Creator of Crazy Frog Reveals Surprising Dislike for His Own Creation

Do you remember it? It was that thing that hammered in your head for years.

Creator of Crazy Frog Reveals Surprising Dislike for His Own Creation
Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

If you didn’t live through the early 2000s, all of this is going to sound really bizarre to you, but the truth is that there was a frog that performed concerts in Australia after releasing just one album and becoming number one worldwide. It was, of course, Crazy Frog, that strange three-dimensional creation that sang to the rhythm of Axel F, the former soundtrack of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’. If you didn’t have it as your first mobile phone ringtone, did you really have a first mobile phone?

Crazy Frog Climber DOWNLOAD

The annoying thing

The concept of going viral in the mid-2000s was still a novelty, but it already had similarities to today’s memes: they were born on the Internet, created by people who didn’t make any money from them, and then companies tried to cash in on them (did someone mention ‘Morbius’?). The story of Crazy Frog begins in 1997 when Daniel Malmedahl, a 17-year-old boy from Gothenburg, Sweden, decided to record himself imitating the sound of a motor and upload it to the early Internet.

The sound was such a success that he was eventually invited to television to perform it again. It became an international viral sensation when a Formula One car sound was added to it. The craze seemed to fade away until Erik Wernquist, six years later, rediscovered the audio and used it as the background for a 3D animation featuring a creature he had created called The Annoying Thing.

What happened when Crazy Frog started getting more downloads than it could handle? Well, a company quickly caught wind of the money. In this case, it was Jamba!, which was responsible for selling mobile ringtones (remember when these things used to happen?). They paid Wernquist, licensed The Annoying Thing, and changed its name without asking for permission. Thus, the terror of the millennium’s beginning was born: Crazy Frog.

Genitalia and crazy frogs

And if you didn’t live under a rock back then, you’ll know what happened next: the frog released three albums, animations, video games, mobile ringtones (it even aired over 2000 ads per day in the UK), had a Twitter account, merchandise, and topped the charts worldwide with its version of ‘Axel F’ in 2005. It even had its own computer virus and sparked controversy because its genitals were visible.

Recently, Crazy Frog almost ventured into the world of NFTs before facing a backlash from the public, partly as a form of revenge from two decades ago. Love it or hate it, Crazy Frog is a pop culture icon. For example, its creator, Wernquist, isn’t too thrilled about it. In a 2012 interview with the BBC, he said, “If I had known it would become so big, I wouldn’t have allowed them to use that stupid name. It has nothing to do with the character. It’s not a frog, and it’s not particularly crazy.” At least he still holds the rights to The Annoying Thing, and he continues to receive some dividends from it.

Nowadays, Wernquist focuses on animation (he recently completed work on a documentary called ‘This world is not my own’) and tries to distance himself from the time when Crazy Frog almost had a movie, TV series, and almost consumed the entire pop culture landscape. And yes, now you can’t resist the strangely irresistible urge to go on YouTube and search for “Axel F Crazy Frog.” Enjoy the inevitable nightmare when it gets stuck in your head tomorrow.

Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

Editor specializing in pop culture who writes for websites, magazines, books, social networks, scripts, notebooks and napkins if there are no other places to write for you.

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