The Sonic Branding Blog

  • The ChromeOrange Media Sonic Branding Team

Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz!

Updated: Oct 27, 2021




In 1975, the world first heard what would become a beloved, iconic jingle: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!" And the world became instantly aware that Alka-Seltzer® could cure their heartburn and indigestion. The jingle, which we here at ChromeOrange Media actually refer to as a micro-jingle, caught on for two reasons: * The melody is sing-songy and nursery rhyme-like, so it's easy to remember and sing along with. * The lyrics perfectly describe how the product works: Plop two tablets in a glass of water, and they immediately begin to fizz. And, for those of us who suffer from frequent indigestion, oh, what a relief it is! In the 1975 version, "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" and the relief it brought pertained to heartburn—you know, a chest-burning conflagration brought on by eating the wrong foods or eating too much of anything.


But, the product wasn't originally marketed for that purpose.

First marketed by the Dr. Miles Medicine Company of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1931 Alka-Seltzer contains three active ingredients: aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) (ASA), sodium bicarbonate, and anhydrous citric acid.


Aspirin is, of course, a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and fever reducer; sodium bicarbonate is an antacid; and citric acid reacts with the sodium bicarbonate and water to form effervescence. Alka-Seltzer is marketed for relief of minor aches, pains, inflammation, fever, headache, heartburn, stomachache, indigestion, acid reflux and hangovers. Part of the 1970's commercials were the spoken words, "I can't believe I ate the who-o-o-o-o-o-o-le thing!" And then came the iconic sung part of the commercial: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!"


Paul Margulies (father of actress Julianna Margulies) created the famous "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz" ad campaign when he worked as a Madison Avenue ad executive. The ubiquitous jingle was composed by Tom Dawes—a former member of The Cyrkle. Interestingly, the slogan was altered to "Plink, plink, fizz" in the United Kingdom.


Alka-Seltzer TV ads from the 1960s and 1970s in the US were among the most popular of the 20th century, ranking number 13, according to Advertising Age. To increase sales in a relatively flat business, Bayer has revived several of the vintage spots, and fast forward to 2021, and they've put a fresh face on the iconic Alka-Seltzer jingle. Now, we hear "Cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze [chanted] means it's time for [spoken] plop, plop, fizz, fizz [chanted]" in advertising for Alka Seltzer Plus.


And the "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" part serves double duty as an instrumental audio logo at the end of the commercial. It's not our work, but we love to give kudos when it's well deserved. This is, in our opinion, a simply brilliant repurposing of a highly effective audio asset. What most people don't know is that Alka-Seltzer has been easing cold symptoms for way longer than just 50 years. Alka-Seltzer debuted in 1931. The flu was actually its inventor's original target. But because of its effervescent nature, people quickly discovered that the fizzy tablets also relieved indigestion caused by over-indulgence. As the years rolled by, ingredients for cough suppression were added, and Alka-Seltzer Plus® was born. So, the use of Alka-Seltzer for coughs and colds is not new. But "Cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze means it's time for plop, plop, fizz, fizz" is, and it couldn't be a more perfect brand refresh. Go ahead... try to get it out of your head. It's not going to happen!


Like we say in our Brands Like Hit Songs sonic branding masterclass, high-performing sonic identities (a/k/a audio logos, sonic logos) are like hit song choruses: they HOOK you.



For more information about sonic branding and the application of sound and music in brand messaging and customer experience, visit our sonic branding page or email us at info@chromeorangemedia.com.