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The end of an era.
January 10, 2005 8:19 PM   Subscribe

RIP commercial jingles. Looks like the era of "I'd like to teach the world to sing" and "Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner" is going away, thanks to the use of pop and rock songs.
posted by braun_richard (62 comments total)

 
But the jingle, as anyone with a television knows, is a vanishing art form. It is too quaint, too corny, too oldschool for our ironic times. Naming your product in a commercial for your product is just tacky, say advertising executives.

You don't say. And this article is just about replacing jingles with pop songs in the commercials; I've been wondering when they're going to stop playing Coke ads outright, and just play songs by chart-topping artists that slyly mention Coke.

“The jingle,” Korte says, “is dead.”

Le roi est mort, vive le roi!
posted by rkent at 8:40 PM on January 10, 2005


...when cheerful tunes about things for sale permanently lodged themselves in people's brains

cheerful tunes... lodged in people's brains... This was something that people liked?
posted by hopeless romantique at 8:42 PM on January 10, 2005


This was something that people liked?

Yes, actually. I'll make no excuses for being a true child of television, and actually LIKING many commercials and commercial jingles (the good ones anyway, and there were many).
posted by braun_richard at 8:44 PM on January 10, 2005


as long as they keep playing Air songs in commericals, then it's fine with me.

nobody will ever replace Barry Manilow.
posted by skyway at 8:51 PM on January 10, 2005


The only ones left are Pentium's chimes and McDonald's "I'm lovin' it!". That's kinda sad.

However, advertising executives are hardly qualified to inform me exactly what is "tacky."

Yo La Tengo were once picked (and later, rejected) by Coca-Cola to use a song of theirs in an ad. Instead of allowing of one of their hits to be used, they chose to write a song especially for the ad. After all, Barry Manilow did that for State Farm, and it's still used today.
posted by Down10 at 8:54 PM on January 10, 2005


Are jingles really vanishing, or are ads just no longer distinguishable from the rest of our hyperreal culture?

In which case - can't we argue that since there never really was that much difference between them anyway, this is more honest? That the "end of an era" your title declaims is in fact an end to dishonesty about our cultural motives and markets?

Long live the Productized Culture, for it is the Only Honest Culture and therefore the only hope to Save our Collective Souls!
posted by freebird at 8:57 PM on January 10, 2005


Commercial jingles will make a comeback, as noted in the prophetic film "Demolition Man".

Also: Schwarzenegger will be US president, and Taco Bell will be the only restaurant.

Be well, and learn how to use the three little shells.
posted by First Post at 9:02 PM on January 10, 2005


...and therefore the only hope to Save our Collective Souls!

I think we need to be saved from Collective Soul.

/lame
posted by goatdog at 9:05 PM on January 10, 2005


"I'd like to teach the world to sing"

This was originally something else, yes?

As was "smurfberry crunch is fun to eat!"...
posted by weston at 9:06 PM on January 10, 2005


In which case - can't we argue that since there never really was that much difference between them anyway, this is more honest? That the "end of an era" your title declaims is in fact an end to dishonesty about our cultural motives and markets.

Um...no. I mean that the era of original commercial jingles seems to be over, replaced by pop songs that already exist.

"I'd like to teach the world to sing"

This was originally something else, yes?


Hmmm...possibly. If so, it was a bad example on my part. Replace with "Coke is it!"
posted by braun_richard at 9:11 PM on January 10, 2005


Bah! These outdated notions of "existing seperately from advertising and spectacle" will be left in the semantic rubble of The New Dawn.
posted by freebird at 9:25 PM on January 10, 2005


Just last night I was thinking the same thing and got into a conversation with friends about this. Bizarre coincidence (to me, that is).
posted by bluedaniel at 9:26 PM on January 10, 2005


I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing=The New Seekers

Smurfberry Crunch, If I remember the ad correctly=Tchaikovsky
posted by sourwookie at 9:33 PM on January 10, 2005


"THE QUIZNOS SUUUUUUUUUUUBS! THEY ARE SO GOOOOOD TO US!"

Man, I miss those shrieky little bastards...
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:34 PM on January 10, 2005


'During his last few years in business, instead of composing original tunes, Ashley was rearranging "Route 66" for Johnny Rotten to sing in a Mountain Dew spot.'

Best poem I've read this year.
posted by freebird at 9:40 PM on January 10, 2005


This is a shame, as I feel jingles have more staying power than the commercials that use them. For example, I can still remember that Alka-Seltzer (plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is) will take care of my stomachache and headache, Meow Mix is the cat food cats ask for by name, and if I need carpet in the Chicago area I should call 588-2300 (if I just need it cleaned, LIncoln 2-9700).
posted by ilsa at 10:40 PM on January 10, 2005


I still have a jingle from a Strawberry Shortcake toy commercial from 198X lodged in my head. Sometimes I wonder if I could sue.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:50 PM on January 10, 2005


Oh... I don't know. There'll always be a place for jingles to infect your brain. Just like there'll always be a special place deep in the firey pits of hell for those who would dare write such things.

Meow, meow, meow, meow,
meow, meow, meow, meow,
meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:13 PM on January 10, 2005


Old Navy, Old Navy, Old Navy performance fleece!
posted by NickDouglas at 11:34 PM on January 10, 2005


BFD.

That's what I say.
posted by The God Complex at 11:56 PM on January 10, 2005


The snack that smiles back
until you bite their heads off.

Curse all who write catchy jingles to a special circle of hell.
posted by jokeefe at 12:21 AM on January 11, 2005


I think we'll see the continued evolution of ironic jingles put out by ad agencies that are entirely aware of how bad they are and market them as such. This will result in a critical mass of boring irony at some point and we'll have to declare irony dead and come up with a new name for it.
posted by The God Complex at 1:47 AM on January 11, 2005


"I'd like to teach the world to sing"

This was originally something else, yes?


The Coke advert came first, then was rerecorded with a lyric change. Both versions were sung by the New Seekers.

The melody of the song came from a composition entitled 'True Love and Apple Pie'.

Story here.
posted by the cuban at 2:40 AM on January 11, 2005


Down10 - McDonalds "I'm Lovin' It" was either from, or spawned, the Timberlake song. Not sure that counts.

Interestingly, Nokia has relatively recently introduced a very Intel-esque four note chime.
posted by twine42 at 2:42 AM on January 11, 2005


Smurfberry Crunch, If I remember the ad correctly= Tchaikovsky

Yes. From "The Nutcracker.":

Smurfberry Crunch is fun to eat
A smurfy, fruity breakfast treat
Made by smurfs so happily
It tastes like crunchy smurfberries
Very tart and crispy too
And very, very smurfy blue

(Remembering jingles is a parlor trick that I do at parties. You should see me drunk and singing about how I "hanker for a hunk of cheese.")
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:51 AM on January 11, 2005


No one remembers this but me.

Puss 'N Boots brings you new green cans,
Puss 'N Boots brings you new green cans,
New. Green. Cans.
Have the best cat food,
In the whole dog-gone world."


Now is that the stupidest thing you've ever heard, or what!
posted by tizzie at 5:15 AM on January 11, 2005


Under the heading "Everything old is new again", I would posit that in a short time we will be burned out on using existing pop songs and some ad will come out with a catchy jingle, and all the ads will have jingles again. This pop music thing is just a fad.
posted by Doohickie at 6:50 AM on January 11, 2005


What a stupid idea for a trend piece. Guess they had to leave out Quiznos to make their lame point look valid. That damn song was not only hilarious, it was also one of the first - if not the first - mainstream TV ad to be influenced directly by the goofball underbelly of the Web. Ignoring it in a piece that supposedly looks to the future of music in ads is just jaw-droppingly ignorant. But, of course, the editor who ran this junk never thought about that.

I can already see the breathless 2006 Globe article: "Remember all those stories about the death of the jingle? Well, gee willikers, ya dummy! THE JINGLE IS BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER!!"
posted by mediareport at 6:53 AM on January 11, 2005


Armour Hotdogs recently reintroduced their jingle. A couple years back they had a thing where you called a number, listened to four different MLB players (Sammy Sosa, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens and Ken Griffey Jr.) sing the jingle and voted for which version you liked best. Sammy Sosa sang it in Spanish and English.

You've probably got it stuck in your head now, but if it isn't there yet, here you go:

Hotdogs, Armour hotdogs.
What kinds of kids love Armour hot dogs?
Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks,
tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hotdogs,
Armour hot dogs, the dogs kids love to bite!

(The "tough kids, sissy kids" line was changed later on to "tall kids, short kids," I think.)
posted by SisterHavana at 6:54 AM on January 11, 2005


Meow meow meow meow
Meow meow meow meow
Meow meow meow meow
Meow meow meow meow

If you read those with the Meow Mix tune, close your eyes and softly weep for the poem that could have been stored in that part of your brain.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:55 AM on January 11, 2005


*singing*
Mein bratwurst has a first name, it's F-R-I-T-Z.

Mein bratwurst has a second name, it's S-C-H-N-A-C-K-E-N-P-F-E-F-F-E-R-H-A-U-S-E-N...

Fake jingles are the best. See also "Big Red" (ta ta DA!). I'd say fake jingles will never die, but I don't think Bathroom Monkey had a jingle.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:02 AM on January 11, 2005


Every year at Christmas they still drag out that Coke ad with the hippies singing on the hill. When I was a kid back in the mid 70's, it seemed almost contemporary. In the 80's & 90's it was nostalgic. Now it's like something beamed in from another planet. I DL'ed the song on p2p anyways just to feel the warm fuzzies once in a while.

Sister Havana: I loved that Armour hot dogs song as a kid. But I'm older now. And you know what goes with hot dogs? Beer. So, here's to good freinds, tonight is kinda special, the beer will pour must say something more somehow. So tonight, let it be Lowenbrau.

(oddly, as much as I enjoyed the jingles, we never ate Armour dogs in my house, and I never cared for Lowenbrau beer (which is even more hateable for inspiring Motley Crue's umlauts-they were drinking it while thinking up names. I suppose that says something about the efficacy of advertisng.))
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on January 11, 2005


U-NIT-ED FURN-IT-URE WARE-HOUSE!!! (beep, beep!)

Those from a certain area of Canada will know what I'm talking about. It's encoded in my DNA by this point.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 9:05 AM on January 11, 2005


But, tizzie, they are green cans! And they are new!

Hilarious.

If I searched through my brain files, I am sure I could come up with a great many jingles of yesteryear, but I don't want to...Oh no! It's too late!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:06 AM on January 11, 2005


The Armour Hotdogs jingle has been referenced at least twice on the simpsons. ("What kind of man wears Armour hotdogs?")
posted by trey at 9:10 AM on January 11, 2005


As a Creative Director for a small ad agency, I'll back up Doohickie and mediareport's assertions. The only guaranteed maxim in advertising is the need to stand out, so there will always be a place for original music. Smart ad agencies will still use jingles when it fits their needs. Once ads are oversaturated with pop music, the right jingle will grab consumers, and everyone will hail the renaissance of the jingle (and completely miss the point that it's not the jingle, it's the novelty that works).
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:13 AM on January 11, 2005


Ad jingles aren't going away. There's just more crossover between whatever ditty is selling Wheat Thins or Lexuseses and what JC Chasez or whoever is warbling at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
posted by chicobangs at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2005


Damn you to hell, Stonewall Jackson, if that even is your real name.
posted by jokeefe at 9:23 AM on January 11, 2005


Also, add my love for the great and terribly unjustly maligned songwriting genius of Barry Manilow to the heap.

That man could make a hummable melody out of anything. Anything.
posted by chicobangs at 9:25 AM on January 11, 2005


Memorable jingles? How about 8-double zero-565-7421? Nothin' better than Stompin' Tom, singing a phone number.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:26 AM on January 11, 2005


Ahh, yeah, united furniture warehouse. You know I can't remember a single thing to comment on about their commercials except that trumpeting noise at the end.

Cheap ass furniture, though. And a big store.

Fortunately, satellite TV has mostly sheilded me from crapola sing-the-name-of-the-company-only jingles from (once) small local stores. Well, maybe fortunately. JUST DIAL DOWN THE CENTER WITH ATT CALL COLLECT! Sorry Dave, I can't do that...
posted by shepd at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2005


what about that Pepto-Bismol diarrhea song? That seems to be catching on.
posted by jonmc at 9:48 AM on January 11, 2005


what about that Pepto-Bismol diarrhea song? That seems to be catching on.

Is that really a jingle though? I suppose it could be. Seems different somehow. Maybe 'cause it's not catchy enough?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:21 AM on January 11, 2005


Stonewall Jackson, we get that down in Portland, OR too. Goddam warehouse.
posted by cortex at 10:28 AM on January 11, 2005


Curse all who write catchy jingles to a special circle of hell.

Trust me, they are already IN hell. I know an audio engineer who worked on the jingle for Mattress Discounters (East Coast/California company). I can not do the horrible-catchyness justice with words; you'll have to listen to it. Suffice to say that the guy would start twitching uncontrollably if you even mentioned the company.
posted by turtlegirl at 10:47 AM on January 11, 2005


Now that our tastes and memories are products, do we really understand who the consumers are?
posted by freebird at 10:49 AM on January 11, 2005


five six seven, eleven, eleven, call pizza pizza, hey hey hey!
posted by shepd at 10:51 AM on January 11, 2005


turtlegirl... lucky for us the link is broken! :-D
posted by shepd at 10:53 AM on January 11, 2005


My bad! I've written to their webmaster to complain about the broken link ;)
posted by turtlegirl at 11:19 AM on January 11, 2005


Hmph. "Picturebook" by the Kinks had just become my new favorite song about a week before I heard it in a HP commercial...now it's ruin't.
posted by black8 at 11:43 AM on January 11, 2005


A lost memory just returned to my mind of NOT a jingle, but a popular '70s Dr. Demento song about local L.A. furniture store owner and TV commercial salesman Ed Barbara (pronounced with the emphasis on the SECOND "bar") done to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann".

THAT's where it all started. I BLAME ED BARBARA!!!
posted by wendell at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2005


Can't get enough Super Sugar Crisp...

Apple Jacks, Apple Jacks
Cinnamon toasty, that's what it packs
Really delicious, crunchy too
Kellogg's Apple Jacks!

At Beneficial (TOOT TOOT)
You're good for more
It's great to know (TOOT TOOT)
You're good for more

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce
Special orders don't upset us
All we ask is that you let us serve it your way
Have it yooooour way, have it your way...

Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun!

(And finally, immortalized in Rock 'n' Roll Heaven...)
STRONGER THAN DIRT!


This is what happens when you're 5 years old in 1970 and you have a radio on all the time (when you're not watching Saturday morning cartoons...)

I remember WABC-AM in New York holding a contest where callers had to recite that Big Mac ingredient list in less than 2 seconds to win a prize...

Ah, the golden memories of childhood!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2005


Oh and:

Honeycomb's big - YEAH YEAH YEAH!
It's not small - NO NO NO!


\:D
posted by zoogleplex at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2005


I am stuck on Band-Aid...
posted by black8 at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2005


Also don't forget "Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder, French Fries, Icy Coke, Thick Shakes, Sundaes, and Apple Pie." Used as a jumprope song too.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2005


(Remembering jingles is a parlor trick that I do at parties. You should see me drunk and singing about how I "hanker for a hunk of cheese.")

Mayor Curley:
When I'm slow on the draw and I need something to chaw,
I hanker for a hunk of cheese!
When my ten gallon hat's a-feelin' five gallons flat
I've got something planned, which is
Little cheese sandwiches! Come on!

Here's a great little snack to tide you over till dinner!
If you want something that's delicious and nutritious,
cheese is a super snack! Look! A wagon wheel!

When my get up and go has got up and went,
I hanker for a hunk of cheese!
When I'm dancin' the hoedown and my boots kinda slow down,
Or anytime I'm week in the knees,

I hanker for a hunk of,
A slab, a slice, a chunk of,
A snack that is a winner,
And yet won't spoil my dinner!
I hanker for a hunk of cheese! Ya-hoo!
posted by absquatulate at 6:31 PM on January 11, 2005


Oooey gooey rich and chewy inside
Golden cakey tender flakey outside
Wrap the inside in the outside
Is it good? Darn tootin'!
It's the Big! Fig! Newton!
(Here's the tricky part)
The Big! Fig! Newton!
(One more time!)
The Big! Fig! Newton!
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:59 PM on January 11, 2005


How to flush out Okies in a crowd:

"Jewelry is the gift to give,
'cause it's the gift that'll live and live!
So give the gift you know can't fail
from ____________________'s Anniversary Sale!"
posted by yhbc at 8:00 PM on January 11, 2005


This is a shame, as I feel jingles have more staying power than the commercials that use them.

Oh, hell yeah. This:

Mommy?
I want a Salerno butter cookie
Mommy?
I heard you, dear.
Salerno cookie coming right up.
You can lookie, lookie, lookie
But you'll never find a cookie
With a better butter batter than Salerno.


is a jingle for a commercial that I've never seen and that went off the air years before I was born. And this:

I love Bosco.
That's the drink for me.
Mommy put it in my milk
To try to poison me.
But I fooled mommy
I put it in her tea.
And now there's no more mommy
To try to poison me.


is the bastardized version of a jingle from another commercial I've never seen. I believe Bosco was some type of Yoo-Hoo, Nestle Quik type product. I learned both of these from my parents, who saw the commercials as children.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2005


black 8: "Picturebook" by the Kinks had just become my new favorite song about a week before I heard it in a HP commercial...now it's ruin't
I understand what you mean about a commercial ruining a song, but the thing is, you probably wouldn't have heard this song if not for the comeback triggered by the commercial ...
posted by bwanabetty at 9:27 PM on January 11, 2005


Actually, I had just raided and ripped my ex roommate's CD collection before I moved out in November. Our taste's overlap quite a bit and I was keen to hear some his stuff that I didn't have.
And the song is not so much "ruined" as the pleasure of having "discovered" it for myself has, if you know what I mean.
My friends and I often exchange selected tracks or whole albums via mp3 CD's. Along with the Kinks, I've been diggin The Zombies and The Velvet Underground.
posted by black8 at 11:46 PM on January 11, 2005


Now I've got an old one stuck in my head:

Four forty-four fifty-five five five
That's the number for the classified
So add...the Union to your life
(Four forty-four fifty five five five)
So add...the Union to your live
(Four forty-four fifty-five five five...)


I may never have placed an ad in the Sacramento Union classified section, but dammit - I'll never forget (916) 444-5555.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:55 PM on January 12, 2005


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