Lakewood, NJ - Kars-4-Kids Jingle Drives Some Listeners Insane
Lakewood, NJ - Anyone who spends 15 minutes listening to the radio has felt its wrath.
The plunking of the piano, the out-of-tune child, the off-key, slightly-creepy male voice that follows.
Over and over again, the music plays at all hours of the day, until you feel like someone is threading your eardrum with a knitting needle.
1-8-7-7 Kars for Kids
K-a-r-s Kars for Kids
1-8-7-7 Kars for Kids
Do-nate your car ta-day
(The commercial can be heard in its entirety at www.kars4kids.org .)
It’s not just me. A quick Google search for “kars 4 kids jingle” produces a trove of infuriated listeners, including some who are close to committing acts of violence. Their spelling errors, undoubtedly made in a blind fit of rage, have been corrected.
• “As irritating as a hemorrhoid!”
• “That stupid song is gonna send me to a padded cell if I hear it again.”
• “The Kars 4 Kids radio jingle makes me want to set my hair on fire. If I could find the person who wrote that, I would shoot them with a harpoon gun.”
• “I seriously was considering suicide last night thanks to this craptacular commercial.”
• “It will burrow into your skull and slowly gnaw away at the gray, squishy parts. It will never leave you.”
• “I have actually gotten out of the shower on the fifth or sixth note - risking electrocution - to shut off the radio because that damn song is so God awful.”
• “Damn you Kars-4-Kids!”
Who are these Kars-4-Kids people?
And why are they so intent on making our ears bleed?
Based in Lakewood, N.J., Kars-4-Kids is the charitable arm of Joy of Our Youth, “a national organization providing for the spiritual, emotional and practical needs of Jewish children from impoverished or dysfunctional families,” according to www.kars4kids.org.
The group’s big goal is getting Jewish kids enrolled in Jewish schools, with the sale of donated cars helping to accomplish that mission.
Kars-4-Kids manager Esti Landau said the commercial first aired about six years ago. She was aware the jingle has become somewhat of a sensation - for better and for worse.
The goal isn’t to drive people into bouts of madness, she said, but to burrow the Kars-4-Kids brand into enough heads that the notion of donating an old car to the charity automatically pops up when the time comes to buy a new car.
The strategy has been largely successful, she said.
To saturate the market locally, the commercial plays several times a day on the most popular AM radio stations, including WBBM, WGN and WLS. There are rock, reggae and country versions of the jingle for other markets and station formats.
“We try not to make people set their hair on fire, but the jingle is very effective,” Landau said. “The campaign has worked for us. We hit a lot of people.”
She said all of the voices in the commercial are affiliated with the organization.
Not everyone is a hater, either.
Some listeners have called asking for an mp3 cut of the commercial.
Landau said a boy who benefited from the charity walked down the aisle at his uncle’s wedding while the Kars-4-Kids song played.
She pointed out that companies coming up with corny, catchy jingles are nothing new. A former Chicago resident, she recalled the old Empire Carpet commercials.
“That’s still stuck in my head,” Landau said. “And I’ve been out of Chicago for 10 years.”
At that rate, we should still be hearing the “1-8-7-7 Kars 4 Kids ...” chorus in our ears until 2050.
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