Advertising: One-Liners and Broken Taboos

One-Liners and Broken Taboos

He deadpanned nonstop alliterations into the phone as he promoted an employee ("I'm putting you in charge of Pittsburgh, Peter!") and closed a contract ("Dick, what's the deal with the deal?"). The 1982 Federal Express commercial featuring the fast-talking Mr. Spleen struck a chord in frantic managers everywhere. Last week it was rated the best ad of the 1980s in a Top Ten list compiled by the One Club, an industry group.

The judges looked for ads that broke new ground. The Ally & Gargano agency's Federal Express ad shattered taboos against making fun of the customer. One runner-up, adman Hal...

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