Singing 748-1414

Much as I loathe the most crass, garish, and obnoxious aspects of commercialism, it is an important lubricant in the capitalist economic engine (or if you’re living somewhere near the deep end of the sociopolitical left, the capitalist screwjob). Liberal or conservative, chances are that your mental vault contains commercial jingles of some sort — upbeat, cheery tunes meant to promote the goodness of a product or service, ditties now memorable for their own sake, and for those of us whose childhoods included the pre-Internet era, long consigned only to the protoplasmic hard drive between our ears. Not anymore!

I don’t know how long the old jingles below are going to remain at their current addresses, but please run a Google search for them if the links expire. They are addictive tunes, and well worth hearing if you want to get a song stuck in your head for days and days. First, a few regional or local ones you might not have heard before, and won’t be able to forget once you do:

748-1414 (Dallas Times Herald Classified). Hit the small play button (forward arrow) on the little playbar that appears. This could be the catchiest jingle ever. Anyone who lived in the Metroplex in the late 70s knows this one, inside and out. Millions of minds were corrupted virally, for life. Listen a couple times, and you’ll understand why. In a D Magazine essay on radio advertising, the tune’s creator, Spencer Michlin, states:

    Since I’m guilty of having written that Times Herald jingle in 1977 on behalf of Stan Richards and Jim Hradecky of The Richards Group, Dallas, I have mixed emotions about citing it here. This is less a matter of modesty (ask anyone who knows me) than of the fact that I’ve always found it a vaguely embarrassing achievement, along the lines of having been the fastest runner at fat camp. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of less annoying things that I’m prouder to have written; but face it, 748-1414’s almost nuclear half-life bespeaks its effectiveness.

If that wasn’t the catchiest jingle ever, then the Bunny Bread tune is. I didn’t grow up with Bunny Bread, but after Ryan Jewell introduced the song to me a few years back, this jingle is branded in indelible audio in my mind. Those poor saps across the Midwest and Ohio Valley who heard it dozens of times as kids must be haunted for life, just like I am with 748-1414.

Elke introduced me to the C&H Pure Cane Sugar tune she heard as a kid (large WMV file containing a series of commercials). It’s more like a lullaby, especially when sung slowly — but a very memorable one.

Some deeply ingrained national product jingles exist online in audio or video forms: Be A Pepper (Dr Pepper), the psychedelic video version of We See the Light of 7-Up (inspired by an LSD trip?), Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco Treat), b-o-l-o-g-n-a (Oscar Mayer), Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz (Alka Seltzer), Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut (Almond Joy/Mounds), Hamm’s the Beer Refreshing (using cartoons to market beer…tsk tsk). I’m sure there are many more, but to ensure civil order and prevent riotous mobs of newly jingle-infested citizens from forming at my door, that’s about enough for now.


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