It’s the jingle heard ’round the state, a one-line refrain that lives rent-free in the frontal lobes of Blizzard-consuming Texans everywhere.
“DQ—that’s what I like about Texas.”
The tune is so ubiquitous it’s iconic, heralding the burger-and-shake brand into the echelon of Texas brands that have become part of the state’s culture, like Buc-ee’s and Dr Pepper. Now, two decades after its initial conception, the catchy, one-line lyric is getting a revamp, courtesy of Josh Abbott, the Texas musician who grew up eating steak fingers and Hungr-Busters in Idalou, a town in Lubbock County. The new version, released yesterday, features banjo and fiddle, as well as Abbott’s voice, for a sound that’s twangier than that of the original. Hear it here.
The collab isn’t the first time Abbott has shared his fondness for Dairy Queen—he name-dropped the chain in “I’ll Sing About Mine,” a song off his 2012 album, Small Town Family Dream. In that record, the singer talks about “a world that’s changing” as he sits eating burgers at “the same place / Where Mom and Dad went on their first date.” Like Larry McMurtry, another North Texas son who wrote a memoiristic book of nonfiction titled Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, Abbott seems to have experienced the chain as a community meeting place.
In that respect at least, the world is certainly changing. Once known as the Texas stop sign, Dairy Queen may be losing its cultural stronghold here (though Texas is still the state with the most locations). As Loren Steffy wrote in the May 2018 issue of Texas Monthly, following a bankruptcy filing from DQ’s second-largest franchisee, “the old saying that every Texas town has a Dairy Queen is no longer true for many communities.”
Perhaps, then, an auditory refresh of the brand’s catchy tagline will help strengthen the relationship between Texans and their dipped cones once more. It’s happened before: the original Dairy Queen jingle—created by Dallas’s Loomis Agency in 2002—was recorded to help sagging Texas sales following the recent closure of hundreds of Lone Star locations. In the course of market research for the brand, Loomis discovered that “Texans have a unique and special fondness” for DQ and that 80 percent of Texans believed the brand to be native to the state (it’s not). However you feel about a brand masquerading as Texan, the campaign worked. Since the launch, Texas DQ locations have more than doubled their average unit volume, according to Loomis.
Will Josh Abbott’s new take on the old jingle send Texans to load up on Dilly Bars? Maybe—I certainly could go for a Reese’s Blizzard right now. What I do know for sure, though, is that anyone hearing this news will have to contend with one heck of an earworm for at least the next 24 hours.