Animation

Who is Stan Freberg? (Part 1 of 2)

Blake Harris 08.26.2015

Yesterday, our art director (and talented author!) Robert Kopecky asked if I’d ever heard of a “Stan Freberg.” When I shook my head, a curious smile curled across his face as he waved me over for an introduction to his work. So who, exactly, is Stan Freberg? A man of many talents…

Perhaps most famously–and the first thing that Robert told me–was Freberg was the guy who introduced satire to advertising. And by doing so, this being the late 1950’s, he changed the way that commercials were made. Here’s an example:

With campaigns for products like Banquet Frozen Dinners (above), Butternut Coffee and Jacobsen Lawn Mowers (below), Freberg was able to take a risk and help elevate the status of these second and third tier brands.

If these spots seem over-the-top absurd, then that means they’re still working after all these years since bizarre, silly and ridiculous were exactly the objective. That’s because he believed that funny commercials made products more likable and therefore desirable. He also thought (especially in contrast to the stoic, stiff-upper-lip commercials of that era) that injecting unexpected humor into an ad would make that spot more memorable. So that even after televisions were turned off, his strange creation might remain stuck in a viewer’s head–playing over and over for free.

Here are a few more of Stan Freberg’s now-classic spots…

Jeno’s Pizza Rolls: 

Prince Spaghetti:

 

Sunsweet Pitted Prunes (with Ray Bradbury!):

Amazing work, and even more amazing that so much of it feels similar to what we see on the air today. But, as I said at the top, Stan Freberg was a man of many talents…so tune in next week for Part 2 to explore Freberg’s contributions to animation, film, music and much more!

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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