Twenty years ago humorous commercials were considered inappropriate by most agency and client standards yet Roy Grace brought us Spicy Meatballs for Alka Seltzer and Mr. Jones and Mr. Kempler for Volkswagen.
Grace, who was just at the start of his distinguished career at Doyle Dane Bernbach, demonstrated that intelligence and originality can make humor work to enhance the quality of a product, make a TV spot memorable, and entertain without boring or insulting the audience.
In fact, Spicy Meatballs won the International Broadcasting Award for the Best Commercial done between 1960 and 1980.
The willingness to take risks and ignore the rules characterizes Grace's highly acclaimed work in television.
The IBA award is just one of the many honors bestowed upon him, more honors than anyon else in advertising; 25 Clios, 9 Gold and 8 Silver Awards from the Art Directors Club, 8 Andy's, 7 One Show Gold Awards and 8 Silver Awards, and 5 Gold Lions and 3 Silver Lions from the Cannes Film Festival. Of the 17 Classic Commercials in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, four were art directed by Roy Grace.
Six of his spots have been elected to the Clios U.S. Television Classic Hall of Fame.