Al Batt: Seeing the world through familiar slogans

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.

A friend, Leon Schoenrock of New Richland, mentioned his recollection of an old Viegel’s Kaiserhoff of New Ulm TV commercial, which had the owner sitting behind bushels of bones, saying, “I love these ribs.”

It’s been argued that TV has an adverse impact on attention spans, but things are remembered. People remember the theme songs from “The Flintstones” and “Gilligan’s Island” as well as they remember their middle names. Repetition helps. My mother called me by my full name when she was peeved with me. I remember my middle name.

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The average person watches 450 hours of commercials each year. That’s four years over a lifetime. The commercials may give us an Excedrin headache, but we remember them.

People tell me that the commercials during the Super Bowl are better than the games. There is room for the commercials. If you eliminate replays and the antics of coaches, there are about 12 minutes of live action and over an hour of commercials.

And now a word from our sponsors. A world in slogans.

“You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

“Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum!”

Brylcreem assured, “A little dab’ll do ya.”

Dinah Shore sang, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.”

Pillsbury claimed, “Nothing says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.”

“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”

Lucky Strike was “So round, so firm, so fully packed.”

“I’d walk a mile for a Camel.”

Virginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

The Marlboro Man was a cowboy. He needed no slogan. That brand was once aimed at women and had a slogan, “Mild as May.”

Roto-Rooter, “Away go troubles down the drain.”

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, “Snap, Crackle, Pop.”

Alka-Seltzer, “Mamma Mia, that’s a spicy meatball.” “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”

The Energizer Bunny pounded a big drum extolling batteries that kept going and going and going.

Wendy’s presented a customer receiving a burger from a competitor, the “Home of the Big Bun.” The small patty prompted the woman to exclaim angrily, “Where’s the beef?” When Gary Hart suggested during a 1984 Democratic presidential primary debate that he had lots of new ideas. His opponent, Walter Mondale responded, “Where’s the beef?”

“From the land of sky blue waters. From the land of pines, lofty balsams. Comes the beer refreshing. Hamm’s, the beer refreshing.”

Grain Belt Beer, “It’s been a long time a-brewing!”

“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener. That is what I’d truly like to be. ’Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, everyone would be in love with me.”

“My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R. Oh! I love to eat it every day and if you ask me why I’ll say, ‘Cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A.”

“We’re having Beefaroni. Beef and macaroni. Beefaroni’s full of meat. Beefaroni’s really neat. Beefaroni’s fun to eat. Hooray for Chef Boyardee!”

McDonald’s Big Mac was “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.”

Mikey hated everything. He tried Life cereal and ate it with gusto even though it was good for him. “He likes it.”

“Got Milk?”

“I want my Maypo!”

Lite Beer (name changed later to Miller Lite) featured Bubba Smith, Dick Butkus, Bob Uecker, John Madden, Red Auerbach, Rodney Dangerfield and others arguing, “Tastes great!” or “Less filling!”

Wisecracking Max Headroom was the computer-generated pitchman for New Coke, advising us, “Catch the wave!”

Mr. Whipple begged customers, “Please, don’t squeeze the Charmin.”

Fred the Baker of Dunkin’ Donuts said, “Time to make the donuts.”

Iron Eyes Cody weeping at his country diminished by pollution was effective for “Keep America Beautiful.”

Wonderbread, “Helps build strong bodies eight (or 12) different ways.

The Trix Rabbit coveted the raspberry red, lemony lemon and orangey orange cereal. Invariably, he was rebuked, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.”

Ron Popeil, the godfather of TV infomercials, introduced spray-on hair and proclaimed his Veg-O-Matic, “It slices! It dices!”

To paraphrase the theme song from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Who can turn the world on with her or his smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?”

You, that’s who!