Updating Americana AbramsonEhrlich Revives Burma-Shave, Recalls Rural Roadside Icons for Cable TV

By Katy Eckmann

ATLANTA–Burma-Shave is back.

For the first time in 30 years, the shaving cream–an advertising icon famous for its rhyming roadside signs–has re-entered the U.S. market with a cable television spot created by AbramsonEhrlichManes in Washington, D.C.

AbramsonEhrlichManes (AEM) was hired a year ago by American Safety Razor in Staunton, Va., which recently bought the Burma-Shave trademark from Philip Morris. The agency’s charge was to revive a dormant brand that had been out of the market since the late 1960s.

AEM decided to leverage two facts discovered through research: most men over age 45 recognize the Burma-Shave name, and competitors have focused primarily on the 18-34 age group.

‘We’re going to let Gillette and the big boys talk to all the young people,’ said AEM creative director Joe Moscati, who developed the commercial with associate creative director Hal Swetnam. Instead, Burma-Shave is targeting men age 45-65 by tapping into the product’s nostalgic appeal.

Breaking this month, the 30-second TV spot features a mature, modern-day couple driving on a seaside road in a ’58 Corvette. Music throughout the spot was created to ‘capture the authenticity of the car in that era,’ Moscati said.

The couple passes a series of horizontal red and white signs (reminiscent of the old Burma-Shave signs), which read: ‘You don’t have a care/You don’t have a worry/You’ve reached the point/Where you don’t/Have to hurry.’

The cable TV spot has a quick product shot toward the end before viewers see the Corvette parked by the beach, its passengers presumed to have stolen away to the nearby dunes. The tagline, ‘Burma-Shave, where will it take you?’ closes the commercial.

The single spot will run on cable channels such as CNN and ESPN. No other TV executions or print will be produced in the near future.

The advertising budget for the effort was not disclosed.

Burma-Shave products include blade cartridges and handles, shaving cream and skin conditioner.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED