Tag Archives: advertising

Jingles, Singing Commercials, and other Earworms: Highlights from AdViews

The Digital Collections team has been watching a lot of commercials lately.  In fact, in building the AdViews Collection, we’ve digitized, reviewed, described, and published close to 10,000 vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s to the 1980s.  Over the last year, we’ve learned some valuable lessons from our work on AdViews.  For example, 10,000 videos require a lot of server space, spreadsheets can be your friend, and most digital projects take longer than you expect.  More importantly, though, courtesy of hundreds of jingles, we’ve learned not to squeeze the Charmin, that Cool Whip comes whipped and stays whipped, and that Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.

A Little Jingle History

More than commercials today, television ads from the 1950s to the 1970s relied heavily on the jingle.  According to a trusted source, the jingle is “a memorable short tune with a lyric broadcast used in radio and television commercials which are usually intended to convey an advertising slogan.”  While the 1950s marked a “golden age” of the jingle on television, the jingle first appeared on radio during the 1930s as a way to circumvent industry regulations that prohibited direct advertising of products. With a catchy jingle, advertisers could mention a product name during the introduction to a broadcast without explicitly pitching a product.

In the 1950s and 1960s jingles easily made the transition from radio to television.  This same period also saw the rise of the “singing commercial,” a longer format version of the jingle.  In the last few decades, however, commercially licensed pop songs have slowly replaced jingles in television commercials, but some believe that jingles may be making a comeback.

Whether its a jingle, a singing commercial, or a pop song, researchers classify these “pleasantly melodic, easy to remember hooks” as earworms. They even suggest that women may be more susceptible to earworms than men.

While some jingles from our AdViews Collection are more memorable than others, here are links to our Top 10 favorites.

Top 10 Jingles and Songs from AdViews (available via ITunesU)

  1. Schick: “Stubble trouble” (1950s)
  2. Cool Whip:  “Yum, yum, yum, Cool Whip, comes whipped.” (possibly the first Cool Whip commercial)
  3. Western Union: “It’s wise to wire.” (1950s)
  4. Carling’s Red Cap Ale: “Better than beer.” (1950s)
  5. Charmin: “Don’t squeeze the Charmin.”(a classic featuring Mr. Whipple)
  6. Texaco: “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.” (Spectacular choreographed commercial, 1970s.)
  7. Sodaburst (by Birdseye) “The real ice cream soda that makes itself at home.” (most bizarre background singing)
  8. Hasbro: “Hungry Hungry Hippos.”
  9. Hasbro: “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” (It’s a hoedown!)
  10. Hasbro: “Stick shifters, get’em in gear, gonna make a wheelie, gonna disappear.” (Hard rockin’ 70s jingle)

AdViews: 3,000 New Commercials, Improved Access

AdViews: American Dental AssociationI’m excited to announce that we’ve launched 3,000 new commercials in the AdViews digital collection on iTunes U.

This includes over 50 new products and brands, such as the American Association of Railroads, Burma Shave, Bounce, Eastern Airlines, Folgers, Glade, Pepto-Bismol, Prell, Sanka, and Zest. We’ve also added many new commercials for Crest, some fantastic Hasbro toy commercials from the 1970s, and much more.

The AdViews Highlights album now features over 40 commercials with closed captioning and audio descriptions created by the National Center for Accessible Media for users with hearing or vision impairments. Users can take advantage of these accessibility features using the Preferences and Controls menus in iTunes. We’ve also improved the indexing of the collection, making it easier to search for and discover AdViews content from the Libraries website.

Many thanks to Duke Libraries staff and interns, to Duke OIT, and to A/V Geeks for their excellent contributions to the project.

The digital collections team will promote some new AdViews commercials during the next few weeks on Twitter — follow us! http://twitter.com/dukedigitalcoll

AdViews: Don’t Touch That Dial!

AdViews Logo

The Duke Digital Collections team is excited to announce our newest project: AdViews, a digital archive of vintage television commercials. Our first batch of commercials went live in iTunes U last night (July 20, 2009), and we’ll continue to add thousands of historic commercials to the collection through the rest of 2009. By year’s end, the collection will contain over 10,000 digitized TV commercials from the archives, all available for FREE from Duke’s iTunes U site.

AdViews will provide students, teachers, and researchers access to a wide range of vintage brand advertising from the first four decades of mainstream commercial television. The collection will support interdisciplinary research, not only in marketing and advertising history, but also in visual studies, communication, women’s studies, public health, cultural anthropology, nutrition, technology, and more.

AdViews currently features commercials from the ad agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B), a New York advertising firm founded in 1929. The DMB&B archives are held at Duke in the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, a research center in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Stay tuned! We’ll be right back with more AdViews updates and behind-the-scenes information…