Wells Rich Green Inc. Partner and Copy Chief(at the time)
chuukyuu Please name two of your works that you like best (either TV commercialor print).
Mr.Rich Two works I like heit that I have done are the Alka-Seltzer "stomachs" commercial and the Benson & Hedges "Disadvantages" commercial.
chuukyuu Please explain why you like them best.
Mr.Rich The reason I like them best is because they were rather artistic, they were enjoyable to do, and because they both sold products so well. The AlkaSeltzer commercial took a brand that was declining in sales year after year after year and turned it around into a brand that was successful. It was the most successful brand in the drug industry that year. The Benson & Hedges commercial made Benson & Hedges a major cigarette brand in the United States with the most successful seJling commercial since 1957 in cigarette business.
chuukyuu Please tell us some background stories or episodes of thc time whcn these two works of yours were done ... your discussion with the art director, comments of clients, public reactions to the ads, etc.
Mr.Rich I imagine that you would like some interesting side-light material. Let me tell you about some of the interesting things that happened with the Alka-Seltzer stomach commercial. If you recall this was the commercial which showed all the different stomachs ... "no matter what shape they were in." And when the client first saw the commercial, he thought this was the best commeccial he'd ever seen in his life. When the commercial was first on the air, several ladies complained. Not many but several, came into the client about a ballet dancer and a hula dancer. And for two or three days it looked like there was a slight objection to the commercial by a small group of people. And then after the commercial was on the air a few days, tons and tons of letters came into Alka-Seltzer complimenting the commercial. One of the most interesting letters was from a woman who said her husband left home eight years before and she hadn't seen or heard from him since. The fat man playing baseball was her long lost husband and she would like to know where and how she could locate him. Another letter came in from a young man admiring the weight-lifter in the commercial and wanted to know what his measurements were and if he could have a picture to hang up in his room and if he could write to him.
The other commercial that I dearly love is the Benson & Hedges the one we call "Disadvantage" commercial where the man gets his cigarette stuck in the elevator. And we have some very interesting comments about that one. When the client saw the idea, and I must say the credit, he loved the idea and approved the commercial. When it was first introduced, many people in the advertising industry said "that's no way to sell cigarettes and Wells. Rich. Greene will fail". The public reaction was universally sensational and sales were terrific.