“My Bologna Has a First Name”: The Origins of Oscar Mayer’s Iconic Jingle

An effective jingle outlasts its ad campaign, and the Oscar Mayer bologna song is a perfect example of this. If you say “my bologna has a first name” to someone who watched television in the 1970s, they may not be able to resist responding with “it’s O-S-C-A-R.” The famous jingle did more than teach the world how to spell B-O-L-O-G-N-A — it made Oscar Mayer the first name American consumers associate with the lunch meat, even decades later. So, how exactly did the iconic jingle come to be? In 1974, Jerry Ringlien, Oscar Mayer’s former Vice President of Marketing, penned the educational jingle. It was originally meant to be sung by a group of children playing on a playground. Because of their ages, the commercial would have cut between them so no one kid would have to memorize and sing the song in its entirety. The lyrics included a lot of spelling, making it especially tricky for the young performers, but the plan changed the day of filming. With some extra time left at the end of the shoot, the director asked the kids if any of them could sing the jingle straight through beginning to end. A 4-year-old actor named Andy Lambros volunteered, and the footage of him nailing the song in one take became the commercial viewers fell in love with. The ad was a major boon for Oscar Mayer, and it boosted its young star’s career as well. Lambros went on to become the face of more than 20 commercials, including advertisements for salt, jelly, and potato chips.