Jingle Function in Contemporary Commercial Advertisement

Virtual Society for American Music Conference 18 July 2020

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A functional, multimedia approach to commercial jingles must account for many intersecting parameters. Roland Barthes provides a useful perspective for such analysis in “Rhetoric of the Image” (1964)—a complementary relationship between text and image, what Barthes deems “relay,” makes film uniquely capable of “setting out, in the sequence of messages, meanings that are not to be found in the image itself.” I draw on the work of Barthes, David Huron, and Elizabeth Margulis in order to explore jingle function in three recent Farmers Insurance commercials. My analytical framework has far-reaching implications for the study of music and visual media.