Chew on This: Hit Song Is
a Gum Jingle
Ethan Smith and Julie Jargon
The Wall Street Journal
July 28, 2008
Sharp-eared pop-music fans may
have noticed a brief reference to an old chewing-gum
jingle buried in "Forever," Chris Brown's top-10 hit.
"Double your pleasure/double your fun," the R&B singer
croons in the chorus.
What listeners don't know -- and what Wm. Wrigley Jr.
Co. planned to reveal Tuesday -- is that the song is a
"Forever" is an extended version of a new Doublemint
jingle written by Mr. Brown and scheduled to begin
airing next month in 30-second spots for Wrigley's
green-packaged chewing gum.
Mr. Brown is one of a trio of pop stars enlisted by ad
agency Translation Advertising, a unit of Interpublic
Group of Cos., to update the images of three of
Wrigley's best-known brands.
The campaign includes spots featuring R&B singer Ne-Yo
doing his own take on Big Red's "kiss a little longer"
jingle. And "Dancing With the Stars"
regular-turned-country-singer Julianne Hough recorded a
twangy version of Juicy Fruit's "The taste is gonna move
But Mr. Brown's "Forever" is the most ambitious part of
the campaign. Mr. Brown was commissioned to write and
sing both the pop song and a new version of the
Doublemint jingle, introduced in 1960.
First, Mr. Brown updated the jingle and recorded it with
hip-hop producer Polow Da Don. Then, during the same Los
Angeles recording sessions in February, paid for by
Wrigley, Mr. Brown added new lyrics and made a 4½-minute
rendition of the tune, titled "Forever."
In April, Mr. Brown's record label, Jive, released the
song to radio stations and digital download services as
a single. After the song became a hit, Jive added it to
his 2007 album, "Exclusive," and re-released the album
in June. "Forever" reached No. 4 on Billboard magazine's
Hot 100 chart last week.
All three new Wrigley jingles are scheduled to be
unveiled at a news conference Tuesday in New York, with
each of them to be performed by the artist involved. Mr.
Brown is slated to sing "Forever" and segue into his
jingle. New television commercials and radio spots
featuring the jingles and print ads showing new
packaging for the gum are set appear in August.
The campaign illustrates a deepening of the ties between
pop music and advertising. Rappers frequently mention
luxury products like liquor or cars in songs, and
occasionally serve as paid spokesmen for the brands. And
for McDonald's Corp.'s 2003 "I'm Lovin' It" campaign,
the burger chain, with the aid of Translation Chief
Executive Steve Stoute, enlisted Justin Timberlake to
write and record a song using the slogan as its chorus.
But the song was never released on one of his albums.
Tom Carrabba, executive vice president and general
manager of the Zomba Label Group, which includes Jive,
says label executives initially had qualms about
releasing and promoting a song recorded at an
advertiser's behest. "But the song was so potent and
strong. That overruled us being maybe a little
hesitant," he adds.
Other than the "double your pleasure" line, the lyrics
to the song and the TV jingle are different. But the
melody and the music behind it are nearly
indistinguishable. "Tonight is the night to join me in
the middle of ecstasy," Mr. Brown sings in a verse that
is also part of a 60-second radio ad scheduled to air
starting Friday. "Cause we only got one night. Double
your pleasure. Double your fun."
The campaign was conceived and executed by Mr. Stoute, a
former senior executive at Interscope Records who counts
rapper Jay-Z as a partner in his business. The idea was
to connect the hit song and the jingle in listener's
minds. That way, Mr. Stoute says, "by the time the new
jingle came out, it was already seeded properly within
Mr. Brown said in an email that he wrote "Forever" and
the related jingle in about 30 minutes each. "I actually
thought it would take longer to write a jingle they
would like," he wrote. "But they said it was a perfect
fit after the first try."
Paul Chibe, Wrigley's vice president for North American
gum marketing, declines to disclose how much Mr. Brown
was paid for his role in the campaign.
Wrigley's push to update its older gum brands started
earlier this year, when the company began selling them
in new slim, envelope-style packages. Some of the gum
was reformulated to improve its flavor and make it last
longer. Juicy Fruit -- Wrigley's oldest brand, launched
in 1893 -- Doublemint, Big Red, Spearmint, Winterfresh
and the newer Extra line, represent around 30% of the
company's U.S. gum business.
Wrigley chose Mr. Brown to develop the new Doublemint
song, in part because the company's consumer research
showed that African-American consumers prefer Doublemint
to other gum brands. Mr. Chibe calls the move "the
future of the brand."
Mr. Chibe added that the mildly suggestive lyrics have
never given the company pause. "Everything he's done
with 'Forever' represents the brand and it fits our
brand personality for Doublemint," Mr. Chibe added.
While Wrigley has had strong sales in emerging markets,
it has lost market share in the U.S., where it faces
strong competition from Cadbury PLC, maker of Trident,
Stride and Dentyne. Last year, the company's North
American sales were flat, at $1.75 billion.
During the company's annual meeting in March, Chairman
William Wrigley said he was "far from satisfied" with
the company's domestic performance in 2007, though
results improved in the first quarter of 2008. In April,
Wrigley agreed to be acquired by Mars Inc., the closely
held maker of M&Ms and Snickers, for about $23 billion.
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