Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Killer" ad

In 1971, Killer was just past his prime, although he still led the AL in rbis with 119. He also appeared in this advertisement for a new product from the Rohm and Haas Company, Plexiglas 70. I worked as a chemical engineer for Rohm and Haas from 1974 until 2009 (when the company was bought by Dow Chemical). I worked in research from 1974 until 1990 and for part of that time worked on developing new Plexiglas products. So I love this ad which combines my love of baseball with the company for which I worked for so long.This ad appeared in the December 1971 issue of Architectural Record. You've probably seen Plexiglas (and it is properly spelled with only one 's') in hardware stores but you probably didn't see the Rohm and Haas name. The company mostly sold directly to construction firms or to the retail market through distributors.

In the 1980's, Rohm and Haas had a series of similar ads featuring the Phillies Mike Schmidt. Schmidt was a natural fit since R&H was head-quarted in Philadelphia. These ads featured Mike shattering his bat on a sheet of another R&H product called Tuffak. Tuffak was made of a different material called polycarbonate. This sheet was much stronger than Plexiglas. I remember seeing the ads and wish I still had a copy. The story in the company was that no matter how hard he tried, Schmidt could not get a bat to break. He couldn't get the Tuffak to break either. So they sawed partially through the bat which promptly shattered on the plastic sheet. You could clearly see that the bat had been partially cut. As part of this ad campaign they commissioned, I think, Dick Perez, to paint a picture of Schmidt swing the bat at the sheet. I used to have a copy of this and I'm sure it is in my house somewhere but haven't seen it in years.

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