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The 'Spicy Meatball' of TV Advertising

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NEW YORK ( -- In his own way, Roy Grace was as unique and memorable to the advertising community as his
Roy Grace.
Click to see larger image of Balvenie Scotch ad.

"Spicy Meatball" TV commercial was to the culture at large.

That hilarious and incredibly effective spot -- widely considered one of the best TV advertisements ever made -- was again triggering smiles for generations of Americans who remembered it so vividly on the news of its creator's death on Feb. 26.

Mr. Grace, who was 66 when he succumbed to prostate cancer last week, produced a body of iconic work that helped define the larger possibilities of TV in advertising's creative breakout era of the 1960s and '70s.

During his years at Doyle Dane Bernbach, Mr. Grace was a member of the 1960s all-star creative team under advertising legend William Bernbach. His work there included "Funeral" TV spot for Volkswagen; the "Spicy Meatball" spot for Miles Laboratories' Alka-Seltzer; and, for American Tourister, "The Gorilla," one of the funniest TV ad torture-tests ever devised. A indefatigable pencil artist, Mr. Grace also drew many of the illustrations that appeared in ads for clients such as Balvenie Scotch.

In 1986, Mr. Grace left DDB and, with colleague Diane Rothschild, founded Grace & Rothschild. In 1987, he returned to auto advertising, beginning a relationship with Range Rover and later Land Rover that ended after 13 years in 2000. Below are some of his best -- and most beloved -- TV commercials.


Spicy Meatball

Brand: Alka Seltzer
Title: "Spicy Meatball"
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York

Elephant Car Wash

Brand: Land Rover
Title: "Elephants"
Agency: Grace & Rothschild

Luggage Gorilla

Brand: American Tourister Luggage
Title: "Gorilla"
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York

Volkswagen Millionaire

Brand: Volkswagen
Title: "Funeral"
Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York

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