These jingles shared the top spot in a study of 1000 consumers in the US and UK by recently 3.5M funded audio analytics company Veritonic.
Coincidence? Definitely Not.
Before we begin, here are some quick explanations of common musical characteristics:
"Singable" Range (Regardless Of Vocal Ability, Almost Everyone Can Sing These)
This is the vocal range of "The Star Spangled Banner" - an octave and a fifth, or a mind boggling 19 piano keys.
"Question & Answer" Phrasing (Antecedent & Consequent Phrasing)
This technique breaks a line into 2 parts - a question and an answer. The question "begins" the musical phrase, creating expectation, and the answer "ends" it, fulfilling the expectation.
The strength of this phrasing format is in eliciting a pleasure response when a conditioned expectation is satisfied by the successful completion of the 2-part phrase.
Minimal Melodic Complexity (But Not Too Little!)
This loosely refers to the number of different pitches and rhythmic concepts. More pitches = more complex, more rhythmic concepts = more complex.
Now, Let's get right to the interesting part and examine how they share these qualities.
Singable Range: B - G# (9 piano keys). Happy Birthday is 12 piano keys. (let's be honest, birthday parties sound bad)
Question & Answer Phrasing: As you can see in this notated version of the jingle, there are 2 distinct parts.
"Nationwide is" creates an expectation by using notes that are, in musical parlance, "unstable", and "on your side" fulfills that expectation musically by ending on a stable note of "resolution" (while also providing strong brand messaging).
Minimal Melodic Complexity: There are a grand total of 4 pitches in this jingle and the simplest rhythmic complexity possible (all notes are the same length except the last one).
This is probably about as simple as it should get!
Singable Range: G - E (9 Piano Keys). Same as Nationwide, and their combined range is smaller than the Star Spangled Banner!
Question & Answer Phrasing: As in the Nationwide jingle, the Farmers tune falls into two distinct parts - "question" and "answer".
Both parts are essentially self-contained in that they are quite stable and complete on their own, but the 2nd part is such a delight to sing that hearing "We Are Farmers" triggers a desire to hear the jingle completed.
This jingle contains less of a brand "message" than Nationwide's, but it makes up for that with fun and distinctiveness.
Minimal Melodic Complexity: As in the Nationwide Jingle (again), there are only 4 different pitches - about as simple as it should get! It is slightly more rhythmically complex, but not by much.
In the first phrase, "farmers" is rhythmically different from the other words, but it reflects a natural speaking rhythm, making it easy to learn.
The second phrase has a greater density of notes, but it is just a simple vocalization, eliminating the difficulty of learning words along with the tune.