Flashback Friday: “I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Weiner”

The recent newsworthy events surrounding Congressman Anthony Weiner have led me to choose a particularly appropriate advertising campaign for this week’s Flashback Friday.

Anyone with a childhood should certainly remember hearing (and singing) the Oscar Mayer Weiner song.  But when did that jingle first fall upon the ears of Americans nationwide?

Let’s see.  According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, it all began back in 1962.

In 1962, J. Walter Thompson, the country’s largest advertising company, ran a contest to create a jingle that the Oscar Mayer Co. could use to advertise hot dogs. Richard Trentlage, a Chicago ad man, won the contest with a tune called “The Wiener Song” whose lyrics were:

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener,
That is what I’d truly like to be-ee-ee.
‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener,
Everyone would be in love with me.

The jingle appeared in commercials that reached 49 million families. Families! And I have it on good authority that “The Wiener Song” has aired in 19 countries, been featured on a Hallmark card, and, of course, become an unforgettable part of American advertising.

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