I have a vague recollection that there's a specific term for the way a company name is set to music in an advertising jingle. The only examples I can find right now are at the end of this Youtube video or this one.

Wikipedia mentions "sound logo," but that's not quite right, that refers to the distinctive music, or tune, e.g. the 5-note McDonald's "I'm loving it!" sound.

  • 3
    After my first listen to both advertisements, the only word that springs to mind is cheesy.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 23:46

7 Answers 7


The word you might be looking for is "earicon" (also sometimes known as an "earcon"), or the slightly less jargonic "audio icon".

You'd be hard-pressed to find this term documented in dictionaries or even online because it's mostly used as jargon within the advertising and audio/video production industries. Due to confidentiality agreements, I can't provide written materials to back this up, but I've worked in the audio branding business for eight years and every producer and designer I've met knows what an earicon is.

More formally speaking, there is a legal definition of a "service mark", which in the case of certain companies can consist of a unique sound and the spoken name of the company. This is used by many telephone service providers and other media-centric companies. Think of the "AT&T tone", which is followed by a female voice speaking the name of the company.

Finally, the broadest term that encompasses all representations of a company in media is "corporate identity."


After talking with a few colleagues and checking various sources, here are some more candidates:

  • auditory sign-off
  • donut (a kind of ad that has music and pre-recorded audio at the beginning and end)
  • jingle (originally referred to the musical logo of a company or brand)
  • bed (the music over which the company name/brand is read)
  • talk over (the spoken words played over the "bed")
  • sonic branding
  • sonic logo
  • brand song
  • I like that list in your edit! I wanted to ask about jingle, though. Can jingle be applied to these short "earicons"? Or is a jingle more like the stanza of a song (a la "Plop plop fizz fizz / Oh, what a relief it is!"). Or, is jingle a generic term that can apply to either one?
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 15:38
  • Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, @J.R.! In modern marketing, a jingle is the musical portion of a media advertisement that typically consists of the company and/or product name sung over a melody. The word can refer to the melody itself or the arrangement including lyrics. More broadly, the same word can also be used to describe any media advertisement, but this last usage is more common outside of the actual industry. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 16:01
  • "Earicon"? *sigh* Sometimes it's embarrassing to be part of a living language. ;-)
    – L2G
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 18:11

I think you might be referring to a "sound trademark".

  • 2
    It's interesting how the Wikipedia articles for sound trademark and sound logo both reference some of the same examples (the NBC and Intel chimes, e.g., and the 20th Century Fox fanfare). Maybe a sound trademark is a tradmarked sound logo? But neither term seems to be precisely what the O.P. is asking about, which is a specialized sound logo where the company name is sung verbatim. (Incidentally, I'm not trying to discredit this answer – which was interesting, and I've upvoted it for good measure – I'm just not convinced the problem is solved yet.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 23:43

A brand's audio identity is the characteristic sound of the brand. Jingles and sound logos are types of audio identity.


I'm not sure that there is a better answer than sound trademark or sound logo, but I would like to suggest motif and (from Wikipedia for sound branding) sonic mnemonic.


: a usually recurring salient thematic element (as in the arts); especially : a dominant idea or central theme

  • 1
    Not a bad suggestion; Wagner had a his Leitmotifs for each of his characters, and so did John Williams in Star Wars. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 17:06
  • 1
    sonic mnemonic is my new favorite phrase Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 14:43

Some googling leads me to the phrase "Logo Line", although that comes from this page which seems to be mainly concerned with radio station idents.



It maybe "Advertising Slogan"? or maybe tagline or strap line?


I'd suggest "theme," following the traditional musical definition ("The principal melodic phrase in a composition, especially a melody forming the basis of a set of variations" --American Heritage Dictionary).

Update: I have noticed Indaba Music using the term "mnemonic sound."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.