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Drew Babb's 100 Greatest TV Spots of All Time_41 - 50

100 greatest commercials: number 41

John Cameron Swayze, formerly the anchor of the "Camel (News) Cavalcade", goes through all manner of torture to prove Timex watches are made to last. My favorite has him riding shotgun in a road rally wearing a really weird crash helmet. Theme line is It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
Timex Agency: W. B. Doner, early
Then Warwick & Legler
Fallon McElligott revived in the 70's
1960's on


100 greatest commercials: number 42VW/"Funeral"
All the spoiled spendthrift relatives drive their big fancy limousines to a rich relative's funeral. Meanwhile, one smart, thrifty descendant drives his VW while he dabs the tears away. The voice over tells us the big inheritance is going to Guess Who.
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
Writer: Bob Levinson and Roy Grace
Art Director: Roy Grace
Director: Howard Zieff

100 greatest commercials: number 43Wendy's/"Where's the Beef?"

Odd, off-the-street actors just want to know why hamburgers can't be as big as the buns. Director Joe Sedelmaier brings all his eccentric casting to bear, especially the Batty Little Ol' Lady played to perfection by 84-year-old former manicurist Clara Pellar. Presidential candidate Walter Mondale used the catch phrase to skewer fellow Democrat Gary Hart.
Agency: Dancer Fitzgerald Sample
Writer: Cliff Freeman
Art Director: Donna Weinheim
Director: Joe Sedelmaier

100 greatest commercials: number 44Xerox/"Brother Dominic"

As the other monks hand-copy their Biblical manuscripts, Brother Dominic slips into a back room where there's a big ol' Xerox machine. When he presents a stack of quick, good copies to his superior, he gets this response: It's a miracle! We wanted to see this commercial again and again. Interestingly, the monk was played by Jewish comedian Jack Eagle. Creative Director Allen Kay basked in the monk's glow and founded Korey, Kay & Partners.
Xerox 9200 Photocopier
Agency: Needham, Harper & Steers
Writer: Steve Penchina
Art Director: Anthony Angotti
Director: Neal Tardio

100 greatest commercials: number 45Alka Seltzer/"Spicy Meatball"

A spot within a spot. We watch a film crew shoot a spot for a make-believe meatball company. The actor, the wonderfully hound-faced Jack Somack, can't say the tagline correctly. So the more he screws up, the more he has to eat the indigestion-inducing meatballs. So he needs another client's product. He needs–
Alka Seltzer
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
Writer: Evan Stark
Art Director: Roy Grace
Director: Howard Zieff

100 greatest commercials: number 46Schlitz/"Grab for the Gusto"

Beautifully produced campaign for the late, lamented Schlitz brand. (Why did they have to change the recipe, damn them!) Macho macho men–usually blue collared–work their butts off and reward themselves with a great-tasting brew. The music is symphonic, and the voiceover rough-edged (Paul Stewart, who played the mysterious caretaker in Citizen Kane). Recurring copy: You only go around once in life so you've got to grab for all the gusto you can. Theme line: Real gusto in a great light beer. Rumor is that Leo Burnett, whose agency produced these great spots, originally wanted the word Zest. Thank God somebody saved Leo from himself!
Agency: Leo Burnett Company
Composer: Anne Bryant

100 greatest commercials: number 47Muriel/"Hey Big Spender"

The glorious actress/singer Edie Adams (married to TV genius Ernie Kovacs) sung the song. And people went out and bought boxes and boxes of Muriels. Her great lyric, Hey big spender, spend a little dime with me. The song, from Sweet Charity, (with time instead of dime) is also associated with the Broadway star who sang it, Shirley MacLaine.
Muriel Cigars
Agency: Lennon & Newell
Song: Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman

100 greatest commercials: number 48"I Hate Qantas"

Don't know if anybody ever heard of koala bears or Qantas Airlines before this campaign. Qantas, Australia's national carrier, is going to make it so easy and so wonderful to fly Down Under that this little marsupial is going to have to share his habitat. So he sits pouting in his eucalyptus tree and, a la Eeyore, moans, I hate Qantas. The koala's voice belonged to the late Howard Morris of "Your Show of Shows" fame.
Qantas Airlines
Agency: Cunningham and Walsh, San Francisco; Chiat/Day continued the theme
Writer: Fred Manley, Bruce Gale, among others
Art Director: Ron Howell, Rick Strand, Cal Anderson, Joe Kendall, among others
Director: Lee Lacy, among others
1967 on

100 greatest commercials: number 49

"Gap Khakis"
White seamless background. Group of great-looking young men, all in colorful Gap clothing. They do a brilliant dance number from West Side Story. (From Jerome Robbins' original Broadway choreography, reportedly "set" by Alan Johnson one of WSS's original dancers.) Simply elegant. Heretofore graphics whiz Mike Mills went on to direct features, including The Thumbsucker. There were four WSS-themed spots in this pool. Originally ran on the Annual Academy Awards broadcast.
The Gap
The Gap In-House Agency
Creative Director: Lisa Prisco
Director: Mike Mills

100 greatest commercials: number 50Kentucky Fried Chicken/"Finger-Lickin' Good"
America is introduced to goateed, white-suited Col. Harland Sanders and his secret recipe (11 herbs and spices) for fried chicken. Sanders was actually born in Southern Indiana. But his Corbin, Kentucky truck stop was legendary for its signature dish. One day the Governor eased into the place. On the spot he made Sanders an honorary colonel. An unforgettable trade character is born. Later he becomes an animated figure.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Agency: Leo Burnett Company

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