Prolific jingle writer Larry Killip on being 'the most famous person nobody knows'

I've held many jobs on my meteoric rise to the lofty heights of digital video producer at Newshub. Digging ditches and post holes, retail jobs, office jobs, kitchen jobs, even the holy grail of 9-5 portals to hell, the outbound-sales call centre CSR (no disrespect).

The best jobs were always the ones where you could have the radio on, blaring away in the background. That helpful distraction from drudgery, the modern labourer's equivalent to the chain gang's work song, pushing us through sweltering sun or bitter drizzle on the eight-hour march toward 5pm.

A good work song should be easy to sing and most importantly memorable. I suspect that the majority of pop music is designed with exactly this in mind. Whether you like it or not though, nothing in the radio soundscape is as potently catchy or more memorable than the ad jingle.

Larry Killip's catalogue of work includes the iconic Skyline jingle.
Larry Killip's catalogue of work includes the iconic Skyline jingle. Photo credit: Newshub

My partner Jacqui has often commented on my uncanny recall of jingles. Even decades after they've been off the air I'll find myself singing a tune while making coffee in the early hours of the morning only to realise that it's from an ad for corn chips or ice blocks, remembered from childhood.

A good friend of mine, Blair Walker, is every bit as affected and twice as passionate about the nostalgic importance of these micro hits. He thinks of the jingle-writers as artists of equal cultural importance as the ones who do the bits that play in between the ads, the pop musicians themselves.

So it only made sense that he'd seek out the creators of these infectious little song shards to explore their full catalogue of work. Time and again, there was one name that kept coming up in his research, Larry Killip.

Larry has been writing jingles since the 1980s and is responsible for some of the most unbearably catchy and recognisable jingles in the business. So Blair and I paid him a visit to ask him what it's like to be the most famous person that nobody knows.

Watch the video for the full interview.

Sam Harvey is a digital video producer at Newshub and Blair Walker is a broadcast editor at MediaWorks.