I neglected to mention in yesterday’s piece on Bob & Ray their contribution to advertising and marketing. Beginning in the late 1950s with their Piels Beer ads, where they played the voices to animated characters Bert and Harry Piel, the two became involved in radio and television commercials for a wide range of products and services.
The Bert & Harry Piel ads (only seen in the Northeast) were created by Young and Rubicam and were animated by the very creative studio UPA (famous for the Gerald McBoingBoing cartoons and others.) Here is what I believe was the first one:
Bert and Harry were so popular that they’d be included in the TV listings, so people could tune in just to see them. The ad campaign was changed though, when Piels realized that, although people loved the commercials, beer sales showed that they weren’t attracting any new customers.
This led, however, to the formation of their marketing company, Goulding Elliot Greybar (so named because their offices were in the Greybar Building in NYC). Among the projects they were known for was a series of testimonial ads for the radio industry, encouraging people to keep a transistor radio handy for emergencies. They also did ads for Underwood Deviled Ham, Interwoven Socks, Alcoa Aluminum, Glidden Paints and Cumuloft Carpets. These were added to by the parodies they did of radio ads which were sometimes hard to distinguish from the real things.