Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Truth in advertising

A fixture for many years on Atlanta radio, first on WRNG-AM (Ring Radio) and then on WSB-AM (Welcome South, Brother), was Ludlow Porch, the radio persona of a man named Bob Hanson. Ludlow Porch was a one-of-a-kind, laid- back humorist -- engagingly folksy like Arthur Godfrey, only funnier -- who once claimed that he had a Brazilian cousin named Carmen Veranda.

Ludlow enjoyed life to the full. He threw “Wacko Parties” once a year for his listeners, and the tickets went quickly. Each party was attended by hundreds and hundreds of people. Many of the wackos who called his program assumed false identities of their own. I remember a woman named Kitty Litter, and a fellow who called himself Sheriff Milton Crabapple (Milton and Crabapple are both suburbs of Atlanta) who sounded just like Walter Brennan. Another guy did a spot-on imitation of Ted Koppel, the anchor of Nightline from 1980 until 2005, right down to his wavy red hair. The fun kept people coming back to Ludlow’s radio program every day for years, although outside of Georgia I suppose nobody ever heard of him. Mrs. RWP and I attended one of the Wacko Parties with two people from my office, and we all had a blast.

Image by Parker Smith

At one point in his career Ludlow opened a restaurant, the Blue Ribbon Grill, and the place is still in business after 25 years. In its early days, he made a commercial for it that ended with the words, “You gotta eat someplace and we need the money,” and it became their corporate motto. Here’s proof.

That commercial by Ludlow was my all-time favorite for years, but this week I saw one on television that just may top it. It features Johnny Bench, the former catcher for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Johnny urges us to buy Blue Emu Cream,
a pain reliever he claims to have used for years, by saying, “It works, and you won’t stink.”

I think these are two classic examples of truth in advertising that are hard to beat. Do you know of any others?

While you’re thinking, watch Ludlow’s cousin, or her twin sister, sing “Chica Chica Boom Chic” (2:30). It is fairly representative of movies people watched in the 1940s, but I think it is probably not an example of truth in advertising.


  1. "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" - this is an atheist advertising slogan that appeared on several buses in London and was then copied in various other cities around the world (2009). They didn't need to convince me!

  2. We had a series of irritating ads for an online insurance comparison website that featured a curly moustachioed opera singer belting out the jingle.

    It became the most hated ad on tv, but the makers recognised this and started to come up ads in which various personalities came up with ingenious ways of 'eliminating' the singer. I particularly the one featuring Stephen Hawking.

    But the 'truthful' ads that worry me are the ones for soap, cleaner etc that claim to kill 99.9% of all known germs. What about the other 0.01%? Will they strike me down at any moment?

  3. Yorky, A person who says, "There is no God" is an atheist. A person who says, "There's probably no God" is an agnostic or a skeptic, not an atheist. I'm just sayin'...

    Mr. Parrots, I really liked the commercial featuring Stephen Hawking. And an atheist would tell you, "No, the other 0.01% of germs will not kill you," but an agnostic or skeptic would tell you, "No, the other 0.01% of germs probably will not kill you." See the difference?

  4. His fame hasn't reached Oregon, but then mine hasn't reached Georgia.

    I'm making it through all two years of "The Guns of Will Sonnett" (I do this when I'm baking and Peggy's at work). It wasn't much of a series, but it did star Walter Brennan who would have been about your age when he made it, a job that involved an occasional short/slow run and getting to out-shoot quite a few young gunmen. He also prays a lot (once or twice per episode), so you should be glad I'm watching it. No doubt, I will someday visit your church and give a testimony about how I was saved by watching "The Guns of Will Sonnett," something I surely wouldn't have done had you not prayed for me.

    "A person who says, "There is no God" is an atheist. A person who says, "There's probably no God" is an agnostic or a skeptic, not an atheist."

    Few atheists go around positively affirming the non-existence of God because (a) there is no agreed upon definition of God, and it is odd to deny that which one has no working definition of (b) the typical atheist stance is that there is no evidence to support a belief in the supernatural as opposed to proof that one doesn't exist. It's a position of extreme skepticism rather than outright denial. As for the ad, to say that there is "probably" not a God doesn't suggest that the speaker is declaring the matter a toss-up (as would an agnostic), but is rather a reference to the low (i.e. nil) order of evidence. The referenced sign appears in America too.

  5. Snowbrush, glad you are back on the posting and commenting trail once again. Regarding the first part of your ocmment, I guess we never knew the evangelical efficacy of The Guns of Will Sonnett until now. Regarding the second half of your comment, a retort commonly used on the playground when I was in elementary school was, "It takes one to know one." I just thought I'd trot that out one more time. Seriously, you know a lot more about atheists than I do, so I'll take your word for it.

  6. Snowbrush is a clever guy and he has nailed the atheist/agnostic issue perfectly so a big fat raspberry to you Mr Brague!