Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo. Or so I have been reliably informed.
Um Bongo is a fairly mediocre juice drink which attained mild popularity in the UK around the mid to late nineties. It’s probably still available for all I know, but I haven’t noticed it on supermarket shelves for many years. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “What’s for dinner?” or “I wonder, if I were to throttle a Smurf, what colour would he turn?” but in between these important ponderings, you may also wonder why I’ve chosen to write about a relatively unimportant juice drink.
They (i.e. The Um Bongo Marketing people) are responsible for reprogramming my brain. It was like MK Ultra, only with tropical blended fruit instead of mind altering substances. My prepubescent brain decided that it craved Um Bongo, solely based upon the catchy advertising jingle.
Drink a carton down, and you’ll feel unremarkable. This is ultimately a bad thing, so I suspect the manufacturers put more time and effort into their promotion campaign, which consisted of various jungle animals juggling fruit and singing about it.
It completely sucked my childhood self in. So much so, that when my brain is idle (essentially 93% of the time), the Um Bongo theme plays on a loop, like a mind screensaver. I believe that I have been brainwashed by advertising execs, and am considering legal action.
In a desperate bid to expel this from my mind, I tried to imagine another advert from my childhood. I came upon the equally infuriating Wiggly Worms song “Wiggly Worms, you just can’t catch ‘em”, which has become an alternate screensaver and is driving my adult self wild with a mixture of frustration, and extreme nostalgia.
The bastards at Um Bongo HQ tried to rush my demise through earlier with the advent of a spin off drink named Um Ognob. Those of you with eyes will have noticed this is Bongo spelled backwards. They even had a spinoff advert in which they declared “UM OGNOB?!” in an obnoxious and startled manner. When I was ten, shouting “UM OGNOB?!” was a way of declaring mild surprise.
Congo representatives have been unavailable to comment as of publication time. Regardless, might I point out how deep my psychological scarring is by asking you to read the first word of every paragraph I’ve written so far? Yes, that infuriating jingle even permeates my writing. However, let me leave you with a YouTube video of the offending article: