Saturday, 1 October 2016

Richard D. Trentlage R.I.P.

Richard D. Trentlage, the composer who wrote the famous jingle "The Oscar Meyer Weiner Song", died on September 21 2016 at the age of 87. The cause was heart failure.

Richard D. Trentlage was born on December 27 1928 in Chicago. He took to music early, taking guitar lessons when he was only 12. He was a senior in high school in Chicago when he began writing jingles. His first jingle was one for a fictional product, Modern Plastic Brooms, created as a sponsor for his high school's talent show, which took the shape of a radio programme.

Mr. Trentlage went onto work for such advertising agencies as McCann-Erickson and D’Arcy. It was in 1962 that he found out, only a day before the deadline, that Oscar Meyer was holding a contest for a jingle for their hot dogs. Her recalled one of his sons had used a slang phrase for someone who is cool, saying, "I wish I could be a dirt-bike hot dog." This gave Richard D. Trentlage the opening words to his jingle, "Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener." It would be a year before "The Oscar Meyer Weiner Song" was chosen as the winning entry. Oscar Meyer tested the jingle in 1963 in Houston, Texas, where it proved very popular. It then went national where it proved to be one of the most popular advertising jingles of all time. It would be used in Oscar Meyer commercials from 1963 to 2010.

While none would be as successful as "The Oscar Meyer Weiner Song", Mr. Trentlage wrote many other jingles. For McDonald's he wrote “McDonald’s is your kind of place.” For V8 he wrote “Wow! It sure doesn’t taste like tomato juice." For a National Safety Council seatbelt campaign he wrote, “Buckle up for safety, buckle up!” For Tums he wrote "Tums for the tummy." Given his success, he founded his own firm for writing commercial jingles  Adver/Sonic Productions. He also wrote a book about writing jingles, What's the Big Idea?, published in 2006.

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