If You’ve Got Nothing To Say, Sing It

At least, that’s the conventional wisdom in advertising circles.  Which may explain why the ad jingle has fallen into such bad favor: what brand manager would ever admit their product is anything less than exceptional and life-changing?

Sure. jingles launched the career of Barry Manilow.  And yes, many of us can recite complete lyrics from commercials we last saw decades ago.  Still, the notion of describing a product experience in song doesn’t make much sense to people today.

That alone makes the video below something of a curiosity.  But the lyrics to this brand song for Johnson Outboard Motors are truly mind-boggling.  It’s hard to believe there was ever a simpler, more innocent time when an ad with lyrics like these could get out…  It’s hard to imagine the studio singer belting this out with a straight face.  If you saw something like this today, it would inevitably be done by those winking, leering laddy boys of Axe.

I’ll admit; I’m one of those carbon-burning bigfoots who thinks no Summer experience–not Wrigley, not golf, not the ocean–holds a candle to powerboating on a freshwater lake.  And so I genuinely understand the moments and feelings they’re trying to capture…

Still, I keep picturing a pair of mustached ad guys circa 1982 driving back from a client meeting in Waukegan, Illinois in their Chrysler Cordoba, the Eagles cranking on their radio as they cackle maniacally about how the clueless client bought the cut that ended with “You, your girl and your Johnson.”

They may have had to wait nearly thirty years for their cheek to be recognized, but there it is.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


5 thoughts on “If You’ve Got Nothing To Say, Sing It

  1. mark says:

    This is why the Peckerwood Hammer Company went bust. They couldn’t find an ad agency willing to use their motto: Peckerwood really bangs it.

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