John Groves, born in Hamburg to English parents.
I came to appreciate his genius when a vintage Mentos commercial recently appeared on one of my devices.
At the time it came out (1992) I had the same reaction as everyone, i.e.
WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS. But this being in the before times, prior to Makerbot inventing the internets, I had to simply wonder how the abomination arose, and wallow in ignorance.
Enter Bastard Research Division.
The candies, in various formats, have been around since the 1930’s, and are owned by the Perfetti Van Melle, an Italian-Dutch corporation. Van Melle hired the ad agency Pahnke & Partners out of Hamburg, to come up with the ad spots. Groves composed the theme, which is available in extended format!!
The bulk of commercials were shot in South Africa, and aimed squarely at the US and Canada.
Viewers who spotted the ads when they premiered in July 1992 were driven to distraction by one intangible: The ads seemed disconnected from actual human behavior, and the song itself was critiqued for appearing to be an English translation that didn’t get the lyrics quite right.
When Van Melle was asked “what the actual fuck?” they responded coyly, realizing they had a phenomenon on their hands. The less they answered, the more interest there was. Sales went from $20M in 1991 to $140M in 1996, worldwide. In the late 90’s, Altoids caught fire and were blamed for a decrease in Mentos market share.
The singer is allegedly Richard Ryan Graves (aka Frank Ryan), who takes zero credit for it on wikipedia or elsewhere. He was in Hamburg at the time, so he remains a likely suspect.