The Story Behind the 'Te-Te-Temu' Earworm

One of SBXVII's most memorable tracks

Temu is a client that values the power of music. They are in U.S. brand-building mode, so our 2024 Super Bowl mission was to deliver a track that was ear-wormy, hard-hitting and on message.

Temu also wanted to change the brand pronunciation from "Tee-moo" to "Teh-moo." And their brief required that Squeak E. Clean Studios continue to leverage last year's "Shop Like a Billionaire" theme.

Calling on Carly & Martina—who wrote, sang and produced the track—we developed a song that had all the hallmarks of a sugary pop anthem, while still reinforcing the online marketplace's brand attributes.

"We were aiming to mix worldly-sounding beats with a bubblegum pop melody to pay homage to both the international elements of Temu's brand and the Americana of the Super Bowl," say Carly & Martina. "The 'ooh' from Temu kept ringing in our ears, and we felt that by making it the cornerstone of our hook, we could capture the magic of the visual through our audio."

Thanks to our research with Durham University in 2023—at the time, to compose an earworm eraser for software company Atlassian—we understood how the brain processes and recalls melodies based on specific factors. In that case, we used our findings to eliminate the earworm. For Temu, however, we used every page of the textbook to create a song that would outlast its 30 seconds of Big Game air time.

Some results: Sprout Social named Temu one of the top brands that dominated the online conversation for the game, garnering 40,448 mentions and 420,714 engagements.

We relied on the anatomy of an earworm to get the jingle off the ground, but exposure and audience interest helped ensure it became a song that stuck.

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Michael Gross
Michael Gross is executive creative producer at Squeak E. Clean Studios.

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