Tag Archives: Detroit

You Gotta Have Art!

I’m obsessing over the Comedy Central Show “Detroiters.” Not only is it seriously funny, but it features Detroit in amazing fashion.

Slow Roll? Check.

Coney Dogs? Yep.

Vernors? Oh Yes.

This week they showed off one of the truly magical places in the Motor City: The Detroit Institute of Arts. With its world-class collection and beautiful building located in the heart of vibrant Midtown, The DIA is a gem Michiganders are rightly proud of.

Obviously, seeing the Diego Rivera fresco on TV sent my thoughts to one of the best local commercials ever produced: the 1970’s TV ad for the DIA. Anyone of a certain age who grew up in Metro Detroit knows this ad.  As a kid in the 80’s I thought the commercial was super corny but now it’s oh-so-70’s vibe finally feels sort of refreshing and charmingly retro.


Just to press the point on how cool the DIA is, check out this photo. You may be cool, but you’re not this lady sitting in the Kresge Court in the DIA cool.


This Place is a Zoo!

When I ask people about their favorite ads, one commercial was unanimous among native Michiganders. Every. Single. Person said “Oh! The Detroit Zoo commercial from the ’80!

Well, Aunt Mary is here to please (sort of), and as the Detroit Zoo has just opened a new world-class penguinarium complete with a blue carpet for the birds to walk to their new abode, let’s sit back and reminisce…probably over Faygo or Vernors. We are in Detroit after all.

Just One Ad – 50 Watts Per Channel, Babycakes

Detroit had some of the best local ads ever produced and none were as quoted or still as beloved as those from now-defunct Highland Appliance. If you were a TV watcher of any age during the ’80’s in metro Detroit, this commercial is instantly recognizable and drips with nostalgia.

While researching this spot I found many folks calling this the best ad ever. I may not be able to agree with that sentiment, but the concept is fun and the commercial has impressive production quality not often seen in a local ad. It’s silly and goofy while never making light of the store or its products.

Speaking of the products, the size and price of the electronics in this ad seem absolutely bananas to we modern viewers. Makes one wonder what modern amenities will be unfathomable to folks 30 years hence, babycakes.

Faygo Boat Song

I grew up, and still live, in Metro Detroit. I have distinct memories of wonderful tv ads from my childhood that my adult self can now see as true gems. During the heyday of the auto industry, many of the best advertising agencies had branches in Detroit in order to be closer to the Big 3 auto makers. This resulted in some of the best local advertising ever broadcast as regional businesses engaged the services of these top notch ad firms.

Many of these ads have become part of the local tradition and have lived on in nostalgia though generations. No ad is quite as beloved as the  Faygo Boat spot. Faygo is a Michigan soda maker (we call it pop here!) whose signature flavors include Redpop and Rock n’ Rye. No mitten-state party is complete without a 2-liter of Faygo!

Putting my childhood aside, this ad is great for its ability to evoke emotions of nostalgia, family and a bygone era. It makes you remember a simpler time of summer days and innocence, likely a time that never truly existed.

Make sure you sing along!