Jingles may be out of fashion, but there are people who still believe in the power of a catchy tune. “Advertisers are currently struggling to break through the clutter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see advertising with original music come back in vogue,” says Steve Bowen, director of business development at Merkley Newman Harty in New York and general manager of J. Walter Thompson when Linda Kaplan Thaler worked there.
If Bowen’s right, Kaplan Thaler may be poised to take advantage. The 20-year-old Toys ‘R’ Us jingle, “I don’t wanna grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid,” lives on today (above). Her work for Kodak (below) in the ’80s and ’90s plays like a full-motion photo album: heartfelt scenes of war veterans reuniting, a little boy trying to pull up his pants as he chases a soccer ball and parents’ tearful goodbye to their son. Written by Kaplan Thaler, the music dominates the work. “We would never have done a brand campaign without music because it’s the key to stirring up emotions and memories,” says Gerry Killeen, Kaplan Thaler Group’s director of creative services.
“At Thompson, we had the Linda Kaplan test,” remembers Kaplan Thaler. “If a Kodak spot made me cry, you could count on America crying.” –H.K.