Ads From ’70s Make a Comeback

NEW YORK Even as agencies are scrambling to find new and untraditional ways to deliver advertising messages to consumers, some clients are casting a nostalgic eye backwards and re-releasing classic ad iconography.

Maxwell on Tuesday began wild postings in 10 cities including New York and Los Angeles featuring its “Blown-Away Guy”—a man sitting in front of audio speakers with his tie and hair being blown back. The print ad, which debuted in 1979, has been updated with photos of iPods and accessories underneath the image. “Get blown away” is the headline while copy urges consumers to use Maxwell accessories to “make your small iPod sound like a huge audio system.”

This week BBDO introduced a remade classic Alka-Seltzer TV spot, which sparked the catchphrase “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” across the U.S. in 1972. Actors Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts, the parents of Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond, re-enact the ad. “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” Boyle complains in bed. Roberts instructs him to take his Alka-Seltzer.

ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher popcorn brand led the trend by re-airing a classic spot from 1976. The ad, which began playing in November, shows Redenbacher comparing his popcorn with another brand.

“We wanted to tap into the core equities of the brand and that took us straight to Orville Redenbacher,” said Garth D. Neuffer, senior director of product public relations at ConAgra. “Plus, those old spots are so classic they deserve another airing.”

Neuffer said a campaign with new spots, created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, would begin airing in January.

Milestones play a role in two of the comebacks: Alka-Seltzer is approaching its 75th year, and 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of Orville Redenbacher popcorn.