Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Free at last
For a senior course in college we worked up an ad campaign for Wrigley's gum, which didn't really need our help at the time. Hard for some of you kids to imagine, but the Chicago-based company once owned the chewing gum market with its three sugary primary brands: Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit.
Our billboard campaign, while clever -- it featured alternating green, yellow and white wrappers as teeth in a broad grin with the slogan "Your Choice Of The World's Best Chew" -- earned an A from the professor but failed to kickstart an advertising career.
Maybe if we had developed a TV commercial featuring Free's hard-rocking "All Right Now" we wouldn't be panning for blogs this morning. Oh well. Wrigley did just that in 1990, reviving the song 21 years after it hit No. 2 in Britain and No. 4 in the U.S. And damned if the song didn't climb back to No. 2 again in the UK, where the commercial was aired and the record was reissued. We have no figures on resulting gum sales.
Free is sometimes called a one-hit wonder, which is not really fair. "All Right Now" was their outright hit, but the band wasn't together long before lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke went off to form Bad Company and contribute many more hits. Bass player Andy Fraser, who co-wrote "All Right Now" with Rodgers, has a number writing credits including Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People." Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff was brilliant (he ranks No. 51 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists) but he was dead by age 25 of a drug induced heart attack.
Check out the great video above of Free in fine fettle. It'll give you something to chew on.