The Magic of Madison Avenue


By Wizzy
With sponsor credits from the collection of
Mischa Hof

In a 1970 interview with the Boston Sunday Advertiser, Bill Asher told a reporter about the genesis of the series in relation to its sponsors. Asher said, “Quaker Oats was the first people to see (the pilot). They bought it…Quaker Oats went to Chevy, which had a lot of pull with ABC (network) and got them to co-sponsor it.”

Not only did these major sponsors have enough pull to get the series on ABC's schedule, they had the power to have the series opening  music and animation changed to feature their logos.



Bewitched's Principal Sponsors

Seasons 1 thru 4 - Co-sponsors Quaker Oats (makers of Aunt Jemima syrup, Life & Quisp & Quake cereals & Ken-L Ration dog foods)  and General Motors's Chevrolet division
Season 5 - Kodak (makers of the Instamatic camera)
Season 6 - Co-sponsors: Chattem (makers of Ban deodorant and Exedrin/Bufferin)  and Clairol (makers of Kindness Spray and Hot Roller sets)
Season 7 & 8 - Co-sponsors:  Clairol, Oscar Mayer, and Chattem






The 1950s and '60s
The Advertising Industry Heyday

While Darrin Stephens toiled away at the fictional agency of  “McMann & Tate,” the real powers behind national advertising at agencies like "McCann-Erickson, Leo Burnett, Young & Rubicam, and Ogilvy & Mather" were working their magic on consumers.

Many of the images traditionally associated with the advertising business were created in the 1950s and '60s. That was when "Madison Avenue" truly became synonymous with the business, and well-paid advertising executives discovered the fabled (and now extinct) three-martini lunch. The concept of the art director and copywriter creative team, now standard, was first conceived in the 1950s by the newly formed Doyle Dane Bernbach agency. Darrin Stephens, embodied an American ideal -- though his character was not exactly reflective of agency reality. The yes-man part was right, but in the real world, under appreciated creative types were called "wrists," and were not even involved with strategy development.

Ad spending tripled between 1945 and 1956. With the 15 percent standard commission, agencies were bringing in a veritable king's ransom. Faced with pressure from the IRS, agencies spent the excess cash on any and everything. They built libraries and research facilities, test kitchens, and packaging studios; they hired statisticians, jingle writers, and "bullpens" of artists. Clients became increasingly intolerant of these "bloated" agencies and in 1956, the U. S. Department of Justice ruled that clients could demand rebates on commissions left over at the end of campaigns.

In the 1960s, the advertising industry picked up on lessons from the rest of the business world. Ogilvy & Mather was the first agency to handle major accounts on a fee basis - a practice that would become commonplace by the 1990s. Going public was all the rage, a trend that set the stage for the rash of takeovers during the 1980s. Several agencies expanded overseas, and industry icon Marion Harper Jr. began an acquisition spree - the result of which was the first advertising conglomerate, Interpublic. Harper's reckless spending, however, led Interpublic directors to oust him in 1967. Meanwhile, ad spending slowed at the onset of the Vietnam War, and worsened when tobacco advertising was banned from broadcast media in 1969.



Samantha Sells

A 1964 Chevrolet color commercial (running 5.5 minutes) featured the stars of Bewitched, Bonanza, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. telling viewers about the new line of Chevy automobiles for 1965. Dick York , Liz Montgomery, and Agnes Moorehead all appeared using their real names - but with the ladies displaying their TV character's magical powers. The new 1965 Chevy Chevelle interior is called "sheer magic."

A special Lux Soap commercial was shot for Canadian television in 1966 and featured a rare look at Bewitched's backstage area with "TV's most beautiful witch" twitching her nose to magically demonstrate the quality of the Lux Beauty Soap with moisturizing lotion.

An Aunt Jemima syrup commercial was shot featuring Samantha, Darrin, and Larry at the dining room table enjoying pancakes.

A Kodak commercial featured Samantha wrapping an Instamatic as a present for Darrin. Endora pops in and is charmed with this handy mortal invention.

A commercial for Kindness hairspray was shot with Samantha sitting on her sofa and twitching her nose to show viewers how the "fantastic" Kindness spray (with "Heat Activated Conditioner") could provide a "droop-proof curl" that holds up through "wind, and rain and just plain living." Elizabeth Montgomery appeared in a 1965 print ad for Quaker's new Diet Frosted cereal.

Liz Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead, and Erin Murphy appeared in a 1970 print-ad for Baskin-Robbin's new Bewitched ice-cream, which was described as "with delicious bits of orange and licorice - it's super-naturally."



"You-Son-of-a-Gun" Sponsor Trivia

  • CHEVROLET - Famous Chevy models include the large and luxurious Impala (1958) and the innovative air-cooled rear-engined Corvair (1960 - 1969).  In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet. (In a 1967 TV Guide article it was revealed that the Ashers had two company courtesy cars: a Chevrolet Corvette and a Chevy station wagon.)

  • KODAK - Instamatic cameras were an instant success for Kodak; more than 50 million Instamatic cameras were produced between 1963 and 1970.