- Crazy Frog
Crazy Frog Background information Origin Gothenburg, Sweden Genres Electronic dance music Years active 1997–present Labels Ministry of Sound, Universal, Mach 1
Crazy Frog, originally known as The Annoying Thing, is a computer-animated character created in 2003 by Erik Wernquist. Marketed by the ringtone provider Jamba!, the animation was originally created to accompany a sound effect produced by Daniel Malmedahl in 1997 while attempting to imitate the sound of a Trabant, the East-German car powered by a two-stroke engine .
The Crazy Frog spawned a worldwide hit single with a remix of "Axel F", which reached the number one spot in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia and most of Europe. The subsequent album Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits and second single "Popcorn" also enjoyed worldwide chart success, and a second album entitled Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits was released in 2006. The Crazy Frog has also spawned a range of merchandise and toys, and two video games.
In 1997, 17-year-old student Daniel Malmedahl recorded himself impersonating the noises produced by internal combustion engines. He posted this on a website and caught the attention of a Swedish television researcher, who convinced Daniel to perform the sound live on air. After it debuted on television, recordings of his performance began appearing on file sharing networks and various websites under the filename "2TAKTARE.MP3" ("Tvåtaktare" is Swedish for "Two stroker").
The sound was adopted as the sound of a formula one car as early as 2001 in the form of "Deng Deng Form" and later "The Insanity Test" both of which were a static background of a Ferrari Formula One car accompanied by the sound. However the sound was later adopted as that of a motorcycle for its most well known format.
In late 2003, fellow Swede Erik Wernquist encountered the sound effect and, not knowing about the previous incarnations of the sound, was inspired to create the 3D animated character he named "The Annoying Thing" to accompany it. Wernquist worked on the first animation in his spare time using the LightWave 3D modeling application, and the whole process took between 6 to 8 weeks. In October 2003 he posted it on his website and on the CGTalk forum.
The animation was a popular attraction at Erik's website, but the sound was credited to "Anonymous". Eventually, word reached Daniel that his impressions had been used in a now well-known animation. He contacted Erik, apparently giving an impromptu performance to confirm his claims. Erik was convinced, and gave credit to Daniel for his creation.
The animation received attention through filesharing and word of mouth, and when Ringtone Europe and Jamster België (now both merged into Jamba!) got wind of this, realizing the monetary possibilities through capitalizing on the underground cult-status they licensed the rights to the creation, renaming it "Crazy Frog" and starting to market it in mid-2004.
In an interview with HitQuarters Wernquist expressed his displeasure at the choice of name:
- “If I had known that this was going to be such a big thing I would not have allowed them to use that stupid name. It has nothing to do with the character. It’s not a frog and it’s not particularly crazy either”
"Axel F" (a remix of the 1980s Harold Faltermeyer song), was released on 23 May 2005 and became one of the most successful singles of the year 2005. "Axel F" debuted at number one in the UK, remaining there for four weeks. The song was then knocked off the charts by rapper 2Pac's single 'Ghetto Gospel'. Similar success took place in Australia and many parts of Europe, and the song remained on the charts for many months in various countries worldwide. However, the song apparently failed to catch on as well in the US and Japan, where it reached No.50 and No.48 respectively. The "Axel F" music video was produced by Kaktus Film and Erik Wernquist, and centers on the pursuit of the Crazy Frog by a bounty hunter. He reprises his role as pursuer of the Crazy Frog in all subsequent videos.
Popcorn (a remix of the Gershon Kingsley song) was released on 22 August and premiered with a choreographed cheerleader performance on Top of the Pops.The performance does the same thing in Universal Studios Singapore. It also reached No.16 in Australia and Top 20 in much of Europe, in many cases while "Axel F" was still charting.
Riding on the popularity of these initial single releases, an album entitled Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits was released on 25 July. It contained several Frog remixes of existing songs like "Pump Up the Jam" and the Pink Panther theme, as well as several original tracks such as "In the 80's" and "Dirty Frog". It reached No.5 in the UK, No.8 in Australia and topped the charts in New Zealand. Surprisingly the album performed much better in the US than the "Axel F" single, reaching #19.
A special Christmas edition of Crazy Hits with numerous holiday-themed bonus tracks was released in November, backed with a double A-side single release of "Jingle Bells/U Can't Touch This". The single peaked at No.4 in Australia and No.5 in the UK.
In May 2006 the Crazy Frog contributed two tracks to a British compilation album entitled Football Crazy released to coincide with the 2006 World Cup — "Ole Ole Ole (Do the Froggy Wave)" and "Na Na Na, Hey Hey". A second album entitled Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits was released in June 2006, continuing in the musical vein of the first release with Frog versions of songs such as "I Will Survive", "Ice Ice Baby", and "I'm Too Sexy". The second single release is "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)", again a World Cup-oriented track perhaps drawing inspiration from the earlier Football Crazy songs.
The third album, titled Everybody Dance Now was released on 13 July 2009 and the first single, a new version of Daddy DJ, on August 2009.
On 17 February 2005, a group of producers naming themselves Pondlife announced the release of an unofficial single featuring the Crazy Frog sound entitled "Ring Ding Ding". This release was backed by DJs Wes Butters, Trevor Jordan and Daryl Denham along with studio-owner Maurice Cheetham.
On 19 March 2005, Pondlife held open auditions to find a live action Crazy Frog to star in their accompanying music video. "Ring Ding Ding" was released on 6 June 2005 and reached No.11 on the UK Singles Chart, two weeks after the Axel F version had charted.
On 27 June 2005, a dancehall reggae song by L.O.C. sampling the Crazy Frog sound titled "Ring Ding Ding (Frog)" was released in the UK. It reached No.58 on the UK pop charts, and higher on reggae charts.
In February 2005, viewers submitted a number of complaints to the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding Jamster!'s advertising campaign, complaining that Crazy Frog appeared to have a visible penis and scrotum. Some parents complained that this made inappropriate viewing for children. There were also complaints regarding the frequency with which the advertisement appeared on television, reportedly up to twice an hour across most of the day, with some channels showing it more than once per commercial break.
The ASA did not uphold the complaints, pointing out that the advert was already classified as inappropriate for airing during children's television programmes as it contained a premium rate telephone number, and that it was the broadcasters' decision how often an advertisement should be shown. Jamster! voluntarily censored the character's genital area (via pixelization) in later broadcasts of its advertisements. Similar action occurred in Australia, with similar results.
In April 2005, television viewers complained about misleading advertisements produced by Jamba!, trading as Jamster! and RingtoneKing. Viewers felt that it was not made sufficiently clear that they were subscribing to a service, rather than paying a one-time fee for their ringtone. The complaints were upheld; the full adjudication (PDF) is available online.
In May 2005, viewers inundated the ASA with new complaints regarding the continuous airing of the latest Crazy Frog advertisements. The intensity of the advertising was unprecedented in British television history. According to The Guardian, Jamster bought 73,716 spots across all TV channels in May alone — an average of nearly 2,378 slots daily — at a cost of about £8 million, just under half of which was spent on ITV. 87% of the population saw the Crazy Frog adverts an average of 26 times, 15% of the adverts appeared twice during the same advertising break and 66% were in consecutive ad breaks. An estimated 10% of the population saw the advert more than 60 times. This led to many members of the population finding the crazy frog, as its original name suggests, immensely irritating.
As the authority had already adjudicated on the matter and confirmed the matter was not within its remit, the unusual step was taken of adding a notice to their online and telephone complaints system informing viewers that Jamster!-related complaints should be directed towards the broadcaster or the regulator, Ofcom.
On 21 September 2005, the ASA ruled that the Crazy Frog, along with other Jamba ringtone advertisements, could not be shown before 9 pm. This adjudication was revised on 25 January 2006, maintaining the 'upheld' decision but revising the wording of one of the points.
In March 2005, anti-virus vendors discovered the
W32/Crog.wormcomputer virus (a contraction of Crazy Frog), which spreads through file-sharing networks and MSN Messenger, exploiting the Crazy Frog's notoriety with a promise of an animation depicting his demise.
On 1 July 2005, UK-based publishers Digital Jesters announced that they had acquired the rights to the video game licence for the Crazy Frog. Crazy Frog Racer (featuring The Annoying Thing), released in December 2005 on PlayStation 2 and PC as a racing game. A year later in 2006 a sequel was released, entitled 'Crazy Frog Racer 2'. However, it was extremely negatively received by critics.
A string of Crazy Frog merchandise was released in the UK,
The German production company The League of Good People is in talks with broadcasters about a TV series based on Crazy Frog.
The Crazy Frog toured Australia in late 2005, beginning in Perth on 4 December and continuing through other major capital cities. He made appearances at numerous shopping centres and major hospitals around the country.
In 2007 the Animation World Network wrote in connection with The Annoying Thing that there was a "planned feature film" to "be completed by the end of next year" into an animated feature film.
Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
Sales UK IRE FRA AUS GER NZ US DAN DUT NOR SWI FIN BEL AUT ITA POR SWE 2005 Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits 5 13 4 22 6 1 19 2 72 16 4 1 2 2 13 2 6 2006 Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits 64 – 8 38 17 20 40 1 – 11 14 14 1 6 31 23 19
- DEN: Gold
- DEN: 4,000
2009 Everybody Dance Now – – 23 – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Year Title Chart positions Album U.S. CAN UK AUS NZ IRL GER FRA BEL EU 2005 "Axel F" 50 2 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits "Popcorn" – – 12 11 1 14 35 1 11 4 "Jingle Bells/U Can't Touch This" – – 5 4 1 11 – 5 2 2 2006 "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" – – 11 13 – 23 13 1 10 2 Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits "Last Christmas" – – 16 30 19 16 16 19 20 2 2007 "Crazy Frog in the House" – – – – – – 22 12 38 35 2009 "Daddy DJ" – – – – – – – 4 – 14 Everybody Dance Now "Cha Cha Slide" – – – – – – – 18 – –
Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Video Hits is a DVD that includes all the character's music videos. The North American version of the DVD includes an altered version of the Axel F video with the Frog's genitalia—visible in the original version—removed.
- "Axel F"
- "We Are The Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)"
- "Crazy Frog In The House (Knightrider)"
- "Pump Up the Jam"
- "Copa Banana"
- "Jingle Bells" / "Last Christmas"
- The Making of the Crazy Frog Videos
- Mobile phone
- LightWave The program that the creator made this character with.
- Fictional characters
- Gummibär, a singing gummy bear.
- Schnappi, a crocodile.
- Mickael Turtle, a turtle.
- Holly Dolly, an anthropomorphic donkey (sponsored by Jamba!)
- Schnuffel, a rabbit (sponsored by Jamba!)
- ^ Wilson, Giles (27-January-2005). "'The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.'". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4210407.stm. Retrieved 27-July-2010.
- ^ The Evolution of Crazy Frog – from Deng Deng to Ringtone. Bloggerheads.com (16 January 2005). Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ a b c d "'The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.'". BBC. 27 January 2005. http://www.hitquarters.com/index.php3?page=intrview/opar/intrview_CrazyFrog.html. Retrieved 1 Jul 2010.
- ^ "Ring-a-ding of the Crazy Frog!". http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ring-a-ding-of-the-crazy-frog.html. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- ^ "Crazy Frog – Historia". http://www.crazy-frog.logosik.pl/. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- ^ Seenan, Gerard (25 May 2005). "Crazy Frog ringtone outsells Coldplay". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1491625,00.html. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- ^ Home | Gusto
- ^ http://www.brandrepublic.com/News/234073/Crazy-Frog-keep-ding-ding-di-di-ding-ASA-says/
- ^ a b Scotsman.com News. The Scotsman. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ http://www.asa.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/ECE03B9D-119D-4150-8F22-48ADADD9AC09/0/ASA_Broadcast_Rulings_2Feb05.pdf Archived September 28, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ "Broadcast rulings 6 April 05.doc"[dead link]
- ^ (source: Media Guardian, 20 June 2005)
- ^ Frog drives viewers crazy | The Sun|HomePage|News. The Sun (20 May 2005). Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ [http://web.archive.org/20070928041048/http://www.asa.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/F3CC87DF-2F2A-4754-9C40-2EC23F0EC54C/0/Broadcastreport25Jan06.pdf Archived September 28, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ ASA stamps on Crazy Frog TV ads | The Register[dead link]
- ^ W32/Crog.worm. Vil.nai.com. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ W32.Serflog.A – Symantec.com. Securityresponse.symantec.com. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ Crazy Frog Racer 2 video game Review by British Gaming Television Presenter Wesley Lock. Blisteredthumbs.net. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ Crazy Frog – Ringtones, Music, Posters, Games, T-Shirts and more!. www.crazyfrog.co.uk. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ http://www.c21media.net/news/detail.asp?area=79&article=27019
- ^ http://www.undercover.com.au/news/2005/dec05/20051202_crazyfrog.html
- ^ Cartoon Movie 2007: Sneak Peeks European Animated Features. Mag.awn.com (14 March 2007). Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ ╚2M╩ – гНКНРНИ Х ОКЮРХМНБШИ ЮКЭАНЛ Б пНЯЯХХ – International 2005. 2m-online.ru. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- ^ Everybody Dance Now: Crazy Frog: Amazon.fr: Musique. Amazon.fr (1 January 1970). Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
- BBC article: The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault. Includes an interview with the creator of the sound, Daniel Malmedahl.
- The Times: Crazy Frog turns into a real prince.
- ASA: A Frog's Tale that spawned viewer outrage.
- Erik Wernquist interview
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