Here is an example of some jingles played on the radio in the 1950's; Soundcloud has a pretty large selection. Most jingles were composed by professional jingle writers, but contests funded by advertisers were big in the 1950's and 1960's and some of those contests were to elicit jingles from the public. I don't know when my uncle decided to try this out but by the number of duplicate household items in their house, I imagine it had been more than something to wile away his years of retirement. It also appears he was pretty good at this. Some people took this to another level and Evelyn Ryan was able to help support her family through her jingle writing/composing; there was even a book and a movie made about her, so it was really a thing back then.A jingle is a short song or tune used in advertising and for other commercial uses. The jingle contains one or more hooks and meaning that explicitly promote the product or service being advertised, usually through the use of one or more advertising slogans. Ad buyers use jingles in radio and television commercials; they can also be used in non-advertising contexts to establish or maintain a brand image.
Yannig Roth's blog has an excellent post about this phenomenon, and he makes the point that using contests to get jingles and recipes from ordinary people was a very early form of what we now call crowdsourcing. (I know, how meta to have a link to Wikipedia's definition of crowdsourcing) Today, crowdsourcing efforts are enabled and amplified by the connectivity of the internet. But I see that there is more to crowdsourcing that Amazon's Mechanical Turks, which focus primarily on distributing microtasks to anyone with an internet connection; this can be a bit of translation or image recognition and this is an example of an act of co-creation, albeit not usually an act where one received recognition for the addition of intellectual property.
At its best co-creation enables and engages the imaginative and innovative energy of its participants. Examples are:
- Github where those who create in code can collaborate. The community includes companies who use the platform to securely host and manage their code, open source communities such as The Apache Software Foundation, and I also have my own bits and bobs of code.
- Thingiverse where those who create shapes for 3D printers can share their ideas; many shapes can be downloaded and edited by anyone and then shared again.
- Lego Ideas where fans can submit their ideas for Lego© sets to be voted on by other Lego fans- and 10,000 "thumbs-up" guarantees that your idea will be reviewed by Lego designers. There are also subject-specific contests where the top 25 votegetters will be assessed by judges and the winner will receive "The opportunity to have your model adapted into an exclusive LEGO Gift with Purchase set".
- GE’s FirstBuild micro factory, "a kind of crowdsourcing makerspace for people to collaborate with GE to design appliances" (Makezine).
The last two items in the list above demonstrate how a commercial entity (as big as GE) works to reduce the cost of developing new products by allowing "super users" (and "super fans" in the case of Lego) to provide ideas and feedback before sending a product out for retail "on spec".
So it's a long road from my Uncle Charlie's jingles providing my Aunt Evangeline with far more toasters that could fit into her kitchen to GE and other companies (DeWalt & Price Chopper) providing a platform for customers to go from consumer to co-creator. But the constant is to increase a sense of buy-in to the product or service by engaging people's creativity.
Anyone else out there have an experience with co-creating? Jingle-writing??