Stan Freberg, one of the most respected names in advertising and a beloved comedic voice, has passed away. He was 88.
For decades, Freberg's work entertained consumers and inspired Madison Avenue ad execs and comedians.
"John and Marsha," Freberg's 1951 spoof of soap operas, was released as a single by Capitol Records and became a hit:
This piece of "Frebergian" comic genius was also honored on AMC's "Mad Men." The season four premiere included a brief homage to the classic sketch, performed by "Peggy" and "Joey":
Freberg's mash-up of the popular radio drama "Dragnet" and the tale of St. George and the Dragon produced "St. George and the Dragonet."
In 1957, as Harry Belafonte's hit "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" was in the top five on Billboard's Hot 100, Freberg released his version, "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)," poking fun at the music industry's latest craze, calypso.
Freberg's mockery of Belafonte's hit was played on radio and became a smash, peaking at number 25 on the Billboard chart:
In 1958, Freberg released "Green Christmas," a highly-produced slam to the commercialization of Christmas. Fifty-seven years later, "Green Christmas" still rings true with those who believe the real meaning of the season has been drowned out by retailers and the focus on gift-giving:
One of Freberg's most famous series of commercials was for the Sunsweet company. He was tasked with making prunes more palatable to the mass market.
The spots used the tag line "Sunsweet Marches On" and regularly made fun of the wrinkled nature of the fruits. In 1969, Freberg managed to convince science fiction author Ray Bradury to appear in a Sunsweet spot:
Recognized as the ad man who brought comedy to television and radio advertising over the course of his career, Freberg's work earned 21 of the advertising industry's coveted Clio Awards.
Freberg ultimately died of pneumonia in a Santa Monica, California, hospital.
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