Tony, The Elves and Poppin' Fresh"
The Leo Burnett agency in Chicago, where I worked as a copywriter,
is famous for inventing "trade characters"–animated
personalities who move millions of pounds of package goods
off shelves. Charlie the Tuna for Starkist, the Keebler Elves,
the Jolly Green Giant for Green Giant vegetables, and the
Poppin' Fresh "dough boy" for Pillsbury are just
a few examples. So is Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted
Flakes (with the late great Thurl Ravenscroft doing the grrrrrowling!)
Agency: Leo Burnett Company
That wasn't really his name. We don't know his name. We
just know he's an obnoxious liar, and we love him. He spouts
the outrageous claims (The new Isuzu
Trooper can hold a symphony orchestra!) while the supers tell us the
down-to-earth but still-impressive truth. Joe is played,
with great aplomb, by the actor with the great name: David
Leisure. Did the spots work? Do you remember any Isuzu
spots before or after this campaign?
Agency: Della Famina, Travisano & Partners
Writers: Matt Bogen, John Armistead, among others
Art Director: Jeannie Marie Obeji, among others
Revived by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
So powerful: a finger touches the "play" button on a tape recorder. Next to the machine is an elegant wine glass. A famous singer begins singing (jazz/pop goddess Ella Fitzgerald, opera star Enrico DiGiuseppe, others). The singer hits a high note. The glass shatters! Truth is, almost any audio magnetic tape would've done the same thing. But Memorex got there firstest with the mostest!
Agency: Leo Burnett Company
for a Drug-Free America/"Your Brain"
A hand holds a raw egg. The voiceover says, This
is your brain. The hand cracks the eggshell on the edge of a frying pan. The stove is red hot. The egg cooks, bubbles, crackles. The voice over adds, This
is your brain on drugs. Unforgettable imagery and tough-love message. But it's the very last line that nails it -- Any
questions? The '98 update features an actress who substitutes heroin for drugs. She breaks the egg again. Then proceeds to destroy everything in the kitchen. The client named their volunteer award the "Golden Frying Pan" for obvious reasons.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners updated
1987; updated 1998
Suicidal people jumping off the cliff is a metaphor, obviously,
for all those fools who march in lock step to the PC drummer.
Heigh ho, heigh ho, It's off to work we go, they sing as
they hurl themselves into the sea. Copy: The Macintosh
office. You can look into it. Or you can go on with business
as usual. Like "1984" (see #51) it only ran once
on the Super Bowl, but wow, what a one-hit wonder! Most
ad folks prefer "1984." But I prefer this one.
To me it's more ominous. Tough luck that the Mac Office
products weren't ready to go and the stock tanked and Steve
Jobs got fired and–but that's another story.
Express/"Do You Know Me?"
Former failed vice presidential candidate William E. Miller
(who ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964) helps begin the
era of the "affordable celebrity." He asked,
Do you know me? I ran for vice president of the United
States. I shouldn't have trouble charging a meal, should
I? Well, I do. That's why I carry the American Express
Card. The fun was to try to I.D. these nearly-well-known
folks before they tell us who they are.
At the end there was that neat little clicking EFX when
we got to find the name of this "unknown/familiar" person
as it appeared on his/her card. Actor Norman Fell was the
first in the series. Others included Stephen King who asked Without it, isn't life a little scary?
Ogilvy & Mather:
No. 5/"Catherine Deneuve"
So what if the copy was total gibberish? (It's
not important that I'm Catherine Deneuve. I know he loves
me for what I am deeply. I know because he cares about
the little things. He brings me coffee, always in a small
cup, because it is precious to me. He give me Chanel Number
5 because I love to put it in a special place...behind
my knee.) A small cup! God! Those eyes! That voice! That perfume!
Chanel Number Five
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach
The first definitive soap opera. A bespeckled, tuxedoed little guy, played by an actor named Jobe Cerney, smudges his handkerchief. Pops it in a fancy cocktail shaker. Sprinkles in a little Cheer. Shakes it up, baby. An operatic air plays in the background. Voila! Clean! Very wry. Very Euro. Who'd've thunk P&G would ever run something this good? Cerney was, believe it or not, the voice of Burnett's Poppin' Fresh Doughboy for Pillsbury! (See #21.) There was a series of these wonderful messages.
Cheer Detergent, Proctor & Gamble
Agency: Leo Burnett Company
Writer: Jennifer LeMay
Director: LeRoy Koetz
Music: from Catalani's La Wally
Like to Buy the World a Coke"
No, it hasn't particularly aged well, and the new version makes your skin crawl, but the original with its grainy pan of diverse faces on a hilltop seemed to encapsulate the hopeful/romantic/sentimental times. Music + film = perfect harmony worth drinking to. We didn't seem to really listen to the lyrics. (I'd
like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love/Grow
apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.) Otherwise, wouldn't someone among us ask, "Grow turtle doves?" The spot, with its big cast, was originally supposed to be shot on the cliffs of Dover in England. But it rained for days. They moved the shoot to Rome. The reprise running these days is not worth commenting upon.
Writer: Bill Backer (later he will create the fine Backer & Speilvogel agency)
Art Director: Harvey Gabor
Director: Giuseppe Retumo, Roma Films
Composers: Roger F. Cook, Roquel B. Davis, Bill Backer, John Roger Greenway
Pepsi/"The Girl Watcher's Theme"
Great nonverbal communications as some of the most gorgeous women strut their slim stuff to a Herb Albert-y music track. The music track became a big pop hit (to Number 15) by the Bob Crewe Generation. Later, Andy Williams released it with "lyrics." (The
boys watch the girls while the girls watch the boys who
watch the girls go by.) Huh? Great/horrible last line of
the copy: Sip into something irresistible.
Composer: Sid Ramin
Next Ten Spots