Earworms of the Ages
Perhaps I’m showing my youthful age in this article, but that’s okay. Jingles have been a part of the advertising world since around 1926, when General Mills broadcast its song “Have You Tried Wheaties?” on Christmas Eve. Since then, the world has seen jingles such as the song for McDonalds’ Big Mac, Coca-Cola’s “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke,” and Mentos’ ever-popular “The Freshmaker” (which I remember mostly from Clueless).
Jingles have become a staple for advertising, and people are spending up to $3.8 million for a 30-second commercial to display their latest jingle. Some fall flat on their face, much like “Chicken Tonight” from Ragu (the only thing it has going for it is that people are doing the chicken dance), and others are just plain awful like Sea-Bond’s attempt at humor (be warned… it will make you cringe).
#1 – Kit Kat Bars
Kit Kat did something really special with its candy bar commercials. The company made it about the everyday nine-to-five worker, and what he or she would want during their break. Their commercials featured construction workers, cashiers, office receptionists, and the common man and woman, all wanting to enjoy a short time away from work; and a new catchphrase was born. “Give me a break, give me a break. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat Bar” became a common saying around offices.
#2 – Meow Mix
This jingle was a creative masterpiece because it was the first to introduce a jingle sung entirely by an animal. Sure, it was probably some girl standing in a recording booth doing her best Cats impressions, but to us it was a cute kitten who just couldn’t wait to get her little paws on some Meow Mix. You had better believe people sang that song in their heads for hours after seeing the commercial, which made it a highly effective marketing strategy for the cat food company. Commercial found here.
#3 – Oscar Mayer
If you’re like me, you grew up wishing that Oscar Mayer WeinerMobile would drive down your street passing out hot dogs. Sadly, that never happened (until I became an adult, but that’s a different story for a different blog), but I was able to enjoy the famous Oscar Mayer commercials with that glorious “My bologna has a first name…” jingle. It was all the talk on the playground, and all the kids at the cafeteria lunch table sang the song if their mom or dad packed them a bologna and cheese sandwich, and the whole table would join in song. It was just like a scene from High School Musical…only not really. Song here.
#4 – Toys ‘R Us
It was the battle cry of a generation: “I don’t want to grow up! I’m a Toys ‘R Us kid!” We literally lived for those Saturdays that hardly ever came. Mom and Dad would take us to the toy store, give us five dollars, and cut us loose. We’d test drive every bike through the aisles, even though we knew we weren’t going to get one, and we’d play with the balls in the big wire contraption that kept them all in. The store’s jingle was pure genius. It made us believe that, with the help of a Furby, we’d never grow up. '90s flashback here.
#5 – Chili’s
You know after that bass vocalist sang “barbeque sauce” you immediately wanted to head over to Chili’s for a slab of baby back ribs. It’s effective advertising. This catchy song (which closely resembles The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”) got stuck in the heads of millions. It was even named one of Ad Age Magazine's “10 Songs Most Likely To Get Stuck In Your Head.” Earworm link here.
#6 – Fanta
“Wanta Fanta? Don’t you wanta Fanta?” After seeing these flashy, colorful commercials? Yes. Yes I do wanta Fanta. The “Fantanas” took the country by storm with their adventures bringing Fanta to those who needed it most around the world. The commercials made you want to jump right up and grab one. Also, they use a form of subliminal messaging in these commercials. The singers all nod their heads when they ask if you “Wanta Fanta?” They’re telling you that you do. There’s no other option. And it worked. Millions of Americans did in fact wanta Fanta. Do you wanta?
#7 – Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum
If this commercial campaign taught us anything, it’s that if you chew Doublemint gum, you’ll fall in love with twins. Actually, the commercials were geared to a more sporty, athletic, and fun audience, and this showed in their commercials. They featured two sets of twins playing tennis and falling in love over their deep romance with chewing gum. Rekindle your crush here.
What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) jingles of all time and why do they make your list?