Award-Winning Copywriter Steve Kasloff Dies at 55

His Ad for Dannon Yogurt Launched the Famed 'In Soviet Georgia' Campaign

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NEW YORK ( -- Steve Kasloff, the award-winning copywriter behind the famed "Son of Russia" TV commercial for Dannon yogurt, died of heart failure in Los Angeles on Dec. 23, 2007. He was 55 years old.
Steve Kasloff
Steve Kasloff

Mr. Kasloff graduated from the Pratt Institute in 1974 with a degree in art direction at the age of 22. Less than a year later, he was already making his mark on the ad world at Marsteller with his 1975 "Son of Russia" commercial, which featured an elderly Russian man eating Dannon yogurt under the watchful eyes of his even older doting mother. The commercial kick-started and defined the three-year "In Soviet Georgia" campaign, which was voted No. 89 among Advertising Age's 100 greatest advertising campaigns of all time. The spot won Mr. Kasloff his first Clio in 1978.

But he wasn't resting on his laurels. He also was awarded a One Show Gold award for creative excellence in 1977 for coining Roosevelt Island's "Little Apple" moniker, which is still used today.

His career included stints at several New York-based agencies, including Young & Rubicam; Carl Ally; and Scali, McCabe, Sloves, and he won several more One Show awards.

"Advertising was his life," said his brother, WNBC Producer Stewart Kasloff, "but he was always interested in movies."

Steve Kasloff earned his second Clio in 1985 for a provocative teaser trailer for Brian De Palma's "Body Double." He moved to Los Angeles to become senior VP-creative director for Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox.

'King of the one-liner'
He eventually went freelance, writing ad campaigns and trailers for several Hollywood studios, working on movies such as "Tootsie," starring Dustin Hoffman, and "The Crying Game." His recent projects included "27 Dresses," which opens next week.

"He was the king of the one-liner, able to make it funny, to make the copy sing," said David Schneiderman of Seismic Productions, a close friend and business partner of 18 years. "He was a freelancer, but we tried to keep him busy enough to keep him close. He was a secret weapon of sorts. He always got to the heart of the matter, and he was never done."
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