Old commercial jingles have a way of sticking with you, just like a great song. Some commercial jingles transcend the products they were designed to promote and instead earn themselves a place in popular culture - even after the product doesn't exist anymore.
About Commercial Jingles
No one is quite sure when the commercial jingle first appeared, though jingles started to emerge after commercial radio took off in the U.S. Although it is unclear when the first jingle hit the airwaves, we do know the story of the first successful commercial jingle. This title goes to the Wheaties campaign from 1926.
Have You Tried The Wheaties?
On Christmas Eve, 1926, General Mills released a commercial jingle with the tagline, Have You Tried The Wheaties, to radio. The campaign was an instant hit, and the tagline became a cultural phenomenon. The jingle included lines like:
- Have you tried Wheaties?
- They're whole wheat with all of the bran.
- Won't you try Wheaties?
- For wheat is the best food of man.
The song was performed by an all male group of singers, later given the name The Wheaties Quartet.
The jingle was a last ditch effort by General Mills to revive their dying Wheaties cereal brand. They were planning to drop the cereal if the new ad campaign didn't boost sales. Not only did the campaign work, but it offered a clue to just how powerful a good jingle can be. Initially, the Wheaties jingle ran only on radio stations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In the business quarter following the release of the jingle, of the 53,000 cases of Wheaties sold, 30,000 of those were sold in Minneapolis-St. Paul. General Mills went nationwide with their campaign and saved the brand. Their success changed advertising and made jingles a central part of promotion for many brands.
Old Commercial Jingles - Standout Ads
The old commercial jingles that resonate with you likely have a lot to do with when you grew up. Every generation has jingles that mean something to them. Here are some of the standout jingles from over the years:
The simple "j-e-l-l-o" tune used to advertise Jello is familiar to several generations. It was first used by the company in 1934 and has been used in many different variations ever since. Believe it or not, even though the lyrics to the jingle simply involve spelling out the product name, a lyricist receives songwriting royalties for his work on the song. Note that he did not compose the music - only the spelling out of the name.
Oscar Mayer - Wiener Jingle and Bologna Jingle
Oscar Mayer has scored twice in the jingle game. The Oscar Mayer wiener jingle (Oh, I wish were an Oscar Mayer wiener…) dates back to 1965, while the bologna jingle (My bologna has a first name, it's o-s-c-a-r…) debuted in the 70s.
Coca-Cola - I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing
This 1971 song that promoted peace and cultural tolerance with the idea that sharing a Coca-Cola could bring us together was released as a radio single. The song, and the accompanying commercial, has been updated several times throughout the years and often pops up during the holidays and during the Olympics.
This jingle is simply made up of a series of "meows," but it has stood the test of time. Believe it or not, the memorable pattern of meows was created by a cat. The composer took video of a cat meowing over and over again and synced music to match up with the cat's mouth movements.
Alka-Seltzer - Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz
Alka Seltzer debuted their plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is jingle in 1976, and people have been singing along to it for more than 30 years. It is one of the longest enduring jingles around.
Sara Lee - Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee
This grammatically questionably jingle was first used by Sara Lee in 1972. Like the Alka Seltzer theme, it was still going strong 30 years down the line.
Your Favorite Jingles
What commercial jingles can't you get out of your head? Share your favorites by leaving us a comment.