NOTE: If you need context, here’s the Jardiance jingle. We apologize in advance.
“I have type 2 diabetes, but I manage it well”
Okay, we set the stage. This but that. Regret, uncertainty, loss. I’m drawn in. I want to know more about this person taking stock of her life. (Let’s call her Joanne.) But the opening words teeter awkwardly off the leading edge of the melody line, and improper stress is placed on the first syllable of “type 2.” No one says TYPE two. Unforgivable.
“It’s a little pill with a big story to tell”
I’m sorry, to what does the “it’s” refer? The preceding line has two possible subjects: our Joanne and type 2 diabetes itself. Neither is a little pill. Also, a pill might “tell a story”: the hopes and dreams of its inventor, the inevitable conflict of crass commercialism vs. staying true to one’s self. But a pill doesn’t have a story to tell; the listener envisions a crudely drawn time-release medication perched on a barstool, regaling (or is it haranguing?) the nearby patrons with its tale of triumph and woe.
“I take once-daily Jardiance at each day’s start”
Redundancy is anathema, more so when limited to a fifty-four-word jingle. Also, is this the “big story” we were just promised? Or has our diminutive pharmaceutical ceded the floor to Joanne and the tedious details of her morning ablutions?
“As time went on, it was easy to see”
We mark time’s passing, its vast indignities and small recompenses. Still not sure this is the pill’s story. It’s Joanne’s, still, seemingly. Also, the first clause establishes an indeterminate period, and the second clause a moment. Better to say that as time went on, it BECAME easy to see whatever was in the process of revealing its true nature to Joanne.
“I’m lowering my A1c”
We’re thrust, incorrectly, into present tense. Rather, it WAS “easy to see” that my adherence to the daily ritual WAS resulting in a reduced measure of glycated hemoglobin. Also, I’m the last one to quibble, but “easy to see/A1c” is not a perfect rhyme, which the ear anticipates and in which it delights, but an indolent and tired identical rhyme.
“Jardiance is really swell”
Is Jardiance effective? Certainly. Therapeutically indicated? Under defined circumstances. “Really swell”? Oomph.
Also, let’s think about voice. Why does our pensive, distant Joanne, pushing intimacy away with such stiff and formal constructions as “at each day’s start” and “as time went on,” suddenly burst into the Guys and Dolls vernacular of “really swell”? The emotional arc reads as false, or at least unearned.
“The little pill with a big story to tell”
Only fifty-four words, and yet we repeat verbatim an entire line, and not with the fresh irony of new meaning derived from what Joanne has learned about the world—about herself—over the course of the preceding verses. Simple, and simple-minded redundancy. Also, unless I’m mistaken, throughout the English-speaking world, it’s pronounced story, not stor-EEE.
Now, with the foregoing précis as a guide, here’s what I just whipped up for a revised opening verse:
“The math is simple, I’m no Archimedes
A type A gal with type 2 diabetes
One little pill
Well, that’s my fill
So says the good Dr. Rosen
Each time he rips
An illegible scrip
Of once-daily empagliflozin”
Empagliflozin is the scientific name for Jardiance. Self-consciously clever, perhaps, but that’s our Joanne. I suppose the audience may be lost if we haven’t already introduced the chemical name earlier in Act I. Tell you what, let me run it past Hal.