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Who was the first ad man/salesman/pitch man to publically call himself "Crazy"?
November 5, 2011 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Who was the first ad man/salesman/pitch man to publically call himself "Crazy"?

It's become cultural shorthand for a certain type of businessman that does his own very public hyped-up pitying of his products: Crazy Whoever's Bargain Whatever.

But where did it all start?

Is there an older cultural trend here that predates TV and radio advertising?
posted by Senor Cardgage to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oooops. Pitying=pitching
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:53 PM on November 5, 2011


The Wikipedia article on Crazy Eddie points to Earl "Madman" Muntz as an earlier inspiration.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:59 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yea, Eddie was the first to come to mind but that was the 80's. There must have been someone earlier.
posted by jamesalbert at 8:14 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty fascinating! I wonder if that ever came out.
posted by rhizome at 11:18 PM on November 5, 2011


Is there an older cultural trend here that predates TV and radio advertising?

Not necessarily. To my eye, this is a tactic that presupposes both mass production and broadcast advertising -- and possibly also rudimentary consumer protection laws, such that an off-kilter approach isn't immediately seen as offering low-quality or even dangerous junk. The existence or absence of predatory pricing laws probably also plays some role.

For one thing, mid-19th century retail naming conventions were largely the proprietor's name -- usually in full ("F. W. Woolworth & Co."). By the turn of the century nicknames like Macy's were in common use, and a downmarket had appeared with bland, reassuring names using generic words such as the infamous Acme. By the interwar era, sales and special pricing had helped create a real discount retail approach, but names were still pretty restrained and any superlative adjectives applied to the product or the prices.

I found this page of one small city's retail advertising history that probably gives you a representative sample. Note especially the approach of the ads that use price as a draw. Comparatively sedate.
posted by dhartung at 11:37 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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