Struthers Tells What Smells

At first the idea was offered almost as a lark. Creatives at BVK in Milwaukee were thinking of ways to push Citra air purifier from client Lil’ Drugstore.

“Who wouldn’t need this product? That’s where we started,” said copywriter Jeff Ericksen. People born without the ability to smell, it was decided. That led to a scenario where Sally Struthers would give one of her tear-jerking appeals to help those with olfactory shortcomings.

Proving it’s never foolish to say “what the hell,” a radio script was sent to Struthers’ agent, and she accepted.

“We didn’t say, ‘Do your Save the Children thing,'” Ericksen said. “But she knew what we wanted and went right into it.”

The resultant radio spots break later this week in five test markets. In part of a campaign tagged “Life stinks. Deal with it,” Struthers lets loose an emotional appeal for “Gary Rasmussen,” born without the ability to smell and hospitalized “for his inability to smell spoiled milk.”

An announcer cuts in as Struthers asks for donations, saying, “Some people don’t have to worry about bad smells. For the rest of us, there’s Citra.”