Peculiar Pittsburgh

Inside Pittsburgh’s iconic jingles: Art, science, psychology — and nostalgia

R.I.P. “Minutes from the mall!”

"Minutes from the mall!"

"Minutes from the mall!"

Screengrab from YouTube
Rossilynne Culgan

If you’ve watched even an hour of TV in Pittsburgh, a stealthy earworm has likely crept into your brain. Even if you moved away and haven’t heard this tune in years, it’s likely you can still recite the siren song luring unsuspecting Pittsburghers to West Mifflin.

Century III Chevrolet.

Lebanon Church Road,

Pittsburgh.

Minutes from the mall!

The car dealership ad has been a fixture on local television for nearly three decades, but recently the internet noticed that last line — the chipper “minutes from the mall!” — had vanished, perhaps because of the well-publicized woes of Century III Mall.

But it turns out, the phrase was removed four years ago, the dealership said.

So what’s the story behind the jingle? What makes a simple tune so successful? And what other Pittsburgh jingles stand out?

It turns out, the jingle is a lesson in art, science, and psychology.