Here’s another series of adverts that a generation of Brits has forever filed away in the section of their brain labelled “Once seen, never forgotten”.
Yes, it’s the insanely catchy, you’ll-never-get-it-out-of-your-head (in a good way) Trio advert, featuring the bombastic cartoon singer, Susie (“Too loud…”)
Trio, for the uninitiated, was a biscuit (or cookie, if you are American) sold in the UK from, I think, the early 80s until a few years ago when they were discontinued by makers Jacob’s.
As the name suggests, they were made up of three distinct parts: a shortcake-y biscuit base, three dollops of a caramel-flavoured topping (in the advert, it looks quite runny and chewy but, in fact, it had more of a soft fudge consistency), all covered in milk chocolate, with the bar divided into three blocks.
The adverts were inspired by a 1957 novelty record by satirical comedian Stan Freberg (left) called Banana Boat (Day-O), which itself was a parody of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song), a traditional Jamaican calypso work song popularised by Harry Belafonte‘s 1956 recording.
Like the Trio TV advert, Freburg’s version of the song features a laid-back, beatnick bongo player complaining that the singing is too loud.
So, let’s start with the original Trio TV advert. You might recognise the distinctive tones of the late, great British DJ John Peel delivering the advert’s sign-off at the end:
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Next, here are a few follow-up adverts, also featuring Susie and the bongo player:
Okay, that’s all the Trio adverts I could find. Here is Stan Freberg’s Banana Boat (Day-O) song for comparison. Rather than just embed an audio-only version of it, I found this excellent amateur puppetry/lip sync video for the song, made by Paul Maxted, Karen Elvin and Colin Soper.
And last, but not least, here is Harry Belafonte performing his version on TV with a little “help” from The Muppets: