As an auditory learner, a music lover, a kid from the radio era (OK, we did have a whopping 3 TV networks) and someone who spent a decade working in advertising, I’m hard-wired to like jingles. A few of those earworms that were created merely to move the merchandise are still stuck in my head decades after I last heard them.
As a kid in rural Arkansas, I used to stay up at night (and sometimes get up very early in the morning) and tune my transistor radio to WLS, a 50,000-watt powerhouse out of Chicago.
- I remember the DJs, of course, because I dreamed of being a DJ someday. The fantastic John “Records” Landecker and his hilarious “Boogie Check” each night. Brant Miller. Uncle Larry Lujack.
- I remember a few of the songs from that era, although the 70’s weren’t a great time for rock and roll. Actually, I remember the band Journey doing a spoof of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” most of all.
- And I remember the jingle for White Hen, the Chicago-area convenience store chain. (Sadly, they’re all 7-Elevens now.) “When you run out, run out to White Hen.” (Here it is in a TV spot – the jingle is the same.) Apparently I’m not the only one who remembers this jingle. A PhD cited it in his book on using Neurolinguistic Programming as a sales tool:
Sadly, the advertising jingle is a dying art. Now advertisers find it easier (read: lazier) to license an existing song or commission a pop knockoff. Here’s a great NPR interview with the “Jingle King” Steve Karmen. He wrote “I Love New York,” “This Bud’s for You,” “Nationwide is on your side” and dozens of other memorable jingles so it’s hard to argue with his title… although Barry Manilow got his start penning jingles for the likes of State Farm (“like a good neighbor…”) Band-Aid (“I am stuck on Band-Aid Brand…”) and McDonald’s (“You deserve a break today…”).
Where have you gone, “Oscar Meyer Wiener Song”? If White Hen stores were still around, and they sold cassette tapes of advertising jingles (or even 8-tracks), I’d totally buy the entire set.