Nowadays, the commercial jingle seems to be disappearing from the advertising landscape, replaced by pop tunes and wordless background music. But for decades, the simple catchy tunes were ubiquitous, blanketing the television and radio airwaves with songs about everything from bologna to bananas, from stomach medicine to State Farm.
The commercial jingle was once so common, it can be hard to imagine a time before it existed. But, as The Atlantic reports, the jingle likely got its start all the way back in 1926, when a Minnesota company called Washburn Crosby hired a barbershop quartet to promote its struggling cereal, Wheaties. As you probably know if you’ve ever visited a grocery store, the resulting radio ad was a success, saving the cereal from extinction. While there’s some debate as to whether the song was really the first commercial jingle, or just one of the first, the ad indisputably inspired other advertisers to set their own ads to music. Listen to the strangely mournful Wheaties jingle above.
[h/t The Atlantic]