You probably didn't see this fight coming on a Monday morning and for that I apologize. Not trying to blindside anyone heading into an objectively below-average week. But at the same time there's certain conversations that need to be had around this blog and a head-to-head Chicago Carpet Jingle matchup is one of those conversations
This is normal behavior.
It started in my brain the other day when Social Media guy Intern Danny posted this preposterous video of an IG couple dancing to the Empire Carpet song.
Technically a remix but nevertheless an impressive display of synchronized rhythm. Personally I find the bedroom walls to be a little bland but that's a different blog. For now it's important to recognize that such classics like the Empire Carpet commercial just don't get the playing time that they used to. Part of that's because we're cutting cable and more capable of intentionally avoiding commercial breaks. But another reason is that the housing market has adjusted and annual carpet installations continue to plummet year over year. Sure that means a shot of life to the Flooring side of business, but this is Chicago. Our identity is very much woven into the literal fabric of local carpet companies.
And notice I said "companies" here because there's multiple. Not jut Empire rolling the rug. There's plenty of heavy hitters that can day do same or next day. Plenty of attractive financing and delivery options to compare and contrast should you be in the unique position of Not Having A Guy. End of the day you can find a deal. As Ben Franklin once famously said, the Chicago carpet scene is a real six to one half dozen to the other.
To me, the cream of carpet separates at the jingle and the ability to brainwash consumers into instinctively recalling a 10-digit phone number with a corresponding multi-pitched harmony on demand. Even if it's been years since you actively verbalized the jingle. That tune is permanently waiting on deck in your brain ready to hit the exact moment someone mentions carpet without irony.
To me that's a good carpet company and to Chicago, we have two powerhouse jingles: Empire & Luna.
I feel like we're talking Red Sox vs. Yankees in the early 2000's. Both are clearly at the top of the American League, just one comes in with more history and tradition. That's Empire. They're the Yankees and I'm willing to listen to arguments that Empire's jingle is just so good and dominant that you can't even talk about Luna. That's the 27 championships effect.
But then I remind you that the Yankees won 20 of their championships before Kennedy was assassinated. They're definitely a power but a lot of the glamor comes from a time long gone. A lot of the Empire lore from the early 90's got phased out over time because it wasn't just the premier player going into Y2K. Other challengers started to emerge. So don't hang your hat so comfortably on the fact that Empire is the only player on the block. There's competition and I want to break it down.
For Empire, you love the clean finish in the song. It reinforces the company name. The closing Empiiiiire is strong and sweet. Feels almost like that THX sound screen before a movie starts but obviously not as powerful.
Empire harmonizes on the same spectrum, and gets there without having to really rely on the 800 too hard. They sneak it in there so well that it reminds me of a compact baseball swing. The power is from the fact that it's shorter and sweeter to the ball. Empire does the same thing with the jingle.
Locally though, I don't love the fact that it's an 800 number and not a 312 or a 773. To me that's losing points on substance & form. So while Empire gains on the brevity, they lose on isolating the Chicago population with an 800. My gut says they went 800 to keep the jingle consistent. Nearly impossible to make it sound good with any other area code pre-fix.
2300? Very strong and you have to assume it's somehow related to Michael Jordan. Maybe it's not. But deep in my plums I want there to be a backstory where the Empire Carpet Guy pulled a subliminal MJ rebrand in the 80's to boost sales. After all we're talking jingles here. The whole premise is to infiltrate the consumers' collective subconscious and you really can't pick a better way in late 20th century Chicago than using Michael Jordan.
Overall I think there's two scores. Eyes Closed and Eyes Open. If you're Open then you know see the animation and I think your brain goes to a different gear. Eyes Open it's a 9.3 jingle.
Eyes Closed and we drop down to an even 9.0. The connectivity to the cartoon Empire Guy is just too much. You can't really have on without the other. In that case it's a dependent jingle.
In the other corner is Luna. We don't have the sex or sizzle of Empire or nearly the history. But what we lack on Empire, we make up with heavy local influence.
The fact it starts 7-7-3 might be the most redeeming attribute in the entire analysis. That's how you win over the local crowd and make us feel important. We want to be calling one of our own, even if it's the same with Empire. Just showing the 7-7-3 is a strong move.
Pacing to me is actually better. I like how it's slower. Makes me feel like it's easier to remember even if they're the exact same. In the moment it certainly FEELS better and that's what I'm looking for here.
Sound effects are more direct than Empire with the telephone touch tone leading into the LUNAAAAAA. That's a nice subtle reminder for you to pick up the telephone and book a free in-home consultation. To that end, I like the fact they include a word in the number like L-U-N-A where Empire just gives you digits. Anyone who has ever seriously studied for a test knows that mnemonics are a powerful tool to train your brain. Advantage Luna.
I also like a 2-0-2 more than 5-8-8. Not by a lot but definitely worth mentioning.
After all this, I think technically you lean Luna which is why Eyes Closed they get a 9.2. That's a fact with Luna. It's a better jingle for a lot of the reasons you write a jingle.
But you can't take a jingle at face value without considering the commercial and to me it's just so hard to beat the Empire 9.3. The animated carpet roll is such a power close visual that you can't ignore it when talking jingle. Luna has nothing to compete with the carpet roll and unfortunately in such heated contests it often comes down to the details and I just don't see Luna having any business competing on the Eyes Open category. Strong jingle but still missing the total package.
Official Score: Valiant effort from Luna, but Empire wins by a nose. Certainly not the blowout all you experts predicted:
PS - It has come to my attention that both companies are now owned by the same people. By definition this constitutes a jingle monopoly and that's awesome.