I would like to get serious for a moment and ask you a few simple questions. First of all, aren’t you glad you use Dial? Don’t you wish everyone did? Or are you like me and don‘t feel fully clean unless you‘re Zestfully clean? Have you ever wondered where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent? Would you rather fight than switch? If you met up with Robert Conrad and he challenged you to knock a battery off his shoulder would you? Do you love your wife so much you think you’ll keep her? Is it true that La Choy makes Chinese food swing American? Has anyone ever come up to you and said, “Gee! Your hair smells terrific!”? Does your martial arts training come in handy when you wear your Hai Karate? Does anything get between you and your Calvin Klein jeans?
If you are under the age of forty you probably think I’m crazy right about now. If you are over the age of forty, you might think the same thing but you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Commercials from our childhood. Can we ever forget them? Unfortunately, no. The jingles for some of these commercials will give you earwigs that pop up at the strangest times. At least twice a month, usually when I’m strolling down the pasta aisle at the grocery store, minding my own business, my brain will suddenly start screaming:
We're having Beefaroni
It's made with macaroni
Beefaroni's full of meat
Beefaroni's fun to eat
Beefaroni's really neat
Hooray! For Beefaroni!
The strange thing is I don‘t even eat Beefaroni. It’s even worse when, a few aisles later, it starts singing, Oh I'm a pepper He's a pepper She's a pepper We're a pepper Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too! No, I wouldn’t. But thanks for asking.
They just don’t make commercials like that anymore, thank goodness. I use to worry about Alzheimer’s disease when I couldn’t remember anything but now I really believe the problem is I have so much stuff, like these old jingles, already crammed in my brain there simply isn’t room for anything else. Which one of these do you think are the most important? Knowing how to conjugate a verb or knowing that a Big Mac contains two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun? Of course the two all beef patties are more important because: McDonald’s is our kind of place! (clap, clap) It’s such a happy place! (clap, clap) Hap, hap, hap, happy place! etc. It’s a wonder I can even remember my own name.
I grew up in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s so I really believed that only ‘manly’ men, with fake Irish accents, used Irish Spring soap. Although women liked it too. I blushed when the lady on TV, who for some reason was washing her hair in an airplane bathroom, would suddenly get very happy after using Herbal Essence Shampoo. It was an orgasmic experience if you catch my drift. If that commercial came on the TV and my dad was in the room he would change the channel. My mother refused to buy their shampoo because even though she had come a long way baby, to get where she got to today, but she still didn’t like dirty commercials on TV. She did buy the same brand of paper towels every week though because, extra value is what you get when you buy Coronet!
I’ll try and stop now I promise! Advertising agencies were smart back then. They would take a new, unknown product, make a commercial with a catchy jingle, and before you knew it everybody was buying the product. They couldn’t help themselves. The jingles controlled their minds. It was even worse if you had a small kid because cereal and toy companies were shameless. Mikey would eat anything and then go play with his slinky because it was fun for a girl or a boy. One week kids wanted Frosted Lucky Charms because they were magically delicious and the next week they wanted Frosted Flakes because Tony the tiger said they were “Grrrrrrrreat!“ All of the cereals in the 70’s and 80’s were frosted. Except for Grape Nuts. Remember Euell Gibbons standing next to a tree while telling you parts of a pine cone were edible? We also wanted a certain brand of chocolate because everybody knew, N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best…. chocolate. Actually I liked Hershey’s better but they didn’t have a catchy jingle. Did you ever try to find out how many licks were in a Tootsie Roll Pop? Even though the commercials were annoying we did learn from a few of them. For instance we knew only you can prevent forest fires. Also, please, please don’t be a litterbug ‘cause every litter bit hurts. Thank you Susie Spotless. We also didn’t want to make any Indians cry. TV shows for kids were a lot more educational too. I personally learned the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution after watching School House Rock. Sure I can only remember it if I sing it out loud but that’s beside the point.
Commercials these days just make me hit the fast forward button hard enough to break my finger. They’re either so annoying you either can’t stand to watch them or they make absolutely no sense. Some of them are on every five minutes and I’ve often wondered if I were to promise to buy their product would they quit showing the same commercial over and over? For instance there is a commercial showing now for a home alarm company. This particular commercial is on all the time and I hate it. It starts out with a woman on the phone telling someone she’ll meet them in an hour. Then she goes and gets in the shower. A few seconds later a man, who is nicely dressed and looks nothing like your typical thug, kicks in her front door which of course alerts the men at the alarm company. They yell at him to get out of the house, which he does even though he can’t see the alarm company men that are yelling at him. For all he knows she’s watching a loud show on TV. Then the alarm company guys assure the woman, who is still in the shower, that they will stay with her until the police arrive. My dad told me he doesn’t think there really is a man breaking into her house. He thinks the alarm company men just want to look at a naked lady in the shower. I agree with him. Don’t even get me started on infomercials. Most of these start out with a group of people in a fake audience watching intently while some guy on stage cuts up a tomato with the same knife he has just used to saw through a concrete block. I’m not sure about you but I can think of about five hundred other things I would rather do. I also seldom find a reason to saw through a concrete block with my kitchen knife. I blame the late Billy Mays and Vince, the Shamwow guy, for these. They started out innocently enough with some cleaner that actually worked and a cloth that could dry up the Hoover Dam if you applied yourself and took your time. However infomercials aren’t the worst. Local car dealers win that prize hands down. We currently have a commercial running for a local used car dealer that plays an instrumental version of “The Witch Doctor” while they are telling about their latest deals. The worst part is there is a young woman that says, not sings, “Bing” and then “Bang” at random intervals during the commercial. It drives me crazy. First of all it’s “Ting, Tang” you moron. Secondly what does “The Witch Doctor” song have to do with used cars? As you can see I get upset pretty easily. Hopefully my medication will kick in very soon.
Occasionally you’ll see a classic commercial during the holidays. I usually like these a lot. In fact I’m not sure my Christmas would be complete if I didn’t see Santa Claus riding down a snow covered hill on a Norelco Electric Razor. I’ve been known to get a little teary when Peter comes home and his mom wakes up when she smells the freshly brewed pot of coffee. I would like to know where he’s been though. How do we know that Peter hasn’t just busted out of jail? I also love to see the little Hershey kisses chiming out “We Wish You A Merry Christmas“. These almost make up for the newer Target commercials that show a hyperactive nut running through the store trying to finish her Christmas shopping.
Do you remember these classic jingles? Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. I am stuck on Band-aid ‘cause Band-aid’s stuck on me! You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDonald’s. Grab a bucket of chicken, finger lickin’ good, have a barrel of fun, goodbye ho hum, etc. Bet you didn’t know these were all written by Barry Manilow did you? Barry Manilow actually wrote jingles not just for those brands but also for Stridex Acne Medicine, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Dodge. And you didn’t think you were a fan.
Now I would like to impart some commercial wisdom. If you’re a silly rabbit you should remember that Trix are for kids. Try to always be a part of the Pepsi generation, make sure you only raise Toys R Us kids, (with a backward R), remember it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, and if you think it’s butter but it’s not, it’s Chiffon.
As for me I think I’m going to say yes to a Martini and Rossi on the rocks.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short trip down memory lane. I’m deeply sorry for any earwigs I may have caused and I hope today you are able to have it your way. Have it your way! Have it your way at Burger King. Also please, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.