The international struggles of our world may lead to… (ka-boom) NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST!
Nothing lends itself better to a fear-based advertising campaign than your family’s radioactive death. So when the Mort Kridel Advertising Agency was asked to create a radio ad campaign for Survive-All Fallout Shelters, they did their PR-darnedest to scare the Wonder Bread crap out of nuclear families everywhere. Tense horn stabs and canned explosions bracket sales pitches like:
Radioactive fallout, that deadly by-product of a nuclear attack, will kill literally millions of unprotected families in the event of an atomic attack. Is YOUR family protected? Do YOU have a fallout shelter?
Each Civil defense approved, basement-type, Do-It-Yourself fallout shelter includes: A complete fully-stocked first aid kit! Extra strength saran and rayon bunks! A radiation meter and individual dosimeters!
Civil defense approved, FHA approved, no money down, five years to pay!
Economical… but Priceless!
These are ripped from the original LP that would have gone to radio stations from the ad agency. There are 6 long versions and 3 shortened versions, each fairly different. Since it was promotional there was no record cover, but a scan of the record’s label is included. No year is evident, but since the zip code is two digits, it’s presumably pre-1963, and I would guess late 1950’s.
I just don’t even need to say anything about this, do I?
Well, I will say a few things. As the opening stock-music fanfare gives way to the manly announcer proclaiming, “When it comes to handling manure, you need dependable equipment!” you know you’re in for a good thing. Plenty of fun quotes, such as “Teeth are arranged to pull manure inward,” though for some reason I just love the brief statement, “Adjust suck.”
Incidentally, the reason I have it is that my grandfather and my uncle ran the John Deere store in Plain City, Ohio (yes, “Plain City”… you can’t make that stuff up) for many years. Although my family was far from rural or white trash, this meant we had John Deere everything: John Deere calendars, John Deere bicycles, John Deere wall thermometers. When they closed up shop, my parents managed to hold onto a couple dozen of these records, all 45 RPM soundtracks to sales presentations. This is easily my fave.
It’s 1978 and the Miles Laboratory, creators of Alka-Seltzer, have signed on international superstar Sammy Davis Jr. as the perfect spokesman for their “Party hard? Live fast? Get relief FAST!” promotional campaign aimed at the fast growing demographic of late 70’s swingers and drug addicted socialites. It is a time before AIDS and cocaine will cast their deadly shadows and Sammy Davis Jr. is considered a strong icon not only for this new middle class phenomena but also for the previous generation who had still longed for the Rat Pack days of Sammy, Dean, and Frank.
This campaign produced several television ads featuring Sammy singing new, hip takes on the clasic “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” jingle (written by Tom Dawes, published by Twin Star Music) and was a success on all counts — hitting their target audience of hungover party-goers. One version which was termed the “Big Band Version” was geared towards the older generations while “Rock Version” was aimed at the excessive lifestyle generation.
However it all ended for Sammy in 1979 when the Bayer Corporation purchased Miles Laboratories and overhauled the brand and marketing strategy of Alka-Seltzer, signing on actor Bernie Kopell (Doc from ABC series The Love Boat) as their official spokesperson. The new campaign was geared away from the party and hangover crowd and more towards women ages 30–60 with severe digestive problems. Bayer Corp. is currently promoting a hangover remedy called Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief with rock vocalist Courtney Love as official spokesperson who will record the famous jingle yet again in both a Grunge Rock Version and Techno Version.