Inappropriate Walk Up Music: “Joy of Cola”

For an intro to this series, click here. For the original series way back in 2009, click here.

In the last two years, I’ve done two comprehensive retrospectives on Mets seasons: The 1999 Project and In the Year 2000. Both have required me to watch and listen to as many old games as I can get my hands on. While it can be uplifting to relive old vicarious glories, there is an odd danger in doing this: Getting old commercial jingles stuck in your head. The primary example is the old Pepsi tune “Joy of Cola.”

This is demonstrative of how quickly an ad campaign can explode, and how quickly it can recede. I would guess that this song has not been heard by anyone other than myself in a good eight years. But if you were alive in the late 1990s/early 2000s, this jingle was completely inescapable. I believe it was engineered in a secret CIA black ops lab where audiologists concoct deadly ear-worms. The song’s refrain–bup bup bup-bup baaaaah–has the perfect blend of unfuriatingly annoying and unshakable.

In TV spots, the jingle was accompanied by the adorable moppet Hallie Kate Eisenberg. She would often lip sync the jingle and dialogue recorded by famous folks like Aretha Franklin. Why was this so popular? That’s a very good question!

Like any corporation would, once Pepsi found out a formula for success–catchy song + cute little girl–they ran it into the ground. There was a version with the girl as a DJ, mouthing a monologue from Isaac Hayes. (Not creepy at all!) Another ad showed her in an Italian restaurant talking like Marlon Brando as The Godfather while dozens of unsavory stereotypes were celebrated.

For pure hateability, however, none was worse than the ad featuring KISS. I certainly hope someone was prosecuted for child abuse for putting this poor kid in dumb makeup and, even worse, making her stand near Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. I’d say this is the worst thing KISS ever did, but their list of crimes is long and varied.