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1-800-EARWORM: The Commercials That You Can’t Forget

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
August 25, 2011

I had been writing about Charlie’s Angels a bit recently, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess, when I found myself on the Metro into work the other day with a related theme running through my head. But it wasn’t the theme from the old TV show. It was the theme from the old ad for Charlie’s Angels dolls. Specifically, this one:

That ad was reportedly taken from an episode of television that aired in 1978. That’s 33 years ago. My brain has stored “Sabrina, Kelly and Kris! Yes! Charlie’s Angels!” for 33 years. I have had 33 birthdays during which, had someone sung, “Happy birthday to yoooooou! And many mooooore! Sabrina, Kelly and Kris!”, I would have answered, “Yes! Charlie’s Angels!”

The other ads that sometimes pop into my head unbidden are equally mysterious.

When I was growing up outside Philadelphia, one of the local jewelers was Van Scoy, which called itself the “diamond king.” Its jingle said:

I’m a lucky girl, hooray, oh boy!Look at my diamond, it came from Van Scoy!My boyfriend bought it, saved lots of money, too!Van Scoy’s the diamond king, he’s the man for you.

Except that in order to understand what this jingle sounded like, you have to imagine the worst Philly accent you have ever heard in your life — no, not the charming kind. The awful kind. That’s the accent with which the woman sang the song. Even my sister used to make fun of this commercial, and she is a much nicer person than I am. (“My boooooyfriend bought it,” we used to snarl, because seriously, that ad … wow. We were not lucky girls, hooray, oh boy, when it came on the radio.)

I threw this question out on Twitter yesterday, about commercials whose jingles haunt you. I’m not talking about “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” or anything respectable like that. I”m talking about this, which was one of the most-mentioned ads in the early polling.

Or this horror show, which also did well.

So, in the spirit of earworms and fundamental hostility, I invite you to share the earworms you cannot forget. Perhaps by sharing them, you can exorcise them. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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