing this Kozy Shack episode reminded me of – the power of repetition. We like to talk about the science of B2B marketing, but in consumer marketing everyone knows that what really works is repetition. B2B marketers would do well to consider this. Repetition creates awareness and awareness precedes consideration. Blog all you want, tweet 18 times a day – but without consistency of message it is just more noise. There is great value in sticking with a simple message over time and yes, repeating it.
OK, enough beating up on old Kozy Shack. (OK, one more thing. I went to the Kozy Shack web site, and I have to report that the company is based in Hicksville, New York. No lie.)
Offender #2 – Boston Children’s Hospital “Until Every Child Is Well”
This commercial is playing in heavy rotation on Boston radio and TV. A nice folk singer warbles:
I wanna give you a world that’s free from struggle
I wanna build you a world where you can spread your wings
Where every smile is endless
Where every future’s bright
Where every wish is granted
Until every child is well
Until every child is well.
While the tune plays a series of messages appear on the screen over footage of healthy children running and playing: “Until there is no more asthma, until there are no more heart defects, until there is no more diabetes…” There’s an extended version of the ad here.
It’s all very lovely and I’m a big fan of the Children’s Hospital and the work they do. But is their mission really to eliminate disease? Really? I’m sure someone will say – lighten up already. It’s just a damn jingle. But if I were a doctor working with sick kids very day, I would not be amused. It’s one thing to say we’re going to do everything we can to make your life better; we’re going to give you the best care possible and we’re going to work like the dickens to cure as many diseases as we can. But are we really going eliminate all childhood diseases? Of course not.
Struggle is part of the human condition and we do our children a disservice when we suggest to them that it is possible to have a life free from struggle. All wishes are not granted. Life is full of hardship and hard work and challenges. Children with diseases know this, of course. Doctors who treat children know this. But somehow, the marketing department must have missed this fact and also the sad irony of saying something like this in an ad for a children’s hospital that treats the sickest of the sick. No question it’s a lovely ad. Unfortunately, it’s just plain wrong.