Wednesday, December 9, 2015

TMFW 118 - The #1 Frozen Pizza

Today's TMFW is short, and to the point, and wonderful: in 2006 and 2007, two different frozen pizza jingles reached the top of the charts in Norway.
The pizza in question is called Grandiosa. It is the most popular brand of frozen pizza in Norway and a sort of national dish; 24 million of the pizzas are sold each year, even as Norway has less than 5 million people.  That's almost 5 pizzas per person!  By comparison, the most popular brand in the US makes around 90 million pizzas for a population of 318 million - less than 1/3 per person.
Facing increasing competition in the early 2000s, Grandiosa invested heavily in marketing to maintain their brand dominance.  As part of that campaign, they worked with the Norwegian musician Lars Kilevold on a new theme song for their pizza.  Kilevold had reached #1 in 1980 with his song "Liver er for Kjipt" ("life is too short") and #2 in 1987 with "Ute til Lunch" ("Out to Lunch"), so he knew his way around a catchy tune.
The result of Kilevold's work was a song called "Respekt for Grandiosa." Credited officially to "Grandiosa," it became a ringtone sensation (remember when ringtones were a Big Deal?) and as a result reached number one on the VG-lista (the Norwegian version of the Billboard Top 40) for eight weeks in 2006. The album cover for the CD single looked like a Grandiosa box, and the CD looked like a pizza.  Pretty clever stuff.
Grandiosa followed up "Respekt for Grandiosa" with "Full Pakke," a song that celebrated the "full package" of toppings available on their pizza.  That song - complete with choreography - reached number one (for only two weeks this time) in 2007.  If you want to learn the "full pakke dance," TMFW's got you covered.  
BONUS FACT:  The 1993 satire/sci-fi/action movie Demolition Man sort of predicted today's TMFW.  When Sylvester Stallone arrives in the future, his handlers try to make him feel more at home by playing an "oldies" station on the radio.  It is made up entirely of "mini tunes" (aka commercials), and it is the most popular station in town.  
BONUS FACT 1.5:  Here's the real live 1960s Armour hot dog ad - complete with reference to "tough kids" and "sissy kids" - that Sandra Bullock and Benjamin Bratt are singing along to in the Demolition Man clip above.  And for good measure, here's Bart and Lisa Simpson doing it, too.
BONUS FACT 1.75:  A famous joke in Demolition Man is that all restaurants in the future are Taco Bell, as they are "the only restaurant to survive the franchise wars."  That's a pretty good gag.
BONUS FACT 1.875:  Apparently, the studio felt that Taco Bell was not famous enough around the world for people in other countries to get the joke.  So in international versions of the movie, the lone survivor is changed to Pizza Hut.  
BONUS FACT 1.9375:  Keeping with the "mini tunes" theme, when Mr. Stallone and Ms. Bullock go into the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut in the clip above, the piano player is doing a rendition of  the 1960s "Valley of the Jolly Green Giant" advertisement.
BONUS FACT 1.96875:  The combination of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell above gives me a good excuse to post the love-it-or-hate-it song "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" by Das Racist.  (I, for one, love it.  It is beautifully stupid.)
BONUS FACT 2: Grandiosa pizza has a "Hot Nacho" variety, with little baby tortilla chips on top.  Between that and the world dominance of Angry Birds, Scandinavians are clearly geniuses.

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