Cruzio Internet jingle contest winner

Jingle contest winner Tim Hartnett with esteemed Cruzioworks manager Andrew DiMarzio

The day after last year’s crazy-as-usual Santa Cruz Halloween, Cruzio got a whole new party going for our friends, customers, and community. 

giant inflatable aliens

Cruzio staffers Tony and Cam placing giant inflatable aliens on our awning

We made this — our 30th(!!) anniversary bash — ultra-special with giant inflatable aliens on the roof, a fantastic 80s throwback playlist, and… a jingle contest.

Why a Jingle?

Why a jingle? Maybe we were feeling the need for a song.

Until November 1st, 2019, Cruzio was a company without a jingle. We had a beloved kitty logo, a well-functioning website, a big sign on our building. All those things make you feel like a real company. But we were missing that elusive element and it haunted us. We’d listen to Kars4Kids, and think, okay, that’s them. But who are we? What’s our melody?

Sure, we are exaggerating, and maybe a company can exist without a jingle. But we really did think a contest would be fun, and it would give our community the chance to write the song. We have a lot of talented musicians in Santa Cruz and it was a way to give amateurs a chance (in fact, the ultimate winner was an artist who’d never been paid for his music). So we offered a big prize and sent out notices to all the music stores in town. And we got 21 entries over the course of four weeks.

Not All Jingles Sound Alike. At All.

What kinds of songs did people submit? We loved the variety:

  • Reggae
  • Head-banging metal
  • Electronic
  • Cowboy
  • Instrumental
  • Yodeling (we had some arguments about the definition of yodeling, but it sounded yodel-y)
  • Rap
  • …and some that were undefinable

Surprising lyrics, too. A lot more “baby” and “bro” and “yeah yeah yeah” than we expected. One of our favorite jingles started out, “Today is a happy day.” That’s so Santa Cruz!

How’d We Decide?

We spent a few weeks with headphones on, listening over and over to how our musically talented community defined their home-town ISP. By the time of the party, we’d memorized most of the songs — the ones that we could make out the lyrics to, anyway. (Somehow, our perceptive marketing staffer Brian was able to decipher *all* the lyrics, Even the fuzziest ones. So we asked him for help a lot.) We sat at a meeting and sang along with all the songs to see how they felt. We had a lot of fun. You might say, fun was the point.

And we were right about the talented people in our community. We had some amazing songs, and some folks came and performed at our big party. We’ll never forget the tremendous air-guitar lip-sync one of the contestants did to the head-banger metal song. Another group did a little skit about a computer. All that enthusiasm made it hard to choose.

We were looking for a song that was catchy but not annoying, that was performed well, and that spoke to our Cruzio ethos: not just fast internet, but fair treatment of our customers, staff, and community. That’s a lot to fit into 15 seconds.

jingle contest judges

Our judges, conferring in chambers

But we had help. We didn’t just call on our creative community of Santa Cruz for jingle writers. We also got the best of the best to judge. Here were our esteemed judges:

  • Andrew Smith from experimental music promoter and record label Indexical
  • Jon Luini  from music, web, and video producer Chime Interactive
  • Alana Matthews, music fan from Cruzio
  • Ani Zickuhr, artist and brand specialist from Cruzio
  • Thea Luini, teen judge, representing the youth of America

Because they were judges, they wore curly white wigs. Each provided expert commentary, and helped us pick the prizes.

And here are the results:

Overall winner: Tim Hartnett, “Get Connected with Cruzio”

Judges’ favorite: The Jingleberries, Surfing with Cruzio”

Crowd favorite (from applause at the party): DreamTonic, “Today is a Happy Day”
(by the way, DreamTonic just released a single called I Take to You)

People’s Choice (received most online votes): Jon Benson and band, “At the Speed of a Click”

Want to hear all the jingle entries and see if we made the right choice? Here’s every entry we got. (It doesn’t take long to listen to all of them, they only last seconds, not minutes.)

Want to know what local artists wrote about Cruzio in their jingles? Here are all the lyrics.

And here’s a video of our 30th year party!