Iron Eyes Cody - In the 1970s, a Cree-Cherokee Indian and activist,
Chief Iron Eyes Cody starred in a "Keep America Beautiful" public service
campaign commercial (a coalition of companies involved in glass, aluminum,
paper, plastic, tobacco and solid-waste) with the Chief surveying the wonders of
Nature only to find them filled with pollution. In the now classic scene, the
camera zoomed into follow the trail of single tear that flowed from the Chief's
eye as he lamented the scarred landscape.
Created by Young & Rubicam's Marstellar Inc. agency, this ad spot moved a
generation to stop throwing garbage out of their car windows and sent the
message that individual consumers should take on the responsibility of not
polluting the landscape.
"The Crying Indian" spot (first aired on Earth Day in March 1971) won two
Clio Awards and was named one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th
Century by Ad Age Magazine.
In 1996, the New Orleans Times-Picayune published documentation saying
Iron Eyes Cody was actually a second generation Italian-American from Louisiana,
but Cody vigorously denied the allegations. On January 4, 1999, actor Iron Eyes
Cody, who appeared in 100 films, died in Los Angeles. He was 94.
Prior to the Chief's death in 1998, the Keep American Beautiful campaign
created a follow-up ad with more people littering an urban landscape. This time
the camera zooms into a poster of Chief Iron Eyes pasted to a bus shelter and
follows the trail of a computer-generated tear as it emerges from the eye of the
Chief and rolls down his cheek.
TRIVIA NOTE: Before there was Chief Iron Eyes,
there was an animated spokesperson called "Suzie Spotless" who reminded the
public not to pollute.
"Some people have a deep abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once
this country...and some people don't. People start pollution. People can stop