How John R. Cook’s Marketing Genius Catapulted a Brand and Jingle.
Once you get the jingle in your head, it’s tough to get it out. Lookie, Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie has become synonymous with Cook’s brand over the years. But, are you aware of how the song became the focal point for the pest control company?
As it was commonplace in the 1960s for local TV stations to create their own programming, in 1965, WAAY-TV approached the local Cook’s office in Huntsville, Alabama, to sponsor a children’s television show. Couple that with John R. Cook’s professionalism and humorous personality, which had a flair for promotions, and Cook’s was well on its way to becoming a household name through events the company was hosting for children. Jim Kearney, a Cook’s employee, acted as the master of ceremonies of these events, and so when the TV station approached John with the idea of Jim Kearney hosting a show as a clown, John quickly suggested a Keystone Cop-style policeman instead of a clown. It also set Cook’s apart from Golden Flake who had a clown as their mascot.
John wanted to ensure that the character was not only comical but also protected the integrity of the company. As they say, the rest is history. The Keystone Cop, Cookie, was an instant hit with children and television viewers in Huntsville. Cookie even drove around town after school in a paddy wagon with fake bars on it, and with parents’ permission, the children rode to the TV station in the paddy wagon to tape the show. Cookie’s popularity also led to the redesign of Cook’s logo as the Keystone Cop.
In the 1960s, John and his wife Jo modified a song from an old movie into a jingle that would become Cook’s Pest Control’s most enduring move to date. Lookie, Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie! Cook’s Pest Control was developed and would catapult the Keystone Cop into further popularity. In 1971, John worked with a Nashville, Tennessee, advertising agency on a series of commercials that used the jingle. After realizing that the jingle stuck in people’s minds, a series of commercials were developed featuring the singing Keystone Cop. Puppets of the character were even developed by renowned puppeteer Tom Tichenor. The puppets also began to appear on local television.
The jingle has remained part of the overall Cook’s branding and marketing strategies. The marketing focus eventually switched to quality service and superior training of technicians; however, the jingle never faded. To this day, people love the Cook’s song.
An excerpt from the book about the company entitled Employee Number 2 highlights the charm of the jingle:
People loved the song and would sometimes pull up beside Cook’s service trucks in traffic and sing to the technicians. At a social gathering during a national pest management convention, a top executive with a large pest control company quietly confided to John, “I hear that jingle of yours all the time. My children sing it to me.” Outwardly, John remained calm, but inside he was ecstatic!
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