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Copyright 1991 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.

0021-9010/91/13.00

Journal of Applied Psychology


1991, Vol. 76, No. 2. 268-275

Memory in a Jingle Jungle: Music as a Mnemonic Device


in Communicating Advertising Slogans
Richard F. Yalch

This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.

School of Business Administration, University of Washington

Although advertisers believe that jingles are an effective way to communicate advertising slogans
and regularly use jingles, prior research on the use of music in advertising does not always substantiate this belief. An inadequate consideration of how individuals process jingles as opposed to
verbal material presented with background music partially explains the discrepancy. In addition, a
review of advertising and psychological research on mnemonics and verbal information presented
with or without music suggests conditions when presenting advertising slogans as musical jingles
enhances memory and when it does not. Two experiments are presented supporting the importance
of these conditions, and their results are used to suggest situations in which musical jingles should
be used and appropriate research methods to evaluate advertising that employs jingles.

consistent with both current practice and much academic research. Advertising tracking studies usually include measures
of the audience's awareness of and correct identification of the
brand names associated with various slogans to assess the effectiveness of a firm's advertising. Similarly, academic research
examining executional elements in advertising frequently considers only memorial effects (e.g, Houston, Childers, & Heckler,
1987; Sewall & Sarel 1986). In summary, this article focuses on
music's role in communicating advertising information summarized in a slogan. The goal is to identify conditions when music
might be used effectively for this purpose.

Music is one of the most frequently used executional devices


in radio and television advertising. Stewart and Furse (1986)
reported that 42% of the 1,059 ads tested by a commercial service included some form of music, and Bellaire (1979) claimed
that almost 60% of prime time commercials use music. This
widespread use of music may be attributed to practitioners'
beliefs that music is effective both in creating favorable associations (especially emotional ones) and in enhancing memory for
information that the sponsor wants to have associated with an
advertised product (usually developed in the form of a jingle).
However, academic research on the use of music in advertising
(e.g., Galizio & Hendrick, 1972) is not supportive of these beliefs, which suggests the need to investigate how consumers
process advertising containing music.
As indicated in the definition of a jingle provided above,
academics and advertising professionals frequently claim that
singing is an effective way to communicate copy in a memorable way (Bellaire, 1979; Weeks & Marx, 1968; see also Rothschild, 1987, p. 253). Memory enhancement represents one of
the oldest and most important uses of music in advertising. For
example, strolling minstrels representing their masters sang the
equivalent of jingles during the Middle Ages, and printed jingles have been popular since the 1890s (Faison, 1980). Enhancing the memorability of an advertising slogan by presenting it in
the form of a jingle should greatly benefit advertisers. Slogans
have been said to be the most powerful single element in advertising (Noble, 1970). Whether used in jingles or as tag lines,
they usually capture the essential positioning of the brand in
the marketplace, summarize the theme of the individual advertisements in a campaign, and provide continuity when specific
copy points change over time.
Given the interest in studying the effectiveness of music in
facilitating the audience's learning of an advertising slogan, recall rather than persuasion is the criterion of interest. This is

Previous Research
Despite the widespread use of music in advertising, academic research on its effects is much less extensive than research on other executional factors such as fear or humor. Research on the memorial effects of music has yielded mixed results. Support for the positive effects of music may be found in
copy testing research that showed a tendency for television advertising containing music to be remembered better than ads
without music (Burke Marketing Research, 1978; McCollum/
Spielman, 1976; Stewart & Furse, 1986). However, this was not
found by McEwen and Leavitt (1976), and similar research using radio advertising reported no positive effects (Radio Recall
Research, 1981; Sewall & Sarel, 1986). To further complicate
matters, laboratory experiments have frequently revealed negative recall effects of incorporating music in advertising (e.g.,
Anand & Sternthal, 1990; Park & Young, 1986; Wheatley &
Brooker, 1988).
To some extent, the inconsistent findings may be explained
by differences in the way music is used in the advertising and in
the measures of effectiveness. As mentioned above, studies
correlating television advertising copy test results with various
executional elements (e.g., music, humor, celebrities) generally
reported positive effects from using music (see Stewart & Furse,
1986, for a review). However, this research typically considered
only memory of exposure to the ad and not specific verbal
content. Thus, audiences may have better memories of expo-

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to


Richard F. Yalch, School of Business Administration, University of
Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195.
268

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MUSIC AS A MNEMONIC DEVICE

sure to advertising, because they remember the music in the


advertisement, but have no better memories for the specific
verbal information presented in the advertisement.
Correlational studies of music in advertising often do not
distinguish between background music (Us, the music bears no
relationship to the verbal content) and jingles (i.e., the verbal
content is presented as lyrics in a song). When specific verbal
content is the measure of effectiveness, experimental research
suggests that background music and sounds may be a distraction resulting in lower recall. For example, Park and \bung
(1986) varied ads by including or not including background
music and found that recall of the verbal content spoken in the
advertisement was significantly lower when music was present
(see also Wheatley & Brooker, 1988). In these situations, music
competes with the verbal information for processing resources.
If inadequate resources are available for processing the verbal
material, learning and recall suffer (e.g., Gardner, 1970).
In the case of jingles, the verbal and musical information are
usually designed to be compatible, at least phonetically. Therefore, distraction should be less of a problem. However, mere
phonetic compatibility may not be sufficient. Psychological research by Galizio and Hendrick (1972) does not support a belief
that memory for verbal information will always be enhanced by
presenting them in the form of a song. They found that recall of
four messages (actually, lyrics to protest folk music) was less
when the messages were presented in the form of songs compared to when they were dramatically read to the respondents.
Interestingly, this effect occurred whether or not the songs were
accompanied by appropriate guitar music.
Although Galizio and Hendrick's (1972) results are frequently
cited in studies of the effectsof music in advertising (e.g., Anand
& Sternthal, 1990; Park & Young, 1986), they may not be relevant to the issue of recalling advertising jingles. Their messages
were relatively elaborate in the amount of information presented (e.g., a story about a boxer who died in a fight and a plea
for the abolition of boxing), and their recall test involved nine
true-false statements related to the messages. Unfortunately, no
psychological research could be located that presented simple
verbal information typical of advertising jingles and tested for
the ability to associate the verbal information and its sponsor
when the verbal information was or was not presented with
music.
To address the lack of evidence substantiating that memory
for an advertising slogan may be enhanced by presenting the
slogan in the form of a jingle, this article reports on research
exploring this issue. The object is to determine the circumstances in which it is desirable to use music as a vehicle for
communicating a slogan to consumers. Psychological research
on the use of mnemonics in learning situations is reviewed, and
two conditionsthe amount of information provided to the
audience at the point the advertising slogan is being retrieved
and the number of exposures to the advertising prior to the
retrieval taskare identified as possible moderating factors.
The view that a jingle operates as a mnemonic is then tested in
two experiments studying how memory for the association of a
sponsor with an advertising slogan presented with or without a
jingle varies depending on whether the retrieval task involves
recognition or aided recall and whether individuals are exposed
once or twice to the slogan prior to the retrieval task.

269

A Theoretical Perspective
In his text on advertising, Rothschild (1987) states that "the
greatest value of music seems to be when it is an integral part of
the sell and when it is aimed at straight learning" (p. 251). However, the memorial effects of music as well as other nonverbal
elements in advertising, such as pictures (Houston et al., 1987)
and vivid images (Collins, Taylor, Wood, & Thompson, 1988),
are obviously not as straightforward as advertisers believe. Integrated lyrics and music are not always better recalled than the
lyrics presented alone (e.g, Anand & Sternthal, 1990; Galizio &
Hendrick ,1972). Consequently, it seems useful to consider nonadvertising research to develop a better understanding of music's role as a mnemonic aid in the learning of verbal information and the functioning of mnemonic devices in memory retrieval tasks.
Advertisers appear correct in their belief that music and
rhythmic sounds may facilitate learning and slow forgetting of
verbal material (Bower & Bolton, 1969; Sims, 1980; Waldron,
1977); however, the effect is not universal (e.g., Bottari & Evans,
1982; Reineke, 1981; Rubin & Wallace, 1989). One complicating
factor is that verbal material presented in a jingle is likely to be
processed differently than spoken words. Verbal material in a
jingle is likely to be processed phonetically rather than semantically. If so, individuals should have low comprehension of the
thoughts expressed in the lyrics. This might explain why it is
difficult to retrieve lyrics in the absence of the accompanying
music when the lyrics are lengthy (Galizio & Hendrick, 1972),
when the lyrics are unrelated words (Jellison & Miller, 1982), or
when the subjects are verbally oriented as opposed to visuospatially oriented (Bottari & Evans, 1982). Furthermore, music's
usefulness as a mnemonic is sharply reduced when subjects are
presented with unfamiliar music or lack a strategy for learning
verbal information presented with music (Gfeller, 1983), or
when other words that correspond to the rhyme interfere with
retrieval of the target words (Bower & Bolton, 1969).
Bellezza (1981) concluded that the power of a mnemonic
device depends on its constructibility and associability. Constructibility refers to the individual's ability to have the cue available at the time of learning and to reliably retrieve it during
recall. Because jingles tend to use popular music or original
music that is very similar to popular music, the audience should
not have difficulty learning and remembering jingles relative to
other advertising information. Associability is the ease of linking information to the mnemonic cue. Verbal information
strongly associated with music (e.g., the title, performing artist,
opening words, or refrain) is frequently readily retrieved. Other
information, such as second and later verses, is more difficult to
remember. Similarly, first and final phonemes are better cues
for retrieval than middle fragments for rhymes (Horowitz,
White, & Atwood, 1968). Again, jingles should do well on this
dimension because there tend to be phonetic and other links
between the music and the slogan, the slogan is often repeated
throughout the jingle, and the slogan usually appears at the end
of the jingle.
Research on mnemonic aids reveals that they are most useful
in situations when retrieval is difficult because there are few
cues for retrieving the verbal information (e.g, when other associations to it are not present). As concluded by Bellezza (1981),

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270

RICHARD F. YALCH

mnemonic aids that are readily constructible (remembered) at


the retrieval time are useful in providing a memory link to the
target information. However, when several other cues are available (as in a recognition test), mnemonics are of little benefit.
For example, when individuals are presented with a recognition
task containing several relevant cues, such as the slogan and
possible sponsors (e.g., "Is the slogan 'Good to the Last Drop'
used in advertising by Maxwell House or Folgers coffee?"), retrieval of the correct sponsor of the slogan is possible through a
variety of paths (e.g., thinking about the slogan, Maxwell House
advertising, or Folgers advertising). In a cued recall test with a
list associate (e.g., "Who uses the slogan 'Good to the Last
Drop'?"), retrieval is frequently possible only through a direct
association of the cue with the other information (Maxwell
House). Humphreys, Bain, and Pike (1989) discussed findings
comparing recognition tasks with tasks using cued recall with a
list associate.
At issue here is whether musical jingles operate like other
mnemonics. If so, music should assist in the retrieval process in
situations where retrieval is difficult (e.g., cued recall with a list
associate task), because it provides a path to the desired verbal
information when there are few other paths to this information.
Many individuals have good memories for music, and in recalling the melody they may recall the lyrics. On the other hand,
music should provide less assistance when the retrieval process
is relatively easy, because there are multiple paths to retrieving
the correct information and several ways to eliminate alternative answers to the retrieval question (e.g., recognition task). In
discussing the role of rhymes in retrieval, Bower and Bolton
(1969) stated that it is primarily to "reduce an ostensible recall
task almost to a recognition task" (p. 454).
Specifically, it is proposed here that retrieval of slogans is
facilitated by using jingles in the advertising, in comparison
with presenting the slogan without music, but this improvement is moderated by the nature of the retrieval process. When
individuals have few cues to aid the retrieval process, retrieval
should be better when the slogan has been presented in the
form of a jingle. However, when individuals are provided with
sufficient cues to stimulate retrieval of the verbal advertising
information, music should have little or no effect on retrieval.
This proposition is formally stated as the following hypothesis
regarding the interaction between the use of a jingle and the
type of memory task.
Hypothesis I: There will be a greater increase in the number
of correct associations of brand names with their slogans for
advertising using jingles than for advertising not using jingles
when the memory task is aided recall compared with when the
memory task involves recognition.
The rationale for this prediction is that music aids retrieval by
providing an alternative cue to retrieve the slogan-brand association, but this alternative cue is of less value when subjects are
provided with other cues, as occurs in recognition memory
tests.
Experiment 1

jingles are better remembered than those presented without a musical


jingle. Furthermore, the experiment was designed to test the prediction that the effectiveness of using a musical jingle would depend on
the type of test used to assess memory for the advertising slogan. The
memory tests were selected to vary the amount of prior information
provided to the subjects to test predictions about how jingle advertising is processed and not predictions about specific tests. The terms
recognition and aided recall are used to be consistent with the most
frequent uses of these terms in marketing research. Recognition refers
to written tests in which the subjects are provided with both the sponsor's name and a set of possible advertising slogans and their task is to
recognize the correct match. Some researchers prefer to use the term
recognition only when subjects are reexposed to the original stimulus
(i.e., listen to the advertisement) and then indicate whether it was identical lo the one previously heard. This eliminates the need to make a
translation from hearing the jingle or slogan to reading it. However, in
advertising, consumers typically are responding to in-store reminders
of the advertising rather than the original advertising and thus will have
to make a translation. Aided recall refers to tests in which the subjects
are presented with only the slogan and asked to retrieve the brand name
from memory. A more accurate label would be cued recall with a list
associate (Humphreys et al, 1989), but this is a rarely used term in
advertising research. (See Singh & Rothschild, 1983, and Singh, Rothschild, & Churchill, 1988, for discussions of the distinctions between
memory tests and their implications for advertising testing.)
Individuals were presented with advertising slogans that had been
frequently used and were asked to recall the sponsor associated with
the slogan. The memory task was varied such that for half the subjects,
the names of possible sponsors were presented along with the slogans
(recognition condition). For the other subjects, the brand names were
not provided (aided recall). All subjects did this for advertising campaigns that had or had not used jingles. Thus, the experiment used a
between-subjects factor (type of memory task) and a within-subjects
factor (advertising slogans presented with music or without music).

Procedure
The subjects were 103 undergraduate students enrolled in business
school classes. The tests were administered at the end of a normal class
session. Randomization to memory tests was achieved by mixing the
tests in the questionnaires before distribution. For the aided recall
task, 52 subjects were presented with a list of 20 slogans and were asked
to write the name of the sponsoring brand next to each slogan. Ten of
the slogans were from advertisements using a jingle format, and 10
were from those not using jingles. Where possible, I jingle and 1 nonjingle advertisement were selected from the same product category
(e.g., automobiles).
In the recognition condition, a list of possible brands was provided
along with the slogans. The 51 subjects in this condition merely had to
identify which brand used which slogan. In order to minimize the
effect of guessing, 30 brand names were provided for the 20 slogans.
Competing brands from industries for which there were slogans for a
jingle and a nonjingle advertisement were used to discourage the use of
identification strategies not based on memory, such as determining
that the slogan was for a brand of automobile and then determining
that there was only one automobile brand listed. In addition, the total
amount of time allowed for the task was limited to 6 min. This time
constraint pressured the respondents into choosing on the basis of
immediate retrieval; those in the recognition group did not have time
to eliminate choices and make educated guesses.

Design

Results

The first experiment was conducted to verify the observation that


advertising slogans presented to consumers in the form of musical

A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on the data to determine the effects of the two indepen-

271

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MUSIC AS A MNEMONIC DEVICE

dent factors (type of ad was a within-subjects factor, and type of


memory test was a between-subjects factor) on the dependent
measure (the number of correct responses to the 10 brand-slogan association questions). One result was a significant effect of
the type of memory test, F(l, 99) = 33.9, p < .001; memory was
higher when recognition was used compared to aided recall
(Ms = 7.56 and 5.66). More important, there was a significant
interaction between the type of memory test and the use of a
jingle, F(l, 99) = 13.2, p < .001. A comparison of the groups
revealed that when the memory task involved aided recall, the
association of brand names and slogans were significantly better remembered for the jingle than the nonjingle ads (Ms =6.12
and 5.19), J(50) = 3.2, p < .005. However, when the memory
task involved recognition, the brand-slogan associations were
not better remembered when presented in a jingle than when
not presented in a jingle (Ms = 7.35 and 7.76; t < 1).
Discussion
The results revealed consistently greater recall of the brand
names associated with advertising slogans when they had been
presented in the form of a musical jingle compared to when
they were merely spoken. However, this enhancement was beneficial only when subjects responded to the aided recall test,
which provided minimal cues for retrieval of this information.
These effects can be attributed to music's value as a mnemonic
aid in creating an elaborate network of associations that facilitates subsequent retrieval. When this network includes information not otherwise available (subjects were responding to the
slogans without the sponsor's brand), this effect of this enhancement was evident. However, when other information was available (slogans were provided in a matching test), the musical
information did not improve memory accuracy.
An explanation for the lack of a jingle effect for the recognition task is that presenting the relatively simple verbal information in a jingle facilitates recall primarily when subjects have
difficulty generating retrieval cues. However, as more cues become available, the jingle is less useful because it involves processes that are different from those involved in retrieving verbal
information. For example, presenting a slogan in a jingle may
emphasize the phonetic aspect of the verbal information more
than the semantic aspect, and this is not helpful when subjects
are using semantic associations made possible by reexposure to
the slogan.
These findings suggest that the usefulness of presenting verbal information in the form of a musical jingle is the mnemonic
value of the jingle. However, the usefulness of a mnemonic
diminishes as the verbal information becomes more elaborate.
One method for increasing the elaborateness of one's memory is
to provide for repeated exposures to the information (Cacioppo
& Petty, 1979). If a musical jingle serves a mnemonic role, one
should observe a significant difference in retrieval after one
exposure to the advertisement. However, as the number of exposures increases, subjects should have other methods for creating more elaborate memories, reducing the usefulness of the
mnemonic role of the jingle. A second experiment was designed to manipulate this factor to observe how the learning of
advertising slogans presented with or without a jingle changes
with repeated exposure to the advertising.

In addition to aiding retrieval, mnemonics accelerate the


learning process to the extent that the mnemonics are available
during the initial learning period and are easily associated with
the target information. Consequently, it generally takes fewer
trials to learn information when individuals use mnemonics
than when they do not (Bellezza, 1981). If a musical jingle operates as a mnemonic, the learning of slogans presented with and
without music should be different. That is, when there are few
exposures, individuals should evidence higher retrieval of information when jingles are used compared to when no jingles are
used. However, when the number of exposures increases and
compensates for the easier learning that occurs with a jingle
compared to a nonjingle, retrieval differences should decrease.

Experiment 2
A second experiment was conducted to test the mnemonic
explanation for the results of the first experiment. If a jingle
enhances memory by acting as a mnemonic, then this effect
should be reduced when a method for stimulating elaboration,
repetition, is used. Because memory for an advertisement is
frequently very low after one exposure, advertisers often repeat
the message to build a sufficiently elaborate memory to facilitate retrieval. The effects of elaboration provided by repetition
should be similar to the effects provided by the additional information included in a recognition memory task. Thus, as was
true with the use of a recognition task, compared to an aided
recall task, the benefits of repetition should be greater for advertising that initially lacks retrieval cues (slogan presented without a jingle) than for advertising that has a retrieval cue (slogan
presented with a jingle). In other words, there should be a significant two-way interaction between the number of exposures and
the type of advertising.
A significant three-way interaction is also expected reflecting
the diminished value of providing redundant memory aids.
That is, the incremental improvement in memory for advertising provided by the use of a jingle in comparison with a nonjingle, by the use of a recognition task in comparison with an
aided recall task, and by increasing the number of exposures to
two versus one should diminish as more of these aids are employed. The respective two hypotheses of interest are provided
below:
Hypothesis 2. The number of correct associations of brand
names with their advertising slogans is greater for advertising
using a jingle than for advertising not using a jingle when subjects are exposed only once to the advertisement compared with
when subjects are exposed twice to the advertisement.
Hypothesis 3. There will be a significant three-way interaction effect between the use of a jingle, the type of memory task,
and the number of exposures to the advertising on the number
of correct associations of brand names with thier advertising
slogans. When subjects are responding to an aided recall task,
the incremental increase in the number of correct associations
as the number of exposures increases from once to twice is
greater for nonjingle ads than for jingle ads. When subjects are
responding to the recognition task, the incremental increase is
not greater.
Experiment 2 was also designed to resolve a limitation of the
first experiment. In Experiment 1, subjects responded to ques-

272

RICHARD F. YALCH

tions about their memory for ongoing ad campaigns. Although


this demonstrates that the effects of jingles occur when individuals are naturally exposed to advertising, it is likely that subjects
had different levels of exposure to the advertising and that some
had no exposure to some advertisements. With randomization
of subjects to memory tasks, it is unlikely that exposure differences account for the differences in the scores on the two memory tests (a between-subjects factor in the experiment) or the
interaction of exposure with the use or nonuse of a jingle. However, exposure variations might account for the differences between the jingle and nonjingle ads. The likelihood of this was
reduced by using 20 slogans, but to gain better control each

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subject in Experiment 2 was exposed to each advertisement


before being tested for retrieval of the brand-slogan association.

Overview
Experiment 2 used a 2 X 2 X 2 design with two within-subjects
factors and one between-subjects factor. The two within-subjects factors were use of a jingle (jingle vs. no jingle) and number of exposures
(one vs. two). The type of memory test (aided recall vs. recognition) was
a between-subjects factor.

Procedure
Undergraduates at two universities were recruited for an experiment
evaluating radio advertising. In small groups, they were exposed to one
of two audiotapes consisting of the soundtrack from 12 television commercials, all of which had a slogan or tag line that was associated with
the brand name of the sponsor. For example, an advertisement for
Plymouth used the jingle "The Pride Is Back," whereas an advertisement for Audi used the tag line "The Art of Engineering." Each tape
contained four ads that used music in the form of a jingle and four ads
that did not use music. To minimize the effect of prior exposures,
advertising was selected from campaigns that had equivalent budgets.
The average was $22.4 million for the nonjingle ads and $20.8 million
for the jingle ads (Leading National Advertisers, 1986).
The number of exposures to each ad was varied by repeating two of
the ads with jingles and two of the ads without jingles on each tape. The
order of presentation was scrambled to mix the ads such that they
alternated between different sponsors and different types to balance
the primacy and recency effects for the jingle and nonjingle advertisements. The design was also balanced such that the ads heard once by
half of the subjects were heard twice by the other half and vice versa.
Thus, all subjects heard both jingle and nonjingle ads with half of the
ads being played once and half played twice. To illustrate the format,
the order of one tape was jingle,, nonjingle,, jingle3, jingle,, nonjingle2, jingle,, nonjingle3, nonjingle,, jingle4, nonjingle4, jingle,, and
nonjingle3. The other tape was similar but played jingle,, jingle3, nonjingle,, and nonjingle 3 only once and jingle2, jingle4, nonjingle 2 , and
nonjingle^ twice.
In addition to presenting ads that did or did not use music and
varying the number of exposures to each ad, the memory task was
varied between subjects. Half of the subjects responded to an aided
recall task in which they were presented with 10 slogans and were asked
to provide brands using these slogans. Two slogans were for brands not
included on the tape to test for group differences in advertising knowledge. There were no differences. The other group responded to a recognition task (multiple-choice test) in which each slogan was presented
along with five possible sponsoring brands.
The number of correct responses to the two advertisements that were
similar (e.g., jingle advertisements heard once, jingle advertisements

heard twice, nonjingle advertisements heard once, and nonjingle advertisements heard twice) was the dependent measure of retrieval. Although the experimental design is efficient in minimizing the number
of groups, it creates problems in the analysis when using the number of
correct responses as the dependent measure and the type of ad (jingle
or no jingle), number of exposures (one or two), and type of memory
task (aided recall or recognition) as the independent variables. The
problem is that the specific advertisements heard once by the first
group differed from those heard once by the second group. (These
advertisements were heard twice by the second group.) The same is
true for the advertisements heard twice by the first group (heard once
by the second group). Therefore, the responses are analyzed on the
basis of how often they were heard by a group rather than by combining the responses to specific advertisements. This does not affect the
interpretation of the results, because there were no group differences
on the overall number of correct associations.

Results
The results are presented in Table 1. A repeated measures
ANOVA was conducted on the data using jingle versus no jingle
and one versus two exposures as within-subjects factors and
type of memory test as a between-subjects factor. The results
include significant main effects for type of memory task, F[l,
122) = 22.9, p< .001; use of a jingle, F(l, 122) = 46.4, p < .001;
and number of exposures, F(l, 122) = 25.6, p < .001. These
indicate that memory is better when a recognition test is used,
compared with aided recall, when a slogan is presented with
music, compared with no music, and when subjects hear the
advertisement twice, compared with once. However, these
main effects are qualified by several significant interactions.
The jingle effect is qualified by the significant Memory Task X
Jingle interaction, F(\, 122) = 16.4, p< .001. The use of a jingle
enhanced memory in the aided recall task (Ms = 2.77 for no
jingle and 3.57 for jingle), f(59) = 6.4, p < .001, more than in the
recognition condition (Ms = 3.60 for the no jingle and 3.80 for
the jingle), /(63) = 2.5, p < .05. Similarly, there was a significant
interaction with the number of exposures, F(i, 122) = 6.1, p<
.05. The use of a jingle increased memory accuracy relative to
not using a jingle more after only one exposure (Ms = 1.44 for no
jingle and 1.78 for jingle), ((123) = 5.6, p < .001, than after two
exposures (A/s = 1.75 for no jingle and 1.90 for jingle), t(l 23) =
3.1,p<.05.
A significant three-way interaction indicates that the twoway interaction effects are further qualified, F(l, 122) = 5.1, p <
.05. The significant interaction between the use of a jingle and

Table 1
Number of Correct Associations by Type of Advertisement, Type
of Memory Test, and Number of Exposures in Experiment 2
Recognition (n = 64)
One
exposure

Two
exposures

Aided recall ( = 60)


One
exposure

Two
exposures

Type of
advertisement

SD

SD

SD

SD

Jingle
Nojingle

1.83
1.72

0.46
0.55

1.97
1.88

0.18
0.42

1.73
1.15

0.48
0.66

1.83
1.62

0.38
0.64

MUSIC AS A MNEMONIC DEVICE

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the number of exposures occurred only when the memory test


involved aided recall, F(l, 59) = 7.2, p < .05). When the memory test involved recognition, the interaction was not significant, F(l, 63) = 0.04 (see Figure 1).
Experiment 2 tested the use of three different procedures for
improving slogan-brand association memory (using a jingle,
using a memory test with more cues for retrieval, and providing
a second exposure to the message), and the incremental effects
of using one or more procedures were analyzed. There was a
substantial improvement in the retrieval scores when going
from the baseline condition (represented by the aided recall test
after one exposure to advertisements not using a jingle, mean

Recall Test

&

o.fl

Jingle
No Jingle

One

Two

273

correct associations = 57.8%) to the single improvement conditions (use a musical jingle, M = 87.3%; use a recognition test,
M = 86.0%; or provide a second exposure to the advertisement,
M = 81.0%). The average amount of accurate retrieval for these
three conditions of 84.8% represents a substantial improvement. However, although there is improvement when two of the
three methods are combined, there are also diminishing returns. The improvements over the equivalent conditions when
only one method was used were modest: for the aided recall test
after a musical jingle was presented twice, the mean was 91.5%;
for the recognition test after a musical jingle was presented
once, the mean was 91.5%; and for the recognition test after a
nonjingle ad was presented twice, the mean was 94.0%. Overall,
the average number of correct slogan-brand associations increased to only 92.4% for the dual enhancement conditions,
compared with 84.8% for the single enhancement conditions.
The additional increase when all three enhancements were
used together (recognition test of a jingle advertisement after
two exposures) ranged from 92.4% to 98.5%. These small improvements may reflect a ceiling effect for many of the ads. To
evaluate whether a ceiling effect might have affected other comparisons, the eight advertisements studied in Experiment 2
were analyzed individually across four conditions (aided recall
with one exposure, aided recall with two exposures, recognition
with one exposure, and recognition with two exposures). The
range of correct responses across the 32 cells was from 28% to
100%. The three cells at the 100% level were for advertisements
using jingles that were heard twice and the individuals responded to a recognition test. Thus, although a ceiling effect
clearly was present when all three enhancements were used
simultaneously, it does not appear to be a problem for any other
condition.

Number of Exposures

General Discussion

Recognition Test

Jingle
No Jingle

Number of Exposures

Figure 1. Number of correct associations of brand names and advertising slogans by use of jingle and number of exposures using aided recall
and recognition tests.

The results of the two experiments support several widely


held but previously untested beliefs about music in advertising.
Music enhanced memory for advertising slogans when the slogans were incorporated into an advertisement in the form of a
jingle or song. That is, memory for the correct brand-slogan
association was higher for 14 advertisements studied (10 in Experiment 1 and 4 in Experiment 2) that used jingles in comparison with the 14 that did not. Thus, although there may be circumstances when music may detract from the processing of
message content (e.g., the use of background music in Park &
Young, 1986, and Wheatley & Brooker, 1988), slogan information presented with music appears easier to retrieve than similar information presented without music. This is supportive of
Wells, Burnett, and Moriarty (1989), who stated that "fingersnapping, toe-tapping songs have tremendous power because
they are so memorable. Jingles are good for product identification and reminder messages, but they do not effectively convey
complex thoughts and copy points" (p. 201).
It should be noted that these enhancements are limited and
virtually disappear when individuals are provided with sufficient cues to aid in retrieval of the brand-slogan association or
when they develop relatively good memories for the association. The former was illustrated by the equivalent levels of retrieval of slogan-brand associations when subjects were re-

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274

RICHARD F. YALCH

spending to recognition tests. The latter condition was demonstrated by the lack of a difference after the number of exposures
to the advertisement was increased. This could also occur if the
brand-slogan association is particularly easy to learn.
Using several examples of jingle and nonjingle advertising
was useful in demonstrating that not all jingle ads resulted in
better memory than nonjingle ads. Many other factors that
make up an advertisement influence individuals' ability to
learn and remember the information presented in the advertising. Also, although this aspect was not tested in this research,
advertisers should be aware that there are substantial individual
differences in abilities to process musically related information
(Bottari & Evans, 1982; Reineke, 1981).
It is interesting to consider the results of the research reported here in terms of the uses of music in advertising and
methods used to evaluate advertising effectiveness. The finding
that jingles are most useful when individuals are presented with
few cues to aid retrieval or have minimal exposures to the advertising is noteworthy because it runs counter to many long-held
beliefs in advertising and consumer research. For example, music is frequently recommended for high-exposure advertising
campaigns, whereas the present finding implies that it is more
useful in low-exposure campaigns. This recommendation is
based on the results of the second experiment, in which music's
ability to facilitate the learning of brand-slogan associations
was less evident as the number of exposures increased.
However, it would be improper to conclude that music
should be avoided in high-exposure campaigns. Although music might not aid learning and remembering of the brand-slogan association under such circumstances, it might have other
worthwhile effects. For example, one of the problems faced in
high-frequency advertising is wearout. This refers to the loss of
memory for advertising information with continued exposure
to an advertisement (Calder & Sternthal, 1980). This wearout
effect is attributed to a loss of attention to the message because
it provides no new information (Bruner, 1985) or is otherwise
unrewarding to the audience. Enjoyable music might forestall
the wearout effect and thus be desirable to the advertiser.
The results of the two experiments reported in this article are
also relevant to the issue of selecting a procedure to evaluate
advertising effectiveness. In copy testing, two different types of
messages may be evaluated by exposing individuals to one of
the messages and then administering a test for the individuals'
memory for the information presented in the advertisement. In
the present study, advertisements using jingles would appear to
test better relative to advertisements not using jingles when
unaided or minimally aided recall tests are used, compared
with recognition or highly aided recall. That is, much of the
memory enhancement that might occur when a jingle is used
would not be observed when individuals are responding to a
recognition test. This would result in the false conclusion that
the jingle is ineffective. This would be particularly important in
situations in which consumers would be expected to make product choices when they have few retrieval cues.
In a much-cited article, Krugman (1977) recommended that
advertisers vary their evaluation methods with their choice of
advertising media to convey the advertisement. On the basis of
research identifying processing differences in response to information presented in print or television, he suggested that recog-

nition measures were appropriate to evaluate television advertising and recall measures were appropriate to evaluate print.
Given some evidence that music involves different processes
than other information, it also appears desirable to consider
which test procedures to use when music is used in advertising.
For example, using a recognition test would understate some of
the improvement in the audience's ability to retrieve advertising
information attributable to the use of music.
There are many other aspects of music that deserve research.
For example, the present research demonstrated that a jingle
aided retrieval of an advertising slogan by acting as a mnemonic, aiding retrieval of this information from the audience's
memory. However, this mnemonic function may be undermined when similar music is used by different advertisers, resulting in interference in the retrieval process. Also, future research is needed to investigate the relationship between the
verbal information and the thoughts associated with the music
used in a jingle. One controversial advertising practice is to use
popular songs but with altered lyrics to communicate an advertising slogan. If the audience is thinking about the original lyrics, it is unlikely that the advertising slogan will be learned
during exposure to the advertisement. In the absence of these
problems and the limitations reported here, a jingle does appear to be an effective way to communicate an advertising
slogan.
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Received March 20,1989


Revision received September 17,1990
Accepted September 21,1990