There’s an Eggo commercial I get a lot of on YouTube. As it happens, I don’t skip ads for a lot of my viewing because I’m trying to give content providers I care about the pittance they’ll get from them. But this one, I don’t skip because I actually really enjoy it. It’s a bunch of parents singing about how much parenting sucks sometimes. I love my kids and also feel this in my soul. I will actually find myself singing it under my breath while driving or something sometimes. It’s one of those commercials that’s just going to live in my head forever.
My partner claims not to understand this. He was kind of alarmed when I started rattling off Jack in the Box commercials I could remember in detail—my best friend and I will quote, “Your hands would be covered in meat and cheese!” at one another, and that commercial is more than twenty years old. Cal Worthington and his dog, Spot, also left him bewildered, though of course he never lived in Southern California. I gave him a few more examples, and he didn’t know any of them, and then I mentioned the Tootsie Pop owl. He said, “One . . . two . . . three.”
They’re all in there somewhere. I, for one, never eat a Tootsie Pop (not that I do that often) or see my children eating one without thinking about the commercial. Arguably, this is effective as hell. The whole point of advertising is to live rent-free in your head and make you think of it when you’re making purchasing decisions. The plan is that I will sing the little Eggo song under my breath in the frozen food section of my local grocery store and buy theirs instead of Franz or the store brand.
As it happens, I don’t. I don’t generally buy frozen waffles. When I do, I buy them for the kids, and sometimes, there’s an Eggo-specific one they want, and sometimes, I buy the store brand. But I’m a waffle snob and make my own—I’ve even been known to make batches to freeze so I can have good frozen waffles. I eat at Jack in the Box, but only if I’m in the mood, and I seldom get the burger the “your hands would be covered in meat and cheese!” commercial advertised. I know everyone says advertising doesn’t work on them, and I’m sure most people are wrong. These are just my examples; we’ll leave Cal Worthington out of it, because I’ve never bought a car from a dealership—or in California at all.
There are a lot of commercials that are clearly trying to be that iconic and failing. There are no few that try to be that iconic and are just annoying, and a lot more simply sink without a trace. And I’ll admit I do think of Tootsie Pops on a higher level than Charms, but I don’t think that’s the commercial; I think that’s the preference for the Tootsie Roll center to the crappy bubble gum center. But I do think, were I to buy mint-flavoured gum for someone (I don’t care for mint), I’d be inclined toward Doublemint because of those twins.