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Against The Grain by: Andy Sullivan

Remember the old Toyota commercials back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s that ended “Who could ask for anything more”? Well that was actually a parody of Ella Fitzgerald’s song  “I Got Rhythm”.  “I got rhythm.  I got music. I got my man.  Who could ask for anything more”? I bet Toyota had to pay a fortune to use that.  I looked for the amount but couldn’t find it.

Michael Vale is an icon but you probably don’t know his name.  You do, however, know his famous catchphrase of “time to make the donuts”.  Vale, who passed away in 2005, gave voice to that iconic line from 1982 until his retirement in 1997.  Of the estimated 100 commercials he made in that time, he once joked to Entertainment Weekly it was his favorite because “I got paid twice”.  Before making donuts, he pitched Breakstone’s cottage cheese and sour cream.  In the commercials, his pursuit of perfection caused him to rant and rave. 

Of the hundreds of actors who auditioned for the role of Fred the Baker, Vale was not the marketing team’s first choice; they were more interested in landing well-known actor-comedian Lou Jacobi. “As soon as Michael Vale walked into the bathroom in his pajamas and said ‘Time to make the doughnuts, time to make the doughnuts,’ we knew,” ad exec Rob Berger told CNN in 2005.

Vale’s “Time to make the donuts” catchphrase became so popular that DD founder William Rosenberg used it as the title for his 2001 autobiography.  Vale himself admitted that he only ever made one donut. (

My last one is simple.  I wondered where Miller Time originated.  The High-Life slogan was part of the “Miller Time” campaign that launched in 1971 by the McCann ad agency that helped usher in the work hard, play hard mentality of beer advertising.  The original High Life spots showed men laboring before ending the day with a few beers.  I’m not advocating drinking.  I’m just talking about slogan origins.  (  


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