Wednesday, January 22, 2014

John Cameron Swayze and the Hazards of Live Television

"It takes a licking and keeps on ticking"

Time’s Up for ‘Ticking’ as Wearability Supplants Reliability in Watch Pitches.  (The New York Times, 1/13/2014.  When it first appeared online.  It was published in the print edition today.)

Breaking into a well-established marketplace.  “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” helped introduce the Timex brand in the 1950s. It was meant to reassure potential customers that Timex watches, despite being priced below established brands like Bulova, Elgin and Longines, were sturdy, accurate and reliable.

The incident shown in the above YouTube video merited a mention Swayze's New York Times obituary (8/17/1995).  In a memorable commercial that was broadcast live during the Steve Allen show in 1958, a watch was fastened to the propeller of an outboard motor and the motor was run in a tank of water. But when Mr. Swayze reached for the watch after the test, it was gone. Without missing a beat, he said that it was probably still ticking at the bottom of the tank.

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