Our Daily Bleg: What Ads Are Stuck in Your Head This Century?

Our resident quote bleggar Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, is back with another request. If you have a bleg of your own, send it along here.

Well, now that I’ve alienated every lover of contemporary culture, it’s going to be a challenge to get back to the very popular “Name a memorable line of the 21st century” blegs.

It is clear that many readers of this blog believe that today’s film is better than ever before. I will just note that if you asked the contemporary directors themselves, they undoubtedly would not consider themselves to be qualitative peers of past directors such as Hitchcock, or even close to that.

Freakonomics blog readers seem more hesitant to affirm that today’s popular music is better than that of the past. I wonder, if I had asked for comparisons of current literature or visual arts with that of past centuries, whether I would have gotten the same kind of presentism people expressed about film. I’m not sure I want to see those answers!

Curiously for such an old fogey, my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, was regarded by reviewers as drenched in modern popular culture in comparison with stodgier volumes such as Bartlett’s.

Anyway, let’s try to get back on track. The Yale Book of Quotations includes 140 well known advertising slogans. I would welcome suggestions of famous advertising slogans from the 21st century (i.e., 2000 to 2008 or 2001 to 2008). I recognize that dating advertising slogans is tougher than dating films or songs, so I won’t be too unhappy about 20th-century suggestions.


The q. is "what ads are *stuck in your head* this century", therefore the consensus winner would have to be "Where's the Beef?!"

I'm 32, and don't remember the ads themselves but I do have memories of trying to remember them. I think I've heard this is how memories work in all cases but the Beef?! ads are distant enough that the dislocation is commonsensical to me.

What I more clearly remember: Everyone was into the Beef?! ads so I perked up to join in. The follow-up ad that I caught onto was sung in the tune of Do-Re-Mi and begun "Dear McDonald's. Dear McDonald's. we're sorry" and went on to dog MacD's in a manner so vicious that it mini-traumatized me. Anyone else remember?

OC Girl

This is a really local commercial heard around LA/OC on the radio. I know this is the NY Times, but this was always stuck in my head:

Well you won't get a lemon

-I wouldn't have got a lemon?

From Toyota of Orange!


1."Hi, I'm a Mac" "and I'm a PC"

I love the old Geico commercials that talked about something random then suddenly talk about Geico.

"this is the freshwater salmon"

"it goes to the sea every year to reproduce"

"this is where the salmons life usually ends" [shows bear eating fish]

"but i have good news...

I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!"

Keith Weintraub

"... no but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night"


I want my baby-back baby-back-baby-back-baby-back...

Chili's baby-back ribs

Chili's baby-back ribs

bbq sauce.


Kiril's right though - Eastern Motors is the catchiest jingle I have ever heard.


the drug commercials about chemical reactions lasting "more than four hours" are a bit infamous... (not to mention inappropriate for my children)


The ones that got stuck in my head:

M&M's Christmas Commercial:

Red M&M: "He Does Exist"

Santa: "They do exist"

Kai Tang

"I'm Lovin It" - McDonald's

"Can you hear me now?" - Verizon Wireless

"..I saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico" (and its variations) - Geico


I think the ad for the ice cool gum with the hot girl on a train, breathing on the window and writing her phone number in the frost works for me.

The US Army's "army of one" and the Air Force's "above and beyond", now "air, space and cyberspace".

One from radio - Air Force Reserves - "we're America's wingman".

Applebee's that has the "mini's" commercial with the miniature red Mini coupes driving on the table/bar?

The Marine ad with them doing their silent drill at various historical places across the nation including Hoover Dam. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwY67LYzH7Q


Century 3


Lebanon Church Road Pittsburgh

(Minutes from the mall!!!)

Okay, only people from Pittsburgh will know that, but EVERYONE from Pittsburgh knows it and can sing it, too...

Double Mint gum commercials, too...


1) "Mon ami, I do not believe it, I too am a legionnaire!"

-or any of the variations of "Yes, I am!" by Bud Light

2) "I love you man!" by Bud Light

Jason Ping

"Johnny Walker, keep walking."

. . . in a straight line if possible,

Hiram Ortega

"We know why you fly"

-- American Airlines


"More bars in more places",

and (i think older, but)

Live and learn, then get luvs.

Jack N

"Got a little Captain in You?"


You Are Now Free to Move About the Country (Southwest Airlines)


Im lovin' it (McDOnalds)

Have it your way (BK)

Hungry? Why wait, grab a snickers

Wonder if its a coincidence that food ads seem to be the most memorable.

scottywhatty bid-nis man

"I'm Tom Bodette for Motel 6....We'll leave the light on of ya."

"Eastern Airlines... with more nonstop flights and the most on-time arrivals than any other airline!" Oooops! sorry I was dreaming of

a wonderful place during a simpler and long forgotten time..:)

scottywhatty bid-nis man


Now here we have a slogan that's ironically perhaps the most accurate representation of the headless and corrupt Adminstration's aggregate performance over these past 8 yrs.than any other icon or event.

A question for History buffs and Trivia wizzards:

How many folks remember , at the time it was proposed and sold to "We the People", that the scope of this campaign was tauted as an agile, far-reaching, highly interventional military strategy propelled by the laser-vision -like precision of well-informed/intelligence (cough) as a "global campaign"' designed and equipped to thwart the threat of terror in any and all forms anywhere on planet Earth. (I hear the

sounds of crickets.) Hmmmm. That's pretty much the kind of response I'd expect. Oh, and it was also supposed to be a campaign

that would maintain "concurrent front lines of combat" globally (as opposed to...oooh say, becoming dragged down to its knees on the first mission in one tiny sandbox by the persistent and deceptive forces of opposition who don't play these war games the way the US military leaders would prefer.

In retrospect its utterly mindblowing how this country has tolerated Dubbya's unprecedented stream of bumbling incompetence and poor judgement. It would only stand to reason that most folks may have a vastly different or nill assessment and recall of what this slogan was represented to be...nevertheless it will remain noteworthy and incite debate for decades to come.


Concerned Citizen

The Yellow Pages -- Life. Listed alphabetically.

(Why do I always think that's clever? Maybe it was James Earl Jones' voice that did it...)

The Coors Light "Wingman" commercial: "But she's towin' an anchor... a junior investment banker..."

"So buy her a beer, that's the reason you're here... mighty wingman..."