“Ear Worms” Jingling All the Way to the Bank…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

When my wife and I watch television, sometimes my wife will say, “That was a really funny commercial”.

Then I’ll ask her, “I agree, but what was the product or client?”

If she can’t remember, I’d say that’s a bad commercial.

Folks who study these sorts of things say jingles need to be “timeless, memorable and creative” and they should stick in your brain long after the commercial is over.

We’d call that an “ear worm”.

Good advertising campaigns have longevity, equity, memorability and originality.

Back in 1927, the Wheaties people made the first attempt to incorporate music (a jingle) with their product.

Combine a catchy tune with a memorable line or two and you have a winner.

Some of the most-memorable campaigns involved products or services that perhaps aren’t the most “romantic” or “awe-inspiring”.

How many of these lines make you recall the product?

“And away go troubles down the drain”.


“Clap on! Clap off!

(The Clapper)

(By the way, did you ever buy one?)


(Chia Pets- You usually only hear about them just before Christmas.)

Some of advertising’s “big boys” are really good at this game.

“It’s the real thing”.

“Things go better”.

“I’d like to teach the world to sing”.

Yep! Coca Cola.

They’re the top seller world-wide and yet they still advertise.

Is that by accident?

How many times does someone respond with “Coke” when the waitress asks, “What do you want to drink?”

Another one of the world’s top businesses is one of the top advertisers.

“You deserve a break today.”

“Ba-da-ba-ba-baa” and “I’m loving’ it.”


Old timers like me will recall some of these.

“A little dab’ll do ya'”


“You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with…”


“See the USA in your…”


(Cue Dinah Shore)

“Plop! Plop! Fizz! Fizz! Oh, what a relief it is!


“In the valley of the jolly, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!'”

Green Giant vegetables.

“The best part of waking up.”

Folger’s Coffee.

“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”

Peter Paul Mounds and Almond Joy.

“Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!”

Meow Mix cat food.

“Snap! Crackle! Pop!”

Rice Krispies.

(By the way, did you remember when they used to be a quartet with “Pow?”)

“The San Francisco treat.”

Rice-a Roni.

“Double your pleasure, double your fun.”

Wrigley’s Doublemint chewing gum.

“Be all that you can be.”

The United States Army.

“Mm-mmm good! Mm-mmm-good.”

Campbell’s Soup.

(My wife had a baby picture and I swear she looked like on of the Campbell Soup kids.)

“They’re magically delicious.”

Lucky Charms cereal.

In 1974, little Andy Labros first sat in front of us with a fishing pole in one hand and a sandwich in the other and he told us, “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R.”

Oscar Mayer meats…and we also sang, “I wish I was an Oscar Mayer wiener.”

Researchers claim State Farm’s, “Like a good neighbor” campaign might be the best.

Some great advertising campaigns don’t even have words.

If you saw a video of an old coffee pot percolating, would you recall Maxwell House coffee?

By now, I’m sure you have others coming to mind.

But remember, for an ad to be really effective, you gotta recall the product.

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