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BOB MOON: A lot of companies are preoccupied with luring new customers — male or female — these days. The latest being home furnishing chain Pier One Imports. They posted their sixth quarterly loss in a row this week. The chain's chief executive thinks some creative marketing could help. His words:"We've got to change something to get the attention of the consumer."
Hmmm, how about a new marketing service here in California that creates what they call "eNthems"? Reporter Cash Peters went to check it out and face the music.
CASH PETERS: An eNthem, in case you're wondering, is a sort of singing Hallmark card for companies.
eNthem: Show your company's got spirit / Folks will feel it when they hear it / It's your eNthem.
See? They're jingles. Stan Oleynick composes them for use on websites, say, or for when customers are kept on hold for hours and are suicidal. Or I guess you could just salute it. It's multipurpose.
STAN OLEYNICK: Ten years ago, almost every company had a jingle. Now, it's not that common. But we're taking the jingle idea, making it a little bit more unique, where it's a corporate anthem, and put it into the mainstream: websites, you know, music and new technologies.
WEBSITE eNthem: There's parts and automotive / business and computers / entertainment / shopping and news / discover the future, watch lots of videos.
OLEYNICK: It's not a secret that jingles get stuck in our head. I mean, we remember lyrics and the music for years. I mean, you can ask a grandma if she heard, you know, a jingle for a Coca-Cola ad in the 1930s, and she will say "Yes I still remember it," and she will be able to sing the jingle.
Oh yeah? Well, I just happen to have a grandma to hand.
PETERS: Could you please sing me a Coca-Cola jingle from the 1930s?
PETERS: Just sing one verse of it.
GRANDMA: I don't know it.
I rest my case. Anyway, Stan's sold $44,000 worth of eNthems since Februrary. The reason he's doing so well . . . Oh! Here's a good one:
MAN-IN-THE-MOON eNthem: If the man on the moon was up for sale / You know we'd be bidding / And guess who's got a new tattoo . . .
What does that mean?
The reason he's doing so well, though, I think, is: A) because the jingles are so infernally catchy, the only thing that can get one of his tunes out of your head is another one of his tunes.
"DON AND MIKE" eNthem: I love driving home with Don and Mike . . .
I know: another classic. He's also doing well because — and this is B): Because of his singer: Josh Grobin sound-alike Miraslav Chernyetsky. He's extremely gifted, if a little . . . subdued. So, does he have a favorite eNthem?
CHERNYETSKY: Um, no, not really. I don't know.
PETERS: Could you sing any for me now?
CHERNYETSKY: Uh, there's . . . Uh, it's . . .
Really, who has time? But if you're thinking, "Hey, I want them to do an irritating jingle for me, but I couldn't possibly afford it." Well, that's nonsense. Stan charges a miniscule $500 for a custom-built song.
OLEYNICK: We try to make every single anthem as unique as possible, with certain catchy words and phrases, something that will just stick in customers' and clients' heads and will not just go anywhere.
Great, I thought! I'd love to create something that doesn't go anywhere. So for the next hour we sat with Stan's composer guy, Ben Zgoolav — they're all Russians, by the way — and wrote an eNthem for Marketplace.
PETERS: Okay, we want something chipper and upbeat.
OLEYNICK: We will write lyrics in one or two days and you'll be shocked by the quality of the lyrics.
OLEYNICK: If you ever thought about listening to news, we have just the info you can use. Marketplace is the name you need to know, Marketplace is, well, THE show. Marketplace.
PETERS: . . . is, well, THE show?
OLEYNICK: Yes, it's good. "Is, well, THE show."
PETERS: It doesn't scan. Too many syllables.
OLEYNICK: It's OK. He's a genius. He's going to adjust.
PETERS: How many eNthems have you composed?
ZGOOLAV: Oh, I don't remember. Maybe 20 or more. I not count.
PETERS: You did 50 yesterday, I'm told.
ZGOOLAV: Maybe, yeah!
OLEYNICK: Marketplace, tune in to our show. A daily . . .
PETERS: Oooh oooh, got it! Marketplace, a daily half-hour sh-OW. Marketplace, on public radi-OH. Aaaah!
OLEYNICK: Too much.
PETERS: Maybe lyrics aren't your forte.
Incidentally, Stan's hoping to make a million dollars from this. And if you want to chip in with the other $956,000, I'm sure he'd be happy to write an eNthem for you, too.
OLEYNICK: It's just a revolutionary new way to express your company's identity. Not through mission statement, but through mission statement in a song.
Yeah, yeah, I think we've got the idea now. But don't you just want to hear our eNthem? OK, here goes. Two, three . . . Oh, I'm Cash Peters for Marketplace.
Two, three, four . . .
MARKETPLACE eNthem: If you need a dose of business news / We have just the info you can use / Marketplace, a daily half-hour show / Marketplace on public radio / Marketplace on public radio!