Vale Stan Freberg

Legendary radio advertising advocate Stan Freberg has died aged 88.

Every radio person knows of the famous Maraschino Cherry sketch, proving that radio advertising is more creative then television.

The tag line, “try doing that in television,” reflects the power of radio when it was made.

Eventhough Freberg’s proposition has been overtaken by digital technology, which can create a mountain, top it with whipped cream and simulate the airforce dropping a giant cherry on top of it, Freberg’s point still remains – radio is the medium of imagination.

Born in 1926, Freberg was an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director at the height of the radio medium’s battle with the new medium, television.

Freberg was employed as a voice actor in animation shortly after graduation. He began at Warner Brothers in 1944 by getting on a bus and asking the driver to let him off “in Hollywood”. As he describes in his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, he got off the bus and found a sign that said “talent agency”. He walked in, and the agents there arranged for him to audition for Warner Brothers cartoons where he was promptly hired.

He was a man of principle, refusing to accept alcohol and tobacco manufacturers as sponsors when he took over for Jack Benny on CBS radio in 1957. 

When Freberg introduced satire to the field of advertising, he revolutionized the industry, influencing staid ad agencies to imitate Freberg by injecting humor into their previously dead-serious commercials. He later went on to make many satirical recordings, including an early satire on political correctness, Elderly Man River.

You can hear his most famous radio advertising sketch below.


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