Whatchamacallit: 6 sweet '80s jingles you'll never forget

Diet fads were pretty much powerless against these jingles.

At the same time that Lean Cuisine attempted to convince snackers to count calories, some of the country's sweetest products had to get extra creative in the '80s to keep anyone with a sweet tooth coming back. From updating spokesmen to upcoming stars like Scott Baio or Bruce Willis, to inventing words like "Whatchamacallit" and "S-Crunch-Ous," commercials for products like wine coolers, sodas and chocolate bars were often colorful, chaotic and based on strategies where seemingly anything goes.

The only continuity? Catchy-as-heck jingles people have been humming for decades. We recommend that you keep ignoring unhealthy diet fads and get your fix below.

1. Seagram's Wine Coolers - 1986

The '80s were a great decade if you were a dude who likes to drink what society deems as girly drinks. That includes initial ads for Diet Coke, which ended with TV's Kojak, Telly Savalas insisting he favored the drink "just for the taste." It also includes a series of ads from Seagram's where Bruce Willis touts their wine coolers. Willis had already become a familiar face through guest appearances on Miami Vice and The Twilight Zone, but he'd become a household name as the star of Moonlighting the year before. That made the timing right to bring Willis in to belt about Seagram's and win over guys cracking open cold ones on porches everywhere.

2. Dr. Pepper - 1981

Although actor David Noughton made Dr. Pepper's "Be a Pepper" jingle famous in the late '70s, the 1981 update featuring Scott Baio was likely a natural evolution for audiences hooked on Happy Days and getting ready for Joanie Loves Chachi. This was a notable time for Dr. Pepper fans for a different reason, though. As sugar prices soared, Dr. Pepper joined other soda companies shifting away from the sweetness to embrace high fructose corn syrup, but a Dr. Pepper plant owner in Texas refused to follow suit. Thus, Dublin Dr. Pepper was born.

3. Nestle Toll House Cookies - 1988

"Nothing says cookie, I love you ..." like this throwback Nestle Toll House ad from 1988, when the sweet cooing of this drippy jingle continued the legacy of one of the world's most copied cookie recipes. Classic TV fans will likely note that the cookie company also pulled in Polaroid spokeswoman Mariette Hartley, who has also guest starred in shows like Bonanza, Star Trek, The Bob Newhart Show, Little House on the Prairie and many more.

4. Slice - 1988

"You got it!" That was what Slice hoped to convince you with a catchy jingle from 1988, which interspersed classic clutziness from Abott & Costello and Charlie Chaplin to portray those who did not "get it." The Pepsi drink came in 15 different flavors but is best known for their Mandarin orange Slice, featured prominently in the ad below.

5. Nestle Crunch - 1988

"S-Crunch-Ous" was the word in 1988, or at least that's what Nestle would have had people believe in this ad, which featured Olympic skaters Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner spinning on ice before the slogan. It may not have stuck as much as other popular slang from the time — like George Carlin's "F-Bomb" (which Good Housekeeping names as the most popular term to come out of 1988) — but it didn't stop people from humming the earworm back in the day.

6. Whatchamacallit - 1989

"Whatever it is," the Whatchamacallit has to be one of the most addicting jingles ever aired, but only to those glued to TVs in the '80s. The candy bar took Nestle's "S-Crunch-Ous" strategy to the next level, really committing to the idea that people just eat mysteries right up. While the original jingle singer struggled to find the right word for the candy, the song ensured it was seared on '80s kids minds for good.


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