An earworm is a song or song fragment that gets stuck in your head, on endless repeat, for a day or a week or more. According to the experts, about 90 percent of people experience one at least once a week.
Advertising slogans or catchphrases might not be earworms, exactly, but they do tend to impinge on our consciousness with great regularity, especially while the campaigns featuring them are running.
Over long periods, every time you’d see a commercial for Life cereal, you’d hear “Mikey likes it” — and probably replay the phrase in your head for a while afterwards. Likewise, if somebody mentions “the real thing,” chances are you’ll think of Coke, even if the phrase was uttered in completely unrelated circumstances. And the evocative sensuousness of the phrase “Finger lickin’ good” quite possibly helped make KFC one of the top 10 chicken chains in America.
These slogans imprint themselves through the simple tactic of constant repetition. For a given period of time, virtually every billboard, internet or magazine ad, TV commercial, and product package is likely to repeat the same succinct branding message. Slogans introduced in high-traffic contexts, like the Super Bowl, may affect us even more strongly. (These are the biggest Super Bowl advertisers of all time.)
Even when new campaigns take their place, older oft-repeated taglines tend to stay with us, sometimes becoming part of the vernacular — like “Where’s the beef?” or “Breakfast of champions.”
Here are a dozen particularly indelible food and drink slogans. Even if you haven’t thought of some of them in ages, you’ll probably start thinking of them again now.