The 1963 live-action comedy “The Pink Panther” comes to Super Bowl XXX in this animated spot incorporating early computer-age graphics. And it sells home insulation well.
The Pink Panther character originated in a cartoon sequence that opened that first “Pink Panther” movie and went on to appear in the beginning of the many “Pink Panther” theatrical sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon from 1969 to 1976 and, of course, a series of ads for Owens Corning pink fiberglass insulation starting in 1979 or 1980.
The association with Owens Corning, based in Toledo, Ohio, may have been the most lucrative and, once the film series petered out, the best known. The pink insulation itself didn’t originally arise in the marketing department; red dye was merely added to a new iteration of the company’s insulation, which had been yellow, to differentiate it internally from the old. It turned out to make an impact on consumers as well. “I don’t think we ever realized the power of pink in the marketplace,” Joe Doherty, a former Owens Corning VP for marketing communication, told the Toledo Blade in 2013. “It was about differentiating with customers. Then we realized we had something different on our hands -- it was the color.”
Adding the Panther character was a stroke of genius. By about 1990, surveys by Owens Corning reported that consumers preferred its pink insulation to the next rival by five to one, the Toledo Blade reported. And the margin kept growing. Reviewing Fahlgren’s 1996 ad for Owens Corning, Bob Garfield wrote for Ad Age that “the Pink Panther, one of the great ad characters, is still batting a thousand.” Owens Corning previously brought its mascot to the Super Bowl in 1985 ("Perfect Crime"), and ran a Super Bowl ad without the Panther in 1979 ("Glass House").
The Pink Panther, of course, was only one of a broad menagerie of animals helping marketers sell their wares in Super Bowl XXX, which also featured Budweiser’s frogs ("Winter") and a penguin ("When a Penguin Calls"), a trained pet for Pepsi ("Goldfish"), wolves for Toyota’s 4runner ("Wolves") and more.
Video courtesy of Owens Corning. Used by permission.
BRAND: Owens Corning