Madison Avenue Machismo

KITMAN, MARVIN

On Television MADISON AVENUE MACHISMO BY MARVIN KITMAN one morning recently Anthony Shaw????A pseudonym for a famous pediatric surgeon at a leading Southern University????was in the operating...

...Working on the account late one night, the copywriter opened a can of Schlitz and the solution to his problem came to him as if in a vision...
...It's too late,' the art director sighed...
...I believe that interpretation...
...Or possibly his most interesting conversational gambit is, "Hey, I'm glad you dig me...
...The Tijuana Small people, the commercial's message appears to be, are into a whole 'nother thing...
...In Episode No...
...Time after time in the series, the commercials depict middle-aged men losing the girl...
...Two young people jump out of their cockpits, rush up to a virile he-man type standing on the runway watching them, pull his hat down over his eyes, and jump back in the plane...
...The scrub nurse leaned over...
...With all the commotion above, the patient woke up from the anas-thesia...
...The reason for this enthusiasm over the Tijuana Smalls commercial is that everybody thinks the fellow being attacked is The Winchester Man...
...Maybe he has a Bronx accent...
...We pass this way only once.' " The phrase "We pass this way only once"????according to Solowwas the forerunner of the Schlitz slogan...
...This is what actually happened: "An art director of a leading agency was standing outside a building on Madison Avenue one spring day in 1962 with the prominent president of a medium-sized agency...
...and (4) it had that undefinable "certain something" that is the key to a TV slogan's becoming part of the language...
...It's a token...
...Shaw did not look up from his work...
...You've got to reach for gusto...
...He probably has a high-pitched voice," suggested Solow...
...Have a beer...
...Suddenly the Winchester Man appears and sizes up the situation...
...No cavities, dad...
...The third and final act opens with the Winchester Man and the girl walking off into the sunset...
...Seeing the surgery team standing around chatting about cavities, he got off the table, quickly dressed and walked out of the operating room carrying an eight-foot package of Spearmint...
...Suppose the older man was an important biochemist or a leading ornithologist, say, an expert on rare South American toucan birds...
...Two beautiful girls passed by on the street...
...Because you only go around once in life...
...Creative director Ron Hoff of Ogilvy & Mather said, "Let's just say I was not unaware of this...
...1 of The Winchester Man septology, for example, a beautiful, quite irresistable woman is stretched out on a beach...
...Bullschlitz," declared Martin So-low, the president of a New York advertising agency (and recently voted by Ad Daily one of the hundred most creative people on Madison Avenue...
...What the Schlitz agency did was to rewrite and polish the original fine...
...Look fellow,' we say, 'if you knew what I know, you'd get with it...
...In some of the other episodes they drove off in what must be a stolen car...
...You only go around once in life...
...The drama ends with the older man coming back and finding a spent match and a pack of Winchesters with one cigarette, I mean little cigar, left...
...The worst thing about the series, I have concluded after watching the first five episodes 96 times, is that it exploits women...
...And who was that agency president...
...Many TV viewers probably think women are as weak-minded as they are depicted in these dramas...
...He's the old classic hero beating the hell out of the little guy...
...2) it was supported by a large TV budget...
...It's the rudest, most stupid commercial of the year," raved Solow...
...On Television MADISON AVENUE MACHISMO BY MARVIN KITMAN one morning recently Anthony Shaw????A pseudonym for a famous pediatric surgeon at a leading Southern University????was in the operating room...
...the celebrated surgeon finally asked...
...Dustin Hoffman and his girl are getting back at John Wayne and the older generation...
...Moreover, they all serve some function in our society beyond merely advertising a product...
...They enjoy watching someone put him down by messing with his hat because they resent his machismo thing...
...Dad, dad," the boy cried excitedly...
...I have recounted at such length this case of life imitating art by way of calling your attention to the hit commercial of the past summer, "You Only Go Around Once in Life," the Schlitz beer pitch, was seen constantly during the telecast of The Games of the XX Olympiad (ABC) in the last two weeks in August...
...No names, please...
...Perhaps the most popular commercial this season is the Tijuana Smalls situation comedy, entitled Aeromatie Aeroplane...
...The genius of all great slogans of modern advertising is that they are terrifically obvious...
...The Schlitz slogan seemed to have the elements required for stardom in the world of Commercial English: (1) It was short enough to be remembered...
...Schlitz...
...Guess what...
...Suddenly the door swung open...
...The basic idea is an updating of the Lady Chatterley's Lover story: the outdoorsy, he-man type (the gamekeeper Mellors) enters a seemingly tranquil domesdc situation and takes away the young woman (Lady Chatterley) from the older man (Lord Chatterley...
...I wanted to hug my set," remarked one TV viewer...
...Have a Schlitz.' And she will know what he is getting at immediately????with gusto...
...I asked...
...Why is that, my son...
...And then the plot is not logical...
...It is odd that The Winchester Man never says a word in any of the seven episodes...
...I prefer to think that rather than showing people beating up on The Winchester Man, all we did was remake The Graduate...
...But you know you can overintellectualize these things in commercials...
...In this case, the Schlitz slogan helps a man explain his peccadillos: 'So this chick called me at home while I was at the office,' a man says to his scowling wife...
...The creative contribution was to give 'We pass this way only once' the groovier feeling, the with-it, today sound...
...As the curtain comes down on the first act the old man is being sent off on a wild goose chase...
...2) What do you do...
...I was present when the slogan was invented 10 years ago...
...Do you mean to tell me that any woman is going to leave the older man for . . . that...
...It's his calling card," explained Dana Blackmur, the creative director at Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample who thought up the whole thing...
...A second major commercial this season is The Winchester Man drama cycle????A series of seven episodes played in repertory on all the networks all the time...
...A guy who she doesn't even know what he sounds like...
...And it's approved by the American Dental Association, too," she said, handing the doctor his scalpel...
...Surely before any woman would go off with The Winchester Man in real life she would ask one of three things: (1) Where is the ring...
...3) nobody could argue with the message...
...First, I don't like anyone who takes away another guy's girl...
...The line was invented at the Leo Burnett Agency in Chicago by a copywriter who is said to have gotten the idea for it while puzzling over what would distinguish one great beer from the others, since they all taste great...
...Her male companion is resistable: a big fat cigar smoker who looks like Art Buchwald...
...Here's my secret.'" he tragic flaw in these dramas is that they are offensive to older men...
...The tension is so great you need a cigarette, I mean cigar...
...I hate The Winchester Man," a shortish cigar smoker stated...
...Actually the thought wasn't that original in the first place...
...It's never verbalized...
...It was based on the folk-lorish wisdom of the ages and simply means that one day you're going to die...
...What do you mean, it's too late' the agency president exclaimed passionately...
...Basically all that happens is that an antique biplane (a World War I "Jenny") lands at an airport in an unspecified desert area (it's actually Arizona...
...In our business we always believe in giving credit where credit is due," Solow explained...
...Personally, I will have to hear the Winchester Man speak before I can know whether the cigarette, I mean cigar, commercial is really worth taking seriously for the Kitman Prize in TV drama...
...3) How come you don't have your own car...
...In Act II the Winchester Man and the young woman get to know each other????by lighting their whole 'nother smokes with a wooden match he strikes with his thumb nail...
...Thousands of guys have vowed never to smoke Winchesters because of the plot line...
...Now he gets it back from the Tijuana Small kids...
...For a long time I thought "You Only Go Around Once in Life" couldn't miss becoming part of the American language, a laurel last won by Alka-Seltzer's "Try Itó¦ You'll Like It" and "I Ate the Whole Thing...
...I'm somefhin' else...
...A symbol...
...Because I use Crest...
...The dramas have aroused passionate feelings in viewers long apathetic to such things...
...Oh well," Doctor Shaw said, beaming all the while at his son...
...His son, Daniel, ran in and started tugging at his father's gown...
...Other people have confessed they stood up and cheered...

Vol. 55 • November 1972 • No. 23


 
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