In memory of Stan Freberg.
Stan Freberg was a comic genius. He got his very first job on his first day in LA, as voice actor for Warner Brothers in 1944* and went on to radio and TV success. In the 50s, he wrote and performed in a series of classic comedy albums. His work in those areas are justly celebrated.
But his greatest influence was in the area of advertising. He started making ads in the early 1960s, with his ad agency Thyme Incorporated.** And Freberg did something that had never been done for advertising: he made his ads laugh out loud funny.
There were many ads, including Sunsweet Pitted Prunes (“Today the Pits, tomorrow the Wrinkles! Sunsweet Marches On.”), including one starring Ray Bradbury (“I never mentioned prunes in any of my stories.”)
But the best of them was his ad for Jeno’s Pizza Rolls.
First, a little background. At the time of the ad, Lark Cigarettes*** was running a campaign, where they’d drive through the streets with a sign reading “Show Us Your Lark Pack!” People would hold up their cigarette packs. Here’s an example:
And this is what Freberg did (the first person who interrupts the announcer looks much like the Lark Cigarette’s spokesman; the second – well, you should know who they are):
Johnny Carson has said that when the commercial was shown on The Tonight Show, the audience broke into applause, the only time he’d heard that about a commercial.
Freberg kept making the world laugh until his death a few days ago. And his work will still live on.
*In Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears.
**Time, Incorporated were good sports about it, referring the matter to their lawyers Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary.
***Yes, cigarettes were still advertised on TV at the time.