America Runs On Dunkin'

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America Runs on Dunkin' was an ad campaign for Dunkin' Donuts created by marketing agency Hill Holliday, which featured dozens of commercials with new original short songs by They Might Be Giants between 2006 and 2008.

In 2011, John Flansburgh looked back on the project:[1]

Through the mid-00s TMBG recorded a couple dozen songs for television and radio commercials for Dunkin Donuts. It was an impossibly open-ended assignment and easily the most fun we’ve ever had working for television folks. The creative team there would often just give us small sets of words to work off of, and "Karate!" might be the most extreme example—and yet it turned into something far more universal than one might imagine.

Two songs that were originally used for the campaign as commercials, "Tree" and "Got Getting Up So Down", later had extended versions featured on the They Might Be Giants albums Why? and Phone Power in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The song "Eight Hundred And Thirteen Mile Car Trip" from Here Come The 123s was cowritten by Hill Holliday's Tim Cawley, implying it may have originally been a song written for this campaign.

Aired Commercials[edit]

Ad Name Length First Aired Watch
Round 1:
A Ton Of Stuff 0:30 April 2006 Youtube.png
Early Fishin' 0:30 April 2006 Youtube.png
Lunch Is Over 0:30 April 2006 Youtube.png
Lunch Is Over (Radio Version) 0:30 April 2006 Radio only
Pleather 0:30 April 2006 Youtube.png
Things I Like To Do 1:00 April 2006 Youtube.png
Tree 0:30 April 2006 Youtube.png
I'm In A Rut 0:30 May 2006 Radio only
Snack Machine 0:30 May 2006 Radio only
One Billion Degrees 0:30 May 2006 Youtube.png
Karate! 0:25 June 2006 Youtube.png
Round 2:
Human Interest 0:30 September 2006 Youtube.png
Alarm Clock Catastrophe 0:30 October 2006 Youtube.png
Autopilot 0:30 October 2006 Youtube.png
Fritalian 0:30 October 2006 Youtube.png
Got Getting Up So Down 0:30 October 2006 Radio only
Job Interview 0:30 October 2006 Youtube.png
Lefty Loosey 0:30 October 2006 Youtube.png
Round 3:
Bleachers 0:30 January 2008 Youtube.png
Steps 0:30 January 2008 Youtube.png
All Night Blowout 0:30 April 2008 Youtube.png
Moving 0:30 April 2008 Youtube.png

Unaired Commercials[edit]

Among the dozens of songs They Might Be Giants recorded for the ad campaign, some went unused and remained unheard until years later.

They Might Be Giants Podcast[edit]

Though not always explicitly stated, many songs likely originally recorded for the campaign were released in the They Might Be Giants Podcast. They can be identified by being commercial length (usually 0:30) with space for a voice-over at the end, and feature lyrics discussing topics like food, coffee, waking up, commuting and working.

Song Podcast Episode Description
8 AM Podcast 51 previously unheard, confirmed as radio ad
A Ton Of Stuff (Demo) Podcast 44 alternate aired ad without voice-over
Alarm Clock Catastrophe Podcast 49 aired ad without voice-over
Burning Coffee Podcast 43 previously unheard
Contraption Podcast 23A previously unheard
Got Getting Up So Down (Extended) Podcast 9A extended version of aired ad
Historical Landmarks Podcast 52 previously unheard
I'm In A Rut Podcast 11A aired ad without voice-over
Lefty Loosey Podcast 52 aired ad without voice-over
Paper Jam Podcast 41 previously unheard
Pleather Podcast 57A aired ad without voice-over
Pork Rinds Podcast 50 previously unheard
Tree Podcast 53 aired ad without voice-over

Songs About Coffee[edit]

YouTube artwork for "Songs About Coffee"

On November 15, 2020, They Might Be Giants released an 18-minute YouTube video called "Songs About Coffee" featuring 28 Dunkin' Donuts jingles, including aired, unused and alternate versions. The description of the video refers to Tim Cawley, a creative director and copywriter at ad agency Hill Holliday who helped create the commercials:

An 18 minute diversion for these times. All praise to Tim C. and the players who made each song special.

The songs appear to be included roughly in alphabetical order, which would indicate the filenames or titles that were used for some of the songs are variants of their known titles. The assumed titles based on alphabetical order are listed below.

Song Description
1. 8 AM previously unheard, different version than Podcast 51
2. Alarm Clock Catastrophe aired ad without voice-over
3. All Night Blowout aired ad without voice-over coda
4. ¡Ándale! (Fritalian) aired ad without voice-over, plus "¡ándale!" during ending
5. Auto Pilot aired ad without voice-over
6. Burning Coffee previously unheard, different version than Podcast 43
7. Contraption unaired, previously heard in Podcast 23A
8. Contact Lens previously unheard
9. Doing Things Is What I Like To Do (Demo) previously unheard acoustic version, possibly demo
10. Doing Things Is What I Like To Do aired ad without voice-over, plus instrumental intro
11. Early Fishin' aired ad without voice-over
12. Hall Of Fame previously unheard
13. Historical Landmarks unaired, previously heard in Podcast 23A
14. Human Interest aired ad without voice-over
15. I'm In A Rut aired ad without voice-over, previously heard in Podcast 11A
16. Jimmy The Mechanic previously unheard
17. Karate aired ad without voice-over
18. Kung Fu Movies previously unheard
19. Lefty Loosey aired ad without voice-over, previously heard in Podcast 52
20. Linoleum previously unheard
21. Lunch Is Over aired ad without voice-over
22. Make Mine To Go previously unheard
23. One Billion Degrees aired ad without voice-over
24. Out Of The Office previously unheard
25. Packing A Ton Of Stuff (Demo) alternate version, possibly demo, previously heard in Podcast 44
26. Pleather aired ad without voice-over
27. Steps (Demo) previously unheard alternate version, possibly demo
28. Super Hot Mowing previously unheard


Some of these songs could have aired or been released under alternate titles, or may still remain unheard.

Song Description
Crowded Beach listed with Dunkin' Donuts jingles on TMBG's BMI repertoire
No Crumb Left Behind uploaded to SoundCloud in 2012 by the Creative Director of the ad campaign
One Car Motorcade leaked unofficially in October 2006
Pretty Sweet Car listed with Dunkin' Donuts jingles on TMBG's BMI repertoire
Things You Could Do listed with Dunkin' Donuts jingles on TMBG's BMI repertoire,
possible dupe entry of "Things I Like To Do" (which is in BMI as "Anthem")
Turbocharged listed with Dunkin' Donuts jingles on TMBG's BMI repertoire
Whole Extended Family listed with Dunkin' Donuts jingles on TMBG's BMI repertoire

See also[edit]

External links[edit]