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The Magic of the Mister Softee Jingle
On a hot summer day, nothing beats the sound of that Mister Softee jingle getting louder.
For kids and plenty of adults, a visit to the ice cream truck is peak summer bliss. In the Philly area, ice cream trucks are synonymous with Mister Softee. It was right here in Philly that James and William Conway first started their “ice cream parlor on wheels” in West Philly nearly 70 years ago.
Mister Softee’s grown up a lot since then, bolstered by a number of smart marketing moves that balance summer nostalgia with innovative new ways to reach customers.
But it all started with that jingle.
As a lengthy Philadelphia magazine spread details, the Mister Softee jingle was originally written for a radio spot by Philly ad man Les Waas in 1960. The company’s used it ever since.
While other ice cream truck songs have more troublesome origins, Mister Softee’s tinkly tune has long served as a rallying call for neighborhood kids, with a range just far enough to give them time to go searching for spare quarters.
Ice Cream for a Song
For Mister Softee, that song isn’t just a brand element, it’s a business imperative. Ice cream trucks measure success by the quantities of custard they can sling at key moments – particularly that narrow window of time after dinner and before bedtime.
Mister Softee takes other steps to maximize efficiency during that time, like making its menu easy to read for kids waiting in line and keeping its ice cream options relatively small (60 to 80 percent of sales are vanilla ice-cream cones, one driver told Philly mag.)
There’s something delightfully nostalgic and spontaneous about relying on a song to let customers know where you are. Mister Softee has looked for more modern ways to connect with customers. Individual trucks like this one in Myrtle Beach, SC, have a dedicated social media presence alerting followers to their current location and upcoming routes. The company also has an app for true Mister Softee superfans.