Trigger Warning: This article contains references to the most annoying pop culture phenomenon in the history of humanity.
You guessed it. The Crazy Frog, who became the greatest irritant of the noughties, when his polyphonic ringtone was unleashed on the masses, some so-called sheeple of whom actually forked out money for the torturous tune.
You can relive the penis-flailing reptilian devil incarnate and his swansong below:
You, like me and many others, may have assumed anyone who paid top dollar for the monosyllabic musical gospel of the actual Antichrist was a moron.
You might not have been wrong. Luckily, science has now vindicated any of us who suffered through the ringtone in the dark days of TMF more than once.
Steve McKeown, psychoanalyst and owner of the McKeown Clinic, told UNILAD:
This certainly could be a craze that’s essentially gone viral through collective herding, like sheep. Basically this is mass psychology and technology that ends up blighting our lives.
A blight on our lives, you say? You’re not wrong there, Steve!
It all began in 1997 when 17-year-old Gothenburg student Daniel Malmedahl recorded himself imitating the noises produced by a two stroke engine.
Years passed without a whisper of the annoying incarnation.
Until, in late 2003, another Swede, Erik Wernquist, who has since directed music videos for the likes of Jamie XX, encountered the sound effect and was inspired to create the 3D animated character he named ‘The Annoying Thing’ to accompany the infernal racket.
Before the days of viral internet fame, the little creature did pretty well through word of mouth and file-sharing – remember that – and so, as with everything good and pure and fun, some big corporation came along and bastardised it for capitalist gain.
And oh, how the ringtone magnates at Jamster! destroyed Wernquist’s creation – which he claims isn’t even a frog.
They licensed and marketed the little wazzock in 2004, and by 2005 had spent £8 million on a total of 73,716 TV ad spots to make sure 87 per cent of the UK population had seen the Crazy Frog ads an average of 26 times, with 15 per cent of the adverts appearing twice during the same advertising break.
Give us strength.
While most of us, understandably, found the newfangled Crazy Frog, as its original name suggests, immensely irritating, some of us fell for the crude marketing scheme hook, line and sinker.
McKeown said this is a classic example of ‘herding behaviour’, adding:
If a person sees there’s popular interest in buying a particular product, they could interpret this popular support as justification to follow the crowd and because of this, people either consciously or unconsciously follow what others are doing.
The mass then exhibit collective irrationality.
Herding behaviour refers to how an individual is influenced by group behaviour. It was first observed in animals whereby a herd of animals starts moving in one direction, all the animals want to follow the herd.
Herding is the function to crowd behaviour which is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and perception of collective behaviour, which both increase with the size of the crowd becoming eventually becoming exponential.
It got so popular the little twerp was even made into a meme.
The psychoanalyst explained to UNILAD how being influenced by a collective group ‘can indicate negative behaviour’ and an inability ‘to independently think for ourselves’ which can lead to ‘blind conformity or sheep-like thinking’.
This is ‘mass psychology’, McKeown elaborated:
Basically, mass psychology is mass action, it refers to the situations where a large number of people behave simultaneously in a similar way but individually and without coordination.
It basically means we are not thinking for ourselves.
If we are not making our own decisions and acting like herded sheep we therefore become a society that has to have something just because [we’re] keeping up with the Jones’. [It’s] a blight, like a disease, on society.
There are many different forms of mass behaviour, according to McKeown, including mass hysteria, rumours, gossip, fads, and fashions.
People that follow the crowds are conformists, sheep, weak-minded, gullible, impressionable, credulous… They are simply led and do not possess very good skills at critical thinking.
Tell your mates.
If you have a story you want to tell, share it with UNILAD via [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.