Commercial Jingles That Defined the Eighties
Long before James Reid’s Milo Champ "Moves" gave everyone a serious case of LSS, extremely catchy and memorable commercial jingles were a pop culture staple in ‘80s when the dominance of TV and radio were unchallenged by other forms of media. By combining pop songwriting sensibility with a deep understanding of the human psyche, these commercial jingles can still bring instant recall to those who grew up during those totally tubular times.
According to Merlee Jayme, Chief Creative Officer and Chairmom of creative agency Dentsu Jayme Syfu, a good ad jingle has all these: memorability, melody, and relevance to the brand. For Bobby Vito, Executive Creative Director at the DDB/Ripple8 marcom firm, “A good ad jingle uses music to simply but effectively make you remember the name and the best quality, attribute or benefit of a product or brand.”
We’ve compiled a few jingles that were shining examples from the best minds of the advertising industry. These were the songs that got stuck on repeat inside everyone’s heads and had them thinking about burgers, beer, juice, milk, nail polish, and air travel.
The Philippines’ answer to Tang in liquid form, Sunny Orange was an artificial juice concentrate that became popular because of its wallet-friendly pricing and wide availability. You could get it anywhere from Cherry Foodarama to stalls in the wet market. People were mixing Sunny juice drink as a favorite meryenda beverage or an ice candy treat. For almost the entirety of the ‘80s, it ran a short commercial with lyrics (“Sunny Orange I love you, lemon grape, and strawberry/ Sunny Orange tasty drink/ Sunny Orange super quality”) that most people of a certain age know by heart.
There was a time when Cindy’s restaurants were as popular as Jollibee or Wendy’s. Although they are known for their hamburgers and fries, they also had several items on their menu. The catchy jingle reminded you of the wonderful things what were available at Cindy’s. The visuals for the commercial was also quite unique at the time, combining live action and hand drawn animation.
We still can’t stop thinking of that chicken barbecue.
With its folksy tune and unpretentious lyrics, the Seiko wallet theme is probably the most remembered ad jingle of all time. Sung in Filipino, it proclaimed that Seiko was a wallet blessed by fate that’s made from genuine (pronounced as gin-yoo-wine) leather. You won’t be left out too since the designs, as the ad states, are up to global standards. To this day, Seiko wallet still uses the same jingle, but with an updated beat.
Caronia is a homegrown cosmetics company that has been around since the late ‘60s. Named after a British ocean liner, Caronia was the first locally made nail polish brand in country. The Caronia commercial from the ‘80s was a remake of an earlier 1968 ad. The lyrics were slightly tweaked and the visuals given a Cyndi Lauper music video makeover. In 2008, the band Imago made a new song for Caronia, but it wasn’t as memorable as the classic jingle.
Bear Brand Sterilized Milk “Lola, Let’s Dance”
Bear Brand’s nostalgic ad is mostly remembered for the dialogue between the kid and her grandad (“Is that you Lolo?”/”Yes, look at my mole.”) but the old-timey jingle is also worth nothing. Sounding like a Nat King Cole tune, you can almost imagine the jingle being played on a gramophone. The commercial takes a trip back in time to show the grandad in his youth with period-appropriate costumes and set design. When the time frame shifts back to the present, the tempo of the jingle then moves at a more modern pace.
Coca-Cola “Tomorrow’s People”
Coca-Cola’s “Tomorrow’s People” was a global campaign that featured the famous jingle sung in different languages. For the English version in the Philippines, newcomer Lilet was tapped to deliver the song that began with the unforgettable “I am the future of the world/ I am the hope of my nation/ I am tomorrow’s people/ I am the new inspiration.” The commercial was shot in England and it had an international cast that reflected the song’s global message of hope across generations.
Philippine Airlines “Shining Through”
Created after the first Edsa People Power revolution, PAL’s “Shining Through” campaign successfully showed ‘the beauty of the Philippines’ to both local and foreign travellers. The ad highlighted the country’s stunning vistas accompanied by a superbly composed theme sung by Rage band member Juan Miguel Salvador. It was directed by Trevor Hone, an Australian who decided to live the country after shooting the commercial. The “Shining Through” ad eventually won several awards. It was even selected as a finalist for the prestigious Clio Awards in New York.
San Miguel Beer “SiBoom”
San Miguel Beer ads were at the top of their game during the ‘80s and the most memorable SMB commercials came from these period. In the festive “Siboom” ad, members of the APO Hiking Society (who also sang the jingle) and comedian Bert ‘Tawa’ Marcelo are all mesmerized by a morena-skinned beauty played by newcomer Rachel Lobanco. After watching the ad, audiences were chanting “SiBoom, SiBoom”. Due to the popularity of the commercial, Lobanco became known as the "SiBoom girl."
Even back then, Jollibee ads were known for their charming narrative approach. In “Ligaw”, a jittery suitor comes face to face with his most intimidating adversary: the girl’s dad. The song plays over the dialogue musical theatre-style, and echoes the sentiments of the boy. The boy is interrogated by the dad until he is asked the final question as to where he’s taking the daughter. The answer, of course, is Jollibee.