Slogan Hall of Fame
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written by Ron:
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Ron Cruger
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The dividing of America
         Somewhere down some lonely, dark alley in some decaying city in America there has to be a second story walk up with a door at the head of the stairs. The paint on the door is peeling. There’s a black plastic rectangle with white letters duct taped to the door informing the visitor that you are about to enter, “The Advertising Slogan Hall of Fame.”
          In these less than hallowed halls a man named Franklin Delano Rabinowitz compiles lists of the newly coined advertising slogans and adds them to the dozens of dusty ledgers neatly arranged on metal storage shelves.
          There is one yellowed ledger that contains the exalted “Best Slogans of All Time.” This ledger is held alone on the top shelf, held upright on one side by the ledger named, “Best Beer Slogans” and on the other by “Best Feminine Hygiene Slogans.”
          The sole proprietor, owner and employee of the Slogan Hall of Fame, called FDR by everyone who knows him, has been collecting and categorizing advertising slogans since 1958. FDR is clean shaven except for a wisp of a thin mustache. He’s no more than five feet two inches tall, has a full head of white hair, is missing most of his top teeth and appears to be perpetually tired, perking up only when he recalls some of the most creative advertising slogans of all time.
          FDR took me on a tour of the two rooms comprising the Hall of Fame.
          “Lemme first show you the beer slogans,” FDR offered. He pulled down a dusty ledger, blew some of the dust off the cover and said, “Here are some of the best.”
          His finger drew an imaginary line down the list.
          “Guinness is good for you.” “Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach.” “Probably the best beer in the world (Carlsbad).” “Reassuringly expensive (Stella Artois)”. “Why ask why? Try Bud Dry.”
          “Now let’s look at the fast food slogans.”
          “Have it your way (Burger King).” “Think outside the bun (Taco Bell).” “Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s).” “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” “Jack’s back (Jack in the Box).” “You deserve a break today (McDonald’s).” “Pizza, pizza (Little Caesars).”
          FDR took two steps to his left and said, “These are some of my favorites, the personal care slogans.
          “A totally orgasmic experience (Clairol).” “Because I’m worth it (L’Oreal).” “Which twin has the Toni?” “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s the Maybelline.” “Does she or doesn’t she? (Clairol).” “I never knew you had dandruff (Head and Shoulders).” “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”
          FDR walked me through the ledgers filled with slogans for household goods, recreation and transport, then he led me to what he called, “The best slogans of all time.”
          “These are the best, some are old, but they’re so creative. They sold a lot of products in their time.”
          FDR pulled down the oversize ledger marked “Tobacco” and began reciting his favorites.
          “Camels soothe your T-zone.” “Doctors recommend Phillip Morris.” “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.” “Just what the doctor ordered (L & M cigarettes).” “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” “Not a cough in a carload (Old Gold cigarettes).” “You’ve come a long way, baby (Virginia Slims cigarettes).” “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet (Lucky Strike cigarettes).” “Taste me! Taste me! Come on and taste me (Doral cigarettes).”
          We went through the entire ledger of tobacco slogans. FDR closed the ledger and leaned his spare body against the edge of a worn and moldy green desk. He said, “Now, in those days we had slogans, great slogans. Made people go out and buy cigarettes. Nowadays, every slogan is nice and sweet. Ain’t like the old days when the slogans were powerful and daring. Nowadays they’re afraid to write strong slogans; afraid they’ll get sued or something. Gimme the old days, I loved ‘em.”
           Two hours had gone by when I told FDR, “Thanks for the tour. I really appreciate it.” I left a donation in the cigar box on the front counter labeled “Thanks.”
          With that I walked down the musty hallway, walked down the flight of stairs, into the sunlight streaming into the alley.
          Out on the boulevard a large, brightly colored billboard featured a sweaty athlete running down a busy city street. In large letters over his head were the words, “Just do it.”