John Travolta in the shower and a bologna sandwich-eating kid are your favorite old commercials

We asked readers to weigh in on their favorite commercials and jingles over the years. And many of you had the same handful of answers, "Back Then" columnist Tracy Briggs says.

Tracy Briggs (right) and a friend throwing imaginary hats in the air in front of the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown Minneapolis.
Tracy Briggs
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MOORHEAD — You know the old saying “Great minds think alike?” Well, that’s definitely true when you ask people to chime in on their favorite and least-favorite old TV commercials.

After we ran the first column a couple of weeks ago where I celebrated the likes of Clara Peller asking “Where’s the beef?” and Heather Locklear detailing how she told two friends about her shampoo and they told two friends, etc., I heard from many of you with some other unforgettable classics.

They fell into three basic categories: favorite jingles, most memorable slogans and most sentimental spots. So in no particular order, let’s walk down memory lane via Madison Avenue. Here are some of our readers’ favorite old spots.

Favorite jingles:

"I am stuck on Band-Aid": This popular jingle was written by Barry Manilow and the first rendition in 1975 starred Teri Garr and a young John Travolta.

"My bologna has a first name": This 1978 jingle starring an adorable 4-year-old fishing on a dock became one of the most beloved and longest-running commercials in history.


"Who wears short shorts?": This spot won a Clio award for Nair hair removal in 1976 and has been remade into the 21st century.

"Plop, plop, fizz, fizz": This jingle for Alka-Seltzer doubled the brand's sales when it started airing in the 1960s.

"From the land of sky blue waters": Many a Minnesotan knows this 1979 ad by heart.

"Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee": This ad from the 1960s was so popular it’s been made over several times through the decades, despite many people mistaking the lyrics as "nobody does it like Sara Lee."

Most memorable slogans

Some of these slogans were also jingles, but perhaps are most remembered as slogans.

"Ring around the collar!": Wisk detergent.

"A little dab’ll do ya": Brylcreem.


"Oh Culligan Man!": Culligan water softener.

"Calgon, take me away!": Calgon bath powder.

"Ancient Chinese secret, huh?": Calgon water softener.

Most sentimental

"Hey kid, catch!": A true classic from the ‘70s where a little boy gets an unexpected gift from an injured and crabby Pittsburgh Steeler.

"Peter comes home for Christmas": The ad for Folgers Coffee debuted in 1986 with a college student surprising his family, including his very little sister, for the holidays. Later spots show the little sister as a college student, too.

"Santa sliding down a hill on a Norelco razor": One reader wrote, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I see this commercial.” Americans have been seeing a version of the spot since 1961.

Thanks to all of you who joined in on the fun! Watch for more polls soon.

Tracy Briggs (right) and a friend throwing imaginary hats in the air in front of the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown Minneapolis.
Tracy Briggs

Tracy Briggs is an Emmy-nominated News, Lifestyle and History reporter with Forum Communications with more than 35 years of experience, in broadcast, print and digital journalism.
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