The New York Times is reporting that Richard Trentlage, the author of a number of popular advertising jingles—most notably “the Oscar Mayer wiener song”—has died. Trentlage was 87.
A veteran of the jingle game—he also wrote “McDonald’s Is Your Kind Of Place” and the National Safety Council’s “Buckle Up For Safety”—Trentlage reportedly wrote the iconic “I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener” in a single hour, inspired by an off-hand comment from one of his kids. Submitted as part of a contest, the song would become the sound of Oscar Mayer for 45 years, until the company retired it in 2010. Endlessly repeatable, the infectious earworm was referred to as “one of the great single accomplishments in advertising history” by one public relations professor the Times sought out for comment.
A native of Chicago, Trentlage began practicing the jingle-writing game early, even writing a song for a fake product—“Modern Plastic Brooms”—for his high school class. According to the Times, the ditty was catchy enough that people were still singing it five decades later, at the class’s 50-year reunion in 1997.