A few weeks ago, I watched a show on ITV about the Greatest TV Adverts Of The Decade. This was the standard fare for anyone who has seen these format shows before; we slowly grind our way through a chosen countdown as a small number of journalists, showbiz bloggers, or anyone who happened to free on the day of recording, speak their mind about that particular entry. I initially dismissed the programme as being rather self serving due to it coming across like an hour-long advert for adverts. The audience at home weren’t the ones who ITV were trying to persuade, they were hoping that other prospective advertisers would see the merits of their media and be inspired to push their adverts out through their network.
To be honest, I can hardly blame them. If the critics and TV executives are to be believed, television as a medium is as dead as a Sabre-Toothed Tiger wearing Adidas poppers. The only thing the box has to offer these days are self promoting shows such as 100 Best TV Moments, Greatest TV Interviews, and 10 Most Terrifying BBC Test Cards.
However, I then saw a rather funny advert which was, in itself, all about advertising. The advert features a man on a psychiatrist’s couch reciting famous advertising jingles such as Bodyform, Gillette, and Cadburys which were all familiar and invoke a sense of nostalgia. The advert suggests that adverts and jingles get into your head and stay there forever, which is true in most cases. Inside your subconscious there must be a special area solely dedicated to advertising jingles, no matter how shit they are. Ones that were around during your childhood are the ones that will live with you forever, whether you want them to or not, wafting their way into the forefront of your mind occasionally like a fart in a Jacuzzi. They remain hidden, buried in the recesses of your brain, waiting for a moment to leap up and sing the Um Bongo theme tune as loudly as they can. These events can be rather jarring.
Whilst thinking about this topic, I realised that jingles are like a default factory setting for your mind. Only in the occasional moments when no other thought fills your head will a long since remembered song suddenly slap you across the face. I’ve realised that my brain’s screensaver is an old song which was used to advertise a child’s game called Wiggly Worms (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mattel-Wiggly-Worms/dp/B000050XU9). The game is nothing more than a gaudy piece of plastic shaped like an apple in which worms bob up and down, and players have to pluck them out with their fingers. The theme tune basically goes like this:
“Wiggly worms, you just can’t catch ‘em! Wiggly worms, you just can’t catch ‘em! They’re wiggly, they’re squiggly, they’re gonna get you giggly, you just can’t catch ‘em, Wiggly Worms”.
I never even had the game, and never wanted it, yet my mind always resets back to Wiggly Worms. It’s slightly eerie to think that a toy targeted at me during my childhood still lives with me some 10-15 years since I last saw it on TV. Subconsciously, this must mean that I am a damaged human being and should probably sue Matel for making this game in the first place, but I suspect that many other people suffer the same affliction, except they are plagued by jingles from different products.
So, if you’re reading this, let me know what adverts are stuck in your mind. I’m interested to hear about jingles from your childhoods which just suddenly pop into your mind. Together, maybe we can form support groups and work together to undo the damage done to us by the Bumble Balls, Coco Pops and Tyco RCs that plague our adult lives.