It’s Jingle All the Way for Crockett Septic

Wisconsin’s Crockett Septic builds name reputation with a toe-tapping tune that plays over and over and over on local radio

Jim Kneiszel
Jim Kneiszel

There were a lot of indicators the radio jingle for Crockett Septic was a big success when it hit the airwaves in central Wisconsin. But one bit of feedback sticks out for Rob Wefel, the advertising sales rep for NRG Media who wrote and sang the 30-second, hillbilly-themed tune.

“I’ve been driving along tapping my foot to the jingle of my competitor,” another area pumper called and reported. “Is that something that could be created for my company?”

Wefel and the folks at Crockett Septic in Wisconsin Rapids chuckle when they think of how many people are walking around town with the catchy tune stuck in their heads. When Crockett Septic’s owner George Van Stedum drops off a restroom at a construction site, he sometimes has the workers serenading him with the song:

Crockett Septic, serves you near or far

Holding tanks and septics pumped right there in your yard

They got port-a-potties ready for you too

They’ll pump away that stinky, nasty poo (phew)

Crockett Septic, be there in a jiff

Crockett Septic, no more nasty whiff

Crockett Septic, they won’t make you cry

Their pumper trucks smell just like cherry pie (yeehaw).

You really can’t understand the full impact of the jingle without hearing it. So we posted it on the Pumper website for your listening pleasure:

And you can read a full profile story about Crockett Septic in this issue of Pumper.

For the past few years, the Crockett Septic jingle has become a phenomenon across central Wisconsin. Van Stedum and Lori Leggett say folks stop them at work sites and call on the phone asking for a visit from the trucks that “smell just like cherry pie.” The aroma is the product of using a J&J Chemical scent added to the pump exhaust oil, and it has unwittingly become the company’s biggest sales tool.

How did that happen?

Van Stedum ran into acquaintance Wefel at a local hardware store and the ad man volunteered to help Crockett Septic if they’d ever consider radio spots. They sat down for lunch one day and Wefel asked Van Stedum and Leggett what made their company unique or memorable. The cherry pie scent stood out to him as interesting, so he asked if he could put something together for them to listen to.

Wefel went back to the radio studio and started scratching down some lyrics, then shared his idea with Casey Zemple, creative services director. The pair searched for a “song bed” — a prerecorded licensed musical track — that fit a Davy Crockett, hillbilly theme, massaged the lyrics to fit the music, and called a group of radio staffers to help with the background shout-outs. Wefel sang the tune, and the commercial was finished in less than an hour.

“It was the dumbest thing in the world, but it was a little magical,” Wefel recalls. “Who knew that a septic company had trucks that smelled like cherry pie?”

At first the magic escaped Liggett.

“I was not crazy about the jingle, to be honest. I was just horrified when I heard it the first time,” she recalls. “I just pictured a banjo and bib overalls and a guy on the front porch with straw coming out of his mouth. Oh my goodness; sometimes I still hear it and I have to shake my head.”

But Liggett trusted Wefel and let it go on the air. The effectiveness of the jingle is undeniable, and it’s been building name recognition for Crockett Septic, founded in 2013. The company buys 60-second ads that finish with the 30-second song, but themes rotate by the season. For example, in the fall they promote portable restrooms put out for football games, or in the summer they talk about Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.


Van Stedum was cautious at first about including radio in the advertising budget. “When you think it’s several hundred dollars a month, it’s a little daunting.” And he still doesn’t have a handle on the return on investment. However, he knows Wefel is making Crockett Septic a household name, which admittedly isn’t the easiest thing for a septic service company.

Liggett long ago became sold on the jingle. So many people can recite the words to her that she knows it’s working.

“He’s wonderful,” she says of Wefel. “We owe him a lot, and we can’t thank him enough.”

Wefel credits Van Stedum and Liggett for being open minded and letting him try something different to attract attention for their service company.

“In my experience over 20 years, the clients that get creative and have fun are the ones that get noticed,” he says. “The success of the ad came out of George and Lori’s willingness to let creative people be creative.”

And no matter how many hundreds of times the commercials air, people still like the toe-tapping jingle.

“I’ve never gotten a complaint about their ad except from one anonymous caller who was annoyed with the song,” Wefel says.


Have you thought about creating a jingle for your pumping company? Here are a few tips from Crockett Septic and Wefel to make it a success:

Know the demographic you want to reach.

Crockett Septic has learned their best bet is running advertising on country and classic rock stations. They care about the age group they reach and the geographic limits of the radio transmitters. They have settled on classic rock now because most of the septic service decision-makers are in the 35 to 50 age range that makes up the bulk of that station’s listeners. That station’s signal is also the only one strong enough to penetrate steel factory walls and reach the ears of many middle-class working people, Van Stedum says.

Don’t assume a jingle is going to cost a lot of money.

You may think an original tune and a professional studio production will blow your advertising budget. But the cost of the jingle was rolled into the cost of Crockett Septic’s radio advertising contract. They pay for the airtime, but there was no bill for Wefel’s lyrics or singing. Of course, your results may vary depending on your media market or the way radio stations charge for their services.

Focus on something unique about your company.

Forget about saying you’re “family-owned and -operated for [insert number here] years.” Wefel says companies often want to focus on that line, but “Not many people care about that. They want to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ And it’s going to smell like cherry pie,” he says. “When you make yourself memorable, that changes the dynamic.” As an example, a portable restroom company that uses strictly purple units hired Wefel, who branded them “the purple port-a-potty people.” Your selling point might be that your company is concerned about the environment or supports a special cause in the community, etc.

“Draw the curtain back on the people who work for your company. Share with people the heartfelt stuff of why you are in business. Make fun of yourself before someone else does,” Wefel says.

Avoid the septic clichés.

“You can bring the funny, but don’t go over the top or use sophomoric humor,” Wefel says. “Don’t use the dusty No. 1 in the No. 2 business. We’ve all heard that over and over. Go for something fresh.” You may or may not choose to inject humor in your advertising, but keep the message professional and don’t degrade the important environmental work you do.

Let the creatives be creative.

You pump septic tanks and you’re darn good at it. Wefel wouldn’t think to suggest how you clean a septic tank, so maybe you should trust the judgment of a media professional. “Advertising people are experts; that’s all they do. Most of the people in advertising aren’t just there to sell you ads. They’re there to be as creative as you want them to be.”

Van Stedum agrees that success relies on building good relationships with creatives. “You have to have a good rapport with whoever you are working with. If you’re not on the same page with the guy who’s writing ads for you, it’s probably not going to work out for you,” he says.

Play it over and over again.

You might have a clever jingle like Crockett Septic, but it’s not going to become memorable if you play it on the radio a few weeks and then drop it. Wefel suggests finding a day of the week or a time of the day you like and then running it month after month. Soon your potential customers won’t be able to get that jingle out of their heads and they’ll call you when the septic tank needs pumping.

“Find an audience you can speak to, and keep it consistently in front of people,” Wefel says. How long should you run the jingle? “How long do you want to be open for business? That’s how long you should keep marketing. You have to consistently market yourself and in an original enough way to be noticed,” Wefel says.


If you want to learn more about jingle production or how the jingle has helped Crockett Septic, contact Wefel at or Leggett at  


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