Saturday, December 8, 2007

L C Van Savage and Me

Our local newspaper columnist and now public television personality, L C Van Savage, complained in a recent column that old advertising jingles keep popping into her head, and sometimes, out of her mouth. One of the ones she mentioned was the Rheingold Beer song. Oddly enough (she's about 10 years older than I), the Rheingold Beer jingle is one of the ones that pops into my head too, but only at this time of year. Actually, there are two. One is
My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer,
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer.
Season's greetings to you
From your favorite brew
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
and the other starts out:
Rheingold Beer, Rheingold Beer,
Rheingold Extra Dry....
Of course, the latter is sung to the tune of Jingle Bells. The former, I learned some time later, was sung to the tune of the Estudiantina Waltz by Emile Waldteufel. The year-round jingle is even mentioned in the Wikipedia article on said waltz.

Why has this jingle stuck in my memory? Just before Christmas of 1957, my family returned from two years in Germany, where television was on only in German and for a very few hours a day, and the radio was Armed Forces Network, with no commercials. I don't remember a huge culture shock, but obviously all the singing commercials made a deep impression on me. (I remember the Robert Hall one too, as well as Bosco and Bonomo's Turkish Taffy.) Rheingold Beer was a local New York beer, probably available in Connecticut where we lived as well; and we listened to and watched New York radio and TV stations. Rheingold was well-known for sponsoring the Miss Rheingold contest. I don't believe I've ever tasted it.

I hear and see very few commercials these days, but my impression is that it's much more common now for advertisers to buy the rights to use popular songs as background for their commercials. I know they do this, but I can't call to mind any particular song-product association. I wonder if it's as effective as the old advertising jingles, or is it just effective in a different way?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chock Full of Nuts used to have a coffee commercial that included "A better coffee Rockefeller's money can't buy". This part of the jingle was changed to "a better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy" after there were complaints about using Rockefeller's name.

I agree that past advertisements with their own original jingles stay with us for many years unlike today's advertisements.