Don’t you just hate it when you can’t get rid of that song in your head? You walk around singing it, driving yourself – and your friends – crazy. My niece Caroline has been singing part of the requiem she performed last month at Carnegie Hall, annoying the daylights out of her father. She claims to be unaware she’s doing it. My friend Karmen can’t listen to the “Rent” soundtrack before bed because she sings it in her sleep all night.
It’s known as an ear worm.
Urbandictionary.com says ear worms “most likely originated around the time of Hanson’s ‘Mmmbop’…any song that is so catchy, and at the same time extremely annoying, that it feels like a worm has crawled into your ear and eaten the intelligent parts of your brain so that you hum the song all day long, no matter how much you hate it. ”
(Of course, the term reminds me of that scene in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” when a creature crawls out of Mr. Chekov’s ear. Yuck!!) But I digress.
Working with only 60 seconds (or less), advertisers having been creating ear worms for decades. They use music to catch your attention, set the tone and pull you into an ad. Jingles can give you product information and recognition and a catchy little tune to boot. Then next thing you know, you’re walking around singing all about their product, doing free advertising for them.
You may be too young to remember “N-E-S-T-L-E-S. Nestle’s makes the very best. Chocolate” from 1952. Or “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, oh, what a relief it is” for Alka-Seltzer, circa 1976. But surely you remember “J-E-L-L-O,” even though it premiered in 1934. Or “My baloney has a first name…”
Jingles work, no matter how annoying we consider them – or what disgusting names we give them. We know them; we love them; we remember them. In a recent class, someone started singing the “1-800-SAFE-AUTO” song and everyone joined in.
A fast-and-dirty survey of my advertising students revealed they can’t stop singing:
• $5 foot long (Subway)
• I am stuck on BAND-AID® ‘cause BAND-AID®’s stuck on me!
Now, which of these will YOU be singing all day?