This is the thirtieth in a series of examinations of music legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here to view an archive of the previous music urban legends.
MUSIC LEGEND: Doublemint gum adapted Chris Brown’s “Forever” into a gum commercial.
Whether you think you are familiar with Chris Brown and his hit single, “Forever,” or not, there’s a very decent chance that you heard it as part of the very famous internet video of the wedding where the entire bridal party dances to the song (eventually parodied/referenced on the TV series The Office)…
In any event, the song in the video is Chris Brown’s “Forever.”
As you might notice in the song, there’s a line about “double your pleasure, double your fun,” which is the slogan for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum.
A variation of this song aired in 2008 as a commercial for Doublemint gum with Chris Brown starring in the commercial…
At the time, most folks presumed that, like many many commercials out there (from iPods to Ford Trucks to Caribbean Cruises), Doublemint was using a popular song for their commercial.
Heck, if you check out this YouTube clip of the commercial (courtesy of YouTube user ilikechrisbrn)…
then you will see that ilikechrisbrn even lists the video as “Chris Brown in a new TV commercial for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum featuring the new jingle based on Forever.”
However, amusingly enough, it is actually the OTHER way around.
You see, Doublemint actually commissioned Chris Brown to write a new jingle for Doublemint, and when it proved to be quite catchy, he then proceeded to expand the jingle (and write new lyrics for it, of course) and that turned into “Forever.”
While at first some radio stations were a bit wary about playing a song that was commissioned as a jingle, the song was so catchy that it ended up getting plenty of airplay.
In fact, Brown’s record label actually went BACK TO PRESS on his late 2007 record release, Exclusive, to include the unexpected hit song, calling the new June 2008 release Exclusive: The Forever Edition.
Pretty amazing journey for one song, isn’t it? From a jingle to a hit single to being the soundtrack for one of the most popular web videos ever (45,000,000 views and COUNTING)!
MUSIC LEGEND: The cereal Wheaties was saved from termination by a radio jingle.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
The jingle was still in its infancy when General Mills aired the following “song” on the radio in Minnesota on Christmas Eve, 1926 (sung by an unnamed male quarter, retroactively named “The Wheaties Quartet”)…
Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.
They’re crispy and crunchy
The whole year through,
The kiddies never tire of them
and neither will you.
So just try Wheaties,
The best breakfast food in the land.
At the time, the argument was that the above song wasn’t technically an advertisement, but rather, just a song that was wondering if people ate Wheaties (yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but there were some bizarre rules about advertising on the radio at the time that basically everyone had to wink at and then maneuver around as best as they could – this was how General Mills tried it, and hey, it worked!).
You see, though, Wheaties was not a particularly good seller for General Mills at the time.
The exact numbers are obviously a bit nebulous, but most figures I have read said that in 1929 they were selling roughly 50,000 boxes of Wheaties nationwide (General Mills’ official history says 53,000) – not a very good total, and General Mills was getting ready to shut the line down (it had only begun in 1924).
However, the head of advertising at General Mills, Sam Gale, argued that while, yes, the cereal only sold 50,000 boxes, 35,000 of those boxes were all in the Minnesota region! While granted, that’s where Wheaties was originally created, it seemed hard to believe that they would be responsible for such a high amount of the product sales. So he argued that instead of canceling the line, they should try the same jingle in other parts of the country.
They gave it a try, and wouldn’t you know it – the sales on Wheaties soared!
And the rest, I suppose, is history…
Thanks to General Mills’ official history on their involvement with radio for the information!
MUSIC LEGEND: The famous “I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who” part of the Monotones’ “Book of Love” was inspired by a Pepsodent commercial!
If you’re compiling a list of the most famous lines from do wop and early rock ‘n’ roll history, you simply would have to include The Monotones “I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who (who wrote the book of love)” from their 1957 hit single, “Book of Love” (a song that became so popular that the record company that originally released the record literally could not meet the demand for the song, so they had to have it be re-issued by a major record label in early 1958).
What’s even more amazing than the coolness of the line (and the song itself, which is an utter classic) is what INSPIRED that great line.
Lead singer Charles Patrick (shown above) drew his inspiration from, of all things, a Pepsodent commercial!
Pepsodent was a popular brand of toothpaste in the first half of the 20th Century.
In the latter half of the decade, its lack of fluoride made it pale in comparison to its competitors like Crest and Colgate, so while it still exists today, it is not even vaguely on the same level as those other toothpastes.
In any event, during the mid-50s, they had a popular TV commercial with cartoon characters extolling the virtues of Pepsodent’s whitening powers.
A couple of young men admire a young woman’s smile…
She credits Pepsodent…
And the commercial then tells us that with Pepsodent (get ready for their slogan)…”You’ll wonder where the yellow went!”
Check out the progression…
Here, courtesy of YouTube user vexamatic, is the old commercial…
As you can tell, while it’s not blatantly the same sound (it’s not like they’re saying “You’ll wonder, wonder, whe-where the yellow went”), you can definitely see how it inspired Patrick (interestingly enough, Patrick has quite a nice smile!).
Now I feel almost cheated that we never had a great pop song involving “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz”!!!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org