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Rewind: When a 1950s Love Song Became 'Uh-Oh SpaghettiO'

CheeburgerOs Joins Brand Once Marketed as 'Greatest Invention Since the Napkin'

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Uh-Oh … CheeseburgerOs?

SpaghettiOs, paired for decades with meatballs or sliced franks, has added a cheeseburger flavor, called CheeburgerOs. The launch represents only the third time the 48-year-old Campbell Soup Co. brand has added a new meat variety.

Of course, SpaghettiOs has experimented with countless pasta shapes and flavors over the years, from PizzOs and CheesOs in the 1980s to TeddyOs, SportyOs and Where'sWaldos in the 1990s to Dora the Explorer shapes in the 2000s.

One thing that has remained constant is the brand's familiar "Uh-Oh SpaghettiOs" jingle, created when the brand launched in 1965. Early marketing proclaimed the O's as the "world's first spoonable spaghetti," an innovation that one vintage ad heralded as "the greatest invention since the napkin."

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The jingle is based on the song "Oh-Oh I'm Falling in Love Again," which was recorded in 1958 by Jimmie Rodgers, who also sings the SpaghettiO jingle in early ads.

The father of the SpaghettiO is Donald Goerke, referred to by Campbell as the "DaddyO of SpaghettOs." He is also credited with introducing Chunky Soup. Mr. Goerke, who worked for Campbell from 1955 to 1990, died in 2010 at the age of 83.

In an Ad Age obit, Mr. Goerke's son Brian said his father was a great marketer because of his mathematical background. "He had a master's in statistics, and so when he started his research, he knew his numbers," he said. "But he was also a creative kind of guy who liked advertising and brand management, so to have somebody who knew the numbers and could work with agencies and creative types ... it's not a usual kind of combination."

Before his death, Mr. Goerke's creation garnered some pop-culture prestige when the Urban Dictionary in 2003 created an entry for "Uh-Oh SpaghettiOs" defining it as "an expression of regret over a goof."

The Os themselves are hardly a goof. The brand remains a major player in grocery stores, controlling about 20% of the $671.5 million prepared-pasta category, according to IRI.

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