This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: March 24, 2005

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...

Americans seem to have a love-hate relationship with television commercials. Most folks will tell you that they detest TV ads and will do just about anything to avoid watching them: videotape programs and then fast-forward through the ads, use the TV remote as a toggle switch between ads and programming, purchase TIVO or other similar DVR systems or even figure out ways to use the V-Chip as a stealth weapon against commercials.

As for the love? According to a comScore survey conducted in the week preceding Super Bowl XXXIX, 28 percent of those planning to watch the event said they were more interested in seeing the advertisements than the game (old Super Bowl ads can be viewed at http://www.superbowl-ads. com/).

And if the Web is any measure, then TV-ad lovers greatly outnumber detractors. One of the few Internet sites that show any enmity toward TV commercials is Commercials I Hate (http://www., while Web sites that pay homage to television commercials appear to number in the hundreds—ad haters probably should stop reading this column now.

If you are a fan of old TV commercials (and I mean old—several of these ads were made more than 45 years ago), then you must check out the Prelinger Archives (http://www. The Prelinger Archives is an Internet site devoted to preserving ephemeral, uncopyrighted films. TV commercials can be found by typing the word "commercials" into the site's search box. Classic television commercials that can be found here include those for Muriel cigars, RAID bug killer, Band-Aid, Maxwell House Coffee, Chevrolet, S.O.S. cleaning pads, Gillette razors, and Tide laundry detergent. If you enjoy seeing Lucky Strike cigarettes doing a square dance, then the Prelinger Archives is the place for you.

OK, so you may not exactly love TV commercials, but you do find some of those jingles and accompanying music quite catchy—who can't complete the rest of "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" and who needs Oldies radio stations when you can hear so many '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s songs right on your TV? Jingle junkies, fear not; there are Internet sites for you and a great place to get your fix is at Advertising Jingles (http://www. Here you can listen to some old time favorites, such as: "I'm a pepper, he's a pepper, she's a pepper...," "this Bud's for you," "the best part of waking up...," "ask any mermaid you happen to see...," "my baloney has a first name"—you can even hear the percolator sound for Maxwell House Coffee, and a deep-voice saying "behold the power of cheese."

There also are several Web sites that focus on the music of television ads: (, TV Ad Music (http://www., Commercial Breaks and Beats (http://www., Music from TV Commercials ( and Sounds Familiar (http://www.soundsfamiliar .info/).

Presidential-campaign commercials, TV ads with lesbian and gay themes, cigarette advertising on TV, cheesy television commercials, soccer commercials, funny commercials, controversial commercials, commercials that celebrate Western stars who use their fame to make large sums of money in a short time by advertising products in Japan ( )—the list goes on and on, and you can find links to all of these topics at Yahoo—Television Commercials (< strong>

If the Yahoo site isn't enough, one always can type the words "television commercials" into Google and get more than 4 million hits.

Given all this interest in television advertisements, you can't help but wonder if the best thing that commercial television has to offer is the commercials themselves.

—Don Hartman, University Libraries