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Drew Babb's 100 Greatest TV Spots of All Time_31 - 40


100 greatest commercials: number 31"Energizer Bunny"

A toy battery-driven bunny just can't stop beating a little bass drum. Intriguing, imaginative in-joke. (The Energizer Bunny crashes into faux ads for coffee, phone companies, and movies.) Later, the EB is pursued by villains, pack dogs, etc.) The tagline (–just keeps going and going and going) dissolves into ellipses. Entered pop culture as a description for a human archetype.
Eveready Energizer Batteries
Agency: Originated by DDB/Needham/Chicago; later: Chiat/Day
Creatives: Dick Sittig, Andy Dijak, Chris Schifando, Bernie O'Dowd
Director: Traktor
1989


100 greatest commercials: number 32Federal Express/"Fast Talker"

Director Joe Sedelmaier's tour de force about how fast and furious business has become. Ally & Gargano creatives spotted fast-talker John Moscitta, Jr. on ABC's "That's Incredible" and hired him as motor mouth. Gives new meaning to the term "wall-to-wall copy." Breathtaking to watch.
Federal Express
Agency: Ally & Gargano
Writer: Patrick Kelly
Art Director: Mike Tesch
Director: Joe Sedelmaier
1982


100 greatest commercials: number 33Heinz Ketchup/"Anticipation"

Uses the pop hit by Carly Simon so beautifully. (Seems she'd written this song while she was waiting for date James Taylor to show up!) All we see is some ketchup being poured. Slowly. So simple. So memorable. Slow good! If you go to the Burnett web site today, one of the key images is that big label on that big ketchup bottle.
Heinz Ketchup
Agency: Leo Burnett Company
1974


100 greatest commercials: number 34Life Cereal/"Mikey"

Two hundred million of us fell in love with the freckle-faced little tike whose older brothers made him a guinea pig for a new "healthy" cereal. As Mikey crunched away, his bros yelled out Hey Mikey! He likes it! You wanted to adopt the whole clan. They were the Gilchrests, by the way. Mikey went on to make 250 or so more spots, including one for me. Reportedly the commercial was supposed to be a "test spot," but luckily, a production guy lit the kids well and the film was network-ready.
Quaker Oats Life Cereal
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
Writer: Bob Levinson
1972-1987


100 greatest commercials: number 35McDonald's/"You Deserve A Break Today"

The original spot featuring dancing fast-food employees is a classic. Product of the big, broad, Chicago school of advertising as practiced at a perfect pitch by Needham.
Agency: Needham, Harper & Steers
1971


100 greatest commercials: number 36Mobil/"Mr. Dirt"

For years Mobil pushed its detergent-infused gasoline as a clean way to fill up your tank. Marvelous actor Ronny Graham personifies the competitors' dirty filthy gas.
Mobil Oil
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
1970s

 

100 greatest commercials: number 37New York Urban Coalition/"Give A Damn"
A slumlord takes us on a tour of a hideously shabby apartment replete with broken windows, unworkable toilets, and rats. It's been 40 years, but I can still see this spot in my head. Hear it, too: George C. Scott did voiceovers.
New York Urban Coalition
Agency: Calderhead Jackson
1968


100 greatest commercials: number 38"Frank Perdue"

He looks like a chicken, acts like a chicken, and sounds like a chicken. Before him, nobody tried to brand chicken. Frank appeared in more than 150 spots for his company. The triumph of the client-as-product. Theme line: It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.
Perdue Chicken
Agency: Scali McCabe Sloves
1971-94


100 greatest commercials: number 39Polaroid/"James Garner and Mariette Hartley"

For a lot of years, in more than 300 spots, they were a wonderful couple to watch. Viewers, when polled, were convinced they were married. Reason: all that verbal hostility! Hartley was originally paid scale, but when the big time star Garner re-upped with Polaroid, part of the deal was that Hartley get some serious money. She did. Radio Shack was "inspired" by this campaign to bring Howie Long and Teri Hatcher together some years later. As Lloyd Bentsen would've said, "You're no Jim and Mariette."
Polaroid One-Step and SX-70 cameras
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
Writer: Bob Gage, Jack Dillon, Phyllis Robinson
Art Director: Bob Gage
Director: Bob Gage
1977-1984


100 greatest commercials: number 40Schmidt/"I Like Bread and Butter"

One of the first and best retro rock spots. An almost perfect rip-off of the great
goofball song recorded by the Newbeats. (I like bread and butter/I like toast and jam/That's what my baby feeds me/I'm her lovin' man.) Lots of smiley kids eating lots of sandwiches. The campaign actually promoted two brands: Schmidt markets Blue Ribbon bread in Washington and Baltimore, and Sunbeam bread in the Philadelphia market.
Schmidt Baking Company
Agency: Mathis, Burden & Charles, Baltimore
Writer: Allan Charles
Music Composers: Larry Parks and Jay Tumbow
Art Director: Tom Burden
Director: Allan Charles
1981

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