Saturday, June 27, 2009

Remembering 3 celebs who really knew how to pitch

There is a kind of "back story" to the histories of most major brands, and the dialog is spiced up by the various celebrities or non-celebrities who pitched those brands over the years. With this week's passing of three major advertising pitchmen - well two men and one very memorable woman - it is worthwhile to recall some of their work. Everybody knows about Michael Jackson's Pepsi ads that were produced by ad hall-of-famer Phil Dusenberry. I don't believe that he had an unlimited budget, but it is clear they set the guy's hair on fire. And of course Ed pitched for Alpo and Budweiser back in the early days, then American Family Publishers

Media coverage of Jackson's death completely overshadowed Fawcett and McMahon, so enough about the so-called King of Pop.

Some of the best, most memorable ads from the 70's featured Farrah in some of her early appearances before being cast in TV series like "Harry O" with David Jansen.  Farrah's spots for Noxema shaving cream and the 1975 Mercury Cougar were great. No wonder I bought two of those cars.

A final note about McMahon - he was a great pitchman - possibly the greatest ever if you consider pitchmen in the purest sense. He wasn't famous, or infamous for being famous or dangerous or flashy. There was no "borrowed interest" other than the connection with Johnny Carson's show. He was a regular guy who made good because he had a very effective way of delivering the clients' pitches. He was as good or better than Billy Mays, getting his start on the old boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ.

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