[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 13:16 GMT
'The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.'
By Giles Wilson
BBC News Magazine

The Crazy Frog in its original incarnation on Eric Wernquist's site
The Crazy Frog in its original incarnation on Eric Wernquist's site
The sight of a strange blue-grey frog with a helmet and goggles, revving up an imaginary motorbike while making an infuriating "ding ding dididing" noise, is familiar to much of the country. In fact to most of them it's too familiar... far, far too familiar.

Adverts for the Crazy Frog mobile phone ringtone have played hundreds of times on certain TV channels over the past few weeks; it has earned an estimated £10m, and according to the company selling it, is the most successful ringtone in the world. Now a dance mix has been recorded and played on Chris Moyles's Radio 1 breakfast show.

The frog is irritating to the point of distraction and back again. And yet at the same time, it's strangely compelling.

Weblogger Tim Ireland, who has written on his site Bloggerheads about Crazy Frog's development, is just one of those who is very clear about what this irritating creature does to his head.

"The world would be better off if this wasn't constantly played on its TV screens," he says.

But it's a frustration not completely shared by Daniel Malmedahl, a 24-year-old computer components salesman from Gothenburg, Sweden.

"It's driving people to distraction?" he says. "Is that a compliment?"

It was Daniel who, as a 17-year-old in 1997, sat down in front of his computer and recorded himself imitating his friends' souped-up mopeds. Although he didn't know it at the time, his funny little recording would one day become the Crazy Frog.

The world would be better off if this wasn't constantly played on its TV screens
Blogger Tim Ireland
"We had many laughs because it's so characteristic, this two-stroke engine sound. My friends found it funny when I started imitating it," he says.

"When we recorded it, we found it very, very funny. We laughed until we got tears."

Before long, an acquaintance of Daniel's had posted the recording on the web, where a researcher on Swedish TV found it and persuaded Daniel to perform the sound live on television.

Daniel Malmedahl
Daniel Malmedahl: 'I don't know if I can apologise.'
From there, it was used on various websites, particularly on one called the Insanity Test, which had the sound playing alongside a picture of a racing car, with the challenge for people to listen without laughing.

In 2003, Daniel's fellow Swede, Erik Wernquist, drew the now familiar animated frog to go with the sound, christened it The Annoying Thing, and put it on his website for download.

Not rich

And then the final piece in the tale came late last year, when ringtone company Jamster contacted Erik and Daniel for permission to sell it as a download for phones.

The good news is that both men are making some money of their creation.

"Actually Jamster is making a hell of a lot of money," says Daniel. "It's one of the best-selling ringtones in the world. And yes, they give me a cut of it. But I don't think it's even a little percent of how much they are making from it."

"Will it make me rich? No," he laughs. "Actually that's none of your business, but no it's not going to make me rich."

He's more pleased at the attention his sound has got.

"I'm very, very, very stunned that it's gone so far, almost too far. It's such a little creation, it's less than a minute and I would guess that most people actually would have no idea that it's an imitation of a two stroke engine."


So what next? There's more where the Crazy Frog came from.

"I have a lot of sounds," Daniel says. "I always tend to imitate a lot of stuff in my environment, at work, at home, with my friends. It could be anything - even a door opening."

Then, with a combination of "sshkkkkks" and "ennngggsss", he demonstrates his imitation of the opening of a spaceship's door.

One sound he recorded was based on an old Amiga game. "It sounds very funny and I had to imitate it. So I sent it to a [company] who would investigate if it could be a hit."

Sadly, though, the company's reaction was just to wonder if the Crazy Frog had "lost it".

"People have very high expectations," he says.

So will Daniel spare a thought for those who are going round the bend listening to his two-stroke moped?

"Well I don't know if I can apologise... Many people find it funny and appreciate it. But you know I have no influence of the broadcasting of commercials, that's out of my hands."

But the question which cannot go unanswered: can he still make the noise?

Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

I love it! I can't help laughing everytime it's on TV. At first I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard but now I reckon it is genius.
Alice, UK

I have knawed away my fists as a result of this infuriating noise....
Chris Huff, Bologna, Italy

What a lot of miserable bastards! It's incredibly funny, especially if you've actually owned (or better yet had a mate with) one of those little souped up bikes. My phone can't play it, but I'm tempted to get an upgrade so that I can and annoy more of these losers.
Pete Tabord, Gwynedd, UK

The worst thing about this ringtone is that my 3 year old has started copying it. She didn't get it from me but when I heard her do it, I cursed that damn, Crazy Frog
Mat, Stevenage/UK

It's the Hamster Dance all over again! When Chris Moyles played it the other morning I instantly switched to Radio 2 just in time for Terry Wogan to play The Supremes 'You Can't Hurry Love'. That made me think of Phil Collins which was even more annoying than the flaming frog!
Paul Davies, Swindon, UK

Damn the frog is annoying. He deserves a smack.
Terry Bogard, Coventry

It has come to it that you can't even turn on a music channel without getting the frog at least 3 times during a commerical break. My housemates and i are scared to turn on the TV. HELP!!
Rachel Hope, London, UK

There should be a petition against this type of thing. It's a good job there is one: http://www.petitiononline.com/GingeUK/petition.html
Stephen Peter, Milton Keynes

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.) I have the Crazy Frog ringtone, and I am glad it annoys you all,, I will turn it up louder now. Whenever I am on the train and it rings, people laugh. Surely that's a good thing!
Andy, Wanstead, UK

This is a marvel and a disaster all at once.... Its a marvel that something as small and as "insignificant" as this can make over £10 Million - surely an inspiration to young entrepreneurs? But, its a disaster because Ive broken 2 remotes this year by throwing them at the screen when this comes on!
Ricky, London, UK

Any time I hear it on a mobile - you can instantly tell the type of personality that person has and sadly also want to smack them across the head... Is that just me?
Brian Clancy, Dublin, Ireland

Forget the Crazy Frog. Here in Germany we have to contend with the even more annoying Sweety der KŁken (Sweety the Chick), which certain channels literally play again and again in their ad-breaks.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany

For a time the Crazy Frog was a novelty - people talked about it and it was quite unusual to actually see it. Then it became more frequent, at which point it lost the novelty. Now on certain channels (unfortunately the ones chosen by my local gym) it seems that every commercial break it appears at least once and it has become nothing less than infuriating.
John B, UK

The worst thing about this entire epidemic is the animated frog's strange genitalia. What the hell is that thing?

Dear God shoot him!
Ian, London

It's not an annoying sound, it just gets a bit boring after a while. It's an in joke that's been let out into the general population and not everyone gets it. P.S. I don't know anyone who actually has this ring tone.
Natasha, Sheffield

I think that it is particularly sad that in a world where the western income has become so disposable we can afford to pay for this annoying rubbish. The idea that large companies (and even individuals)are making profit from this is beyond me. I'm tempted to stamp on the next phone I hear playing it! (Have actually warned someone at work twice now!)
Martin Stickley, Scarborough

Your e-mail address
Town/city and country

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Can Daniel still make his 'ding ding' noise?
'Does it sound familiar?'

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific