7 Backstories Behind Famous Jingles

Earworm Warning: you might end up singing these for the rest of the day.

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7 Backstories Behind Famous Jingles

The Nokia Tune

The Nokia tune is credited to a Spanish guitarist and composer Francisco Tárrega and his song from 1902, the ‘Gran Vals.’ As a classical piece freed from the constraints of copyright, the waltz wound up as a backing track for a Nokia TV spot in 1992. A year later, when Nokia's Model 2110 phone debuted with a tonal buzzer, Nokia picked a snippet of Tárrega's waltz and used it as the new phone's ringtone.
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McDonald's Tune 'I’m loving it'

In 2003, Justin Timberlake helped launch the famous McDonald’s marketing campaign called 'I’m Lovin’ It.' Surprisingly, it was the first time the company had ever used a single message and set of commercials worldwide at the same time. Over the past 13 years, 'I’m Lovin’ It' has become the longest-running McDonald’s slogan in history. And the jingle, originally sung by Timberlake, has arguably become more famous than Justin’s actual hits.
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Coca Cola Tune 'Open Happiness'

The first ‘Open Happiness’ song was initially featured in a television commercial for the American market. The song is a collaboration between Cee-Lo Green, Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco), Travie McCoy (Gym Class Heroes) and Janelle Monáe, with Polow Da Don and Butch Walker each producing their own version.

The Butch Walker version is heard in some radio ads, while the Polow Da Don version received a music video. Directed by award-winning director Alan Ferguson, the music video debuted on MTV in July 2009.

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Meow Mix Tune

The Meow Mix theme was written by Shelley Palmer in 1970 and performed by Linda November. The idea came from Ron Travisano, at the advertising agency of Della Femina Travisano and Partners, who had the account with Ralston Purina in 1974. Travisano also came up with the idea of adding English subtitles to the ad, along with a bouncing ball pointing out the words.
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By the way, there's a bizarre EDM remix of the jingle on the company's official YouTube page. We don’t recommend listening to the remix if you’re impressionable. It is certainly a weird side of Youtube. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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Intel Theme Tune

The original sound score for the Intel jingle was written by Los Angeles composer Walter Werzowa in 1994 under the direction of Intel. ‘The sound needed to convey reliability, innovation, and trust,’ Werzowa said.

The ‘Intel Inside’ tagline triggered a melody in his head, and those were the notes that became the Intel bong sound: D flat, D flat, G flat, D flat, A flat. The rhythm, he says, was inspired by the syllables of the tagline. Werzowa then spent the following weeks refining the five-note sequence into the jingle that’s since become so recognizable.

Walter Werzowa is an Austrian native who’d achieved a measure of fame in the ‘80s with the electronica band Edelweiss, which sold more than 5 million records. Following the group’s disbandment, Werzowa moved to the United States to study film music at USC.

Interestingly, Werzowa and Intel discovered that the sound of the notes was at least as important as the melody itself. Among a 60-person focus group, researchers found only 80% of participants recognized the correct melody played on a violin, but 100% recognized it with the proper xylophone-type sound, even when an incorrect note was added.

Since the original jingle premiered in 1994, Werzowa says he’s updated it every two to three years.

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Old Spice Whistle

Since the mid-'90s, Old Spice commercials have used the six whistled notes.

This six-note melody was originally the ending of a 1953 jingle called 'The Old Spice Sea Shanty.'

Veteran jingle writer Ginger Johnson borrowed the melody from an old Scottish bagpipe folk song called 'Scotland the Brave.' The whistling was performed by jazz musician Jean 'Toots' Thielemans, who also provided the whistling in the theme song of The Andy Griffith Show and played the harmonica on the Sesame Street theme song.

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Big Mac Theme

The Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun concept for the jingle was created by Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, and his creative group at Needham Harper and Steers. The words were then set to music created by Mark Vieha, who performed the original jingle.

The first run of commercials ran only a year and a half, going off the air in 1976, but its popularity remained beyond its TV life. Many franchises in the United States ran promotions during the original campaign that awarded a free burger to customers who repeated the slogan within two or three seconds.

Admit it, you want to have a Big Mac every time you listen to the jingle, don’t you?

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11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That Big Mac jingle is pretty iconic, at least here in the states. Hard to believe it was on air for such a short length of time.
    It's had new life over the years, though, occasionally.  I remember seeing commercials using it when I was a kid.
    Cheap Trick did three Pepsi radio jingles in the 90's.  They turned one into "Every Day You Make Me Crazy" on their 2009 "The Latest" album.  Check it out and you can hear where the "Nothing else is a Pepsi" melody lies.
    What about Mcdonald's Mcpick 2 jingle? That one is always getting stuck in my head and I end up making my own songs off of it.
    Let me know if you'd like to know the story of the T-Mobile ring tone.