Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Day Repost. My commercial with David Bowie.

I have legions of readers in the UK who have little idea that the United States celebrates "Labor Day," way after the rest of the world does. Most civilized nations honor workers on May 1. We do so on the first Monday of September.

As such, being a laboring man, I am off today. However so as not to disappoint those who aren't, a short repost from about three years ago.


Back in the early 80s, I was working with my long-term partner on some commercials for a major Midwestern supermarket chain. A young account person on the account did some research that showed that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, ground beef sales spiked. In fact that three month period accounted for over 60% of the year’s hamburger sales.

Late one night, my boss came to us.

“Boys,” he said, “we’re in a real pickle. We need to drive ground beef sales like never before.”

Practically before he left our office, Craig said, “Let’s get David Bowie.”


Craig picked up his guitar and started singing:

“Ground Beef Control to Major Tom
Ground Beef Control to Major Tom,
Packed with protein now and fresh from the farm,
Ground Beef Control to Major Tom (ten nine eight seven six).

“Genius,” I responded, picking up the horn.

In a second I was connected to the famous rocker. I quickly explained our idea and he loved it.

In just a few short weeks we were shooting and recording Bowie. A couple weeks after that we had one of the biggest successes of the year.

Hamburger sales went through the roof.

I’ll miss you, Ziggy.

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