The Evolution of Crazy Frog – from Deng Deng to Ringtone

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
7:44 pm and is filed
under Teh Interwebs.

 Bbrrrrrimm bbrrrrramm... BANG!Seeking information about Crazy Frog? Harbouring a sneaking suspicion that you’ve seen/heard it before? This page is for you…

[Jamster affiliate link removed. Rupert Murdoch now owns Jamster and I’ll be damned if I’ll send money his way.]

You must have seen the Crazy Frog ad by now. Or heard the ringtone.

1. You may have a dim recollection of some viral game-type thing or another that featured this same sound. I am here to fill in the gaps.

2. Knowing how creative that originates on Teh Interwebs usually gets treated you may have suspected – like me and others – that the creator had been ever-so-casually ripped off. I am here to bring you some small amount of reassurance.

3. Each time you see or hear this ad/ringtone, you may contemplate the most drastic of actions. So much so that each time you are exposed to it your mind screams; Revenge! Death! Revenge! I am here to ask you nicely to put the blunt instrument on the floor.

We begin our short history lesson with the full ‘lyrics’ to the original sound file. I pray that someone, somewhere, will find them useful:
A ding ding ding ding dididing ding bing bing pscht,
Dorhrm bom bom bedom bem bom bedom bom bum ba ba bom bom,
Bouuuuum bom bom bedahm, Bom be barbedarm bedabedabedabeda
Bbrrrrrimm bbrrrrramm bbbrrrrrrrrraammmmm ddddddraammm,
Bah bah baah baah ba wheeeeeee-eeeee-eeeee!

Some web users will be familiar with the sound file in its Deng Deng form where it was presented under a static image of a Formula One racing car. The earliest reference I can find for it is from this post to Usenet in 2001, but I recall seeing it myself for the first time in June or July of the same year.

In late 2001, it morphed into The Insanity Test (not to be confused with The Sanity Test) which appears to have gone well and truly viral from December 2001 onwards (you can see some early Usenet references here).

(Admittedly, the Insanity Test wrapped around Deng Deng gave it some depth and perspective that worked wonders… but this later ‘enhancement’ with some basic animation is a complete waste of time.)

All went quiet until 2003, when a 3D animator by the name of Erik Wernquist came across the sound file and – untainted by Deng Deng and the Insanity Test – proceeded to create his own visual interpretation.

The earliest Usenet reference to the finished product is from January 2004, but the Web Archive clearly shows versions of this page dating back to November 2003. On the earliest version of this page scooped by the archive, you can clearly see the author responding to queries regarding the origin of the sound file as follows: I would like to thank everyone that has written me mails about the origin of the sound I am using. However, I now think I have gotten enough substantial “evidence” to state that it appears clear the creator is a swedish person with the nick-name “Britt-Erik” and that he is immitating the sound of an East-German car called Trabant; equipped with a two-stroke engine. This sound has apparently been used in websites and radio and TV-shows all around the world but I am almost certain that on all of those occations it is “Britt-Erik”‘s sound that has been played. Please do write me if you have some more information about “Britt-Erik”, but please don’t if you are sharing the same information as written above.

And, at the bottom of this page, Erik Wernquist tells the world that: A little more than a month after I had put the animation up I got a phone call from a somewhat confused person claiming he recognised the sound in my animation as his own creation. His name was Daniel Malmedahl and he said he had been contacted by a friend of his telling him to check out my website. I was a little uncertain at first but when he gave me the “proof” of performing the sound live on the phone there was no doubt he was the guy I was looking for. Apparently he was oblivious to the fact that his sound had spread around the internet, even before the Annoying Thing.

And yes, from December 2003, the page where Eric made his creation – The Annoying Thing – available for download has carried the following message: “To contact the voice of ‘The Thing’, send him a mail at daniel DOT malmedahl AT telia DOT com” (my spamblock).

So, to wrap things up…

Erik Wernquist (creator of the Crazy Frog character) and Daniel Malmedahl (endorsed by Erik as the originator of the sound file) appear to have agreed to the use of their intellectual property by the companies Jamba! and Zed, so we can assume that they have been compensated for any/all commercial use (but how fairly they have been compensated, I do not know).

And, because it’s the ringtone companies shoving Crazy Frog down your throat (and the demand from punters driving the ringtone companies) it must be stressed that Erik and Daniel are not to be blamed for your suffering.

Right… that’s that cleared up, and (I hope) that’s you calmed down.

We now return you to our usual programming….

UPDATE – is planning an interview with Daniel Malmedahl that will probably be published later this month. I’ll post a link here when it’s live.

UPDATE (27 Jan) – Oh dear. Now some bright spark at Jamster is trying to expand the ‘hilarious online viral’ product range… and this time perhaps they have been a little naughty… I Smell a Rat – An Uncaged and Curious Rodent-Based Doppelganger in AdLand

UPDATE (03 Feb) – Crazy Frog’s genitals cleared for British TV.

About Tim Ireland

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