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 Advertising Mascots - People

Jesse White as the Maytag RepairmanMaytag Man - The melancholy hero of the Maytag Company located in Newton, Iowa (called "The Washing Machine Center of the World"). Their character  symbolized the reliability of Maytag products to the extent that their repairman never got any repair calls and thus became the "loneliest man in town." The Maytag Repairman was created by the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency based in Chicago. Maytag hired actor Jesse White to portray their Maytag Repairman on television commercials which debuted on THE TODAY SHOW in 1967.

In 1989, Maytag replaced Jesse White as their spokesperson (he died in Los Angeles on January 9th, 1997 at the age of 78 from cardiac arrest) and in turn hired actor Gordon Jump who previously starred in the sitcom WKRP IN CINCINNATI as Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, a bumbling radio station manager.


The Original Maytag Repairman Ad with Jesse White

(Six men in work uniforms and hats march into a room filled with appliances).

Maytag Repairman:

Detail halt! Left face!

(Maytag Repairman reads off a roster)

Lark:

Here!

Goldstein:

Yes!

Wyzinski:

Yo!

MacDougal:

Yeah!

Svenson:

Yah!

Maytag Repairman:

At ease men. Now you men have all volunteered to be Maytag Repairmen and so I'm gonna give it to you straight.

Maytag washers and dryers are built to last. That makes the Maytag Repairman the loneliest guy in town

(Maytag Repairman removes the metal cover from the front of a washing machine)

Maytag Repairman:

Look at this rugged motor. This almost indestructible pump. Take a good look because most of you may never see the inside of one of these again.

(Maytag Repairman opens a small tool box and individually holds up each item inside)

Maytag Repairman:

This is your survival kit. Playing cards for solitaire. Cross word puzzles. Bead work. Keep these with you at all times.

OK men, wear your Maytag emblem proudly. The sign of dependable washers and dryers. So what, if nobody needs you. It takes a real man to fight off loneliness.

A Maytag Repairman, heh heh...the loneliest guy in town.


A few years later Gordon Jump (a native of Dayton, Ohio) died on September 22, 2003 from complications from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 71. Jump had retired from the role as the Maytag Repairman in July 2003 and actor Hardy Rawls (a former Mr. Goodwrench) took over the role as Ol' Lonely, the Maytag Repairman who will now be partnered with a younger, eager Maytag apprentice (Mark Devine).

In 2002, Maytag and Chevrolet joined forces to create a commercial featuring the both Maytag Repairmen and Chevy's new Impala. The ad shows an Impala zig-zag through a highway filled with curves. Inside the car, the apprentice repairman (who is driving) says to the veteran repairman (Gordon Jump), "So you sure this is OK? What if someone calls?" The two look at each other, laugh out loud, eat some jerky and continue to cruise the countryside.

In 2006, Maytag's rival, Whirlpool Corporation offered to buy the company for $1.7 billion.

In 2007, Maytag conducted open auditions around the country to find the next Maytag Repairman. The winner was a Virginia man named Clay Jackson. The mission of the new Maytag repairman has shifted from someone “who had nothing to" because Maytag's products are so reliable to a proactive repairman who finds things to repair. In one ad spot, the new Maytag Repairman finds himself  inside a business office examining a photocopy machine. When approached, he says "You're running low on toner."

Clay Jackson, the Maytag Repairman
Clay Jackson, the Maytag Repairman

TRIVIA NOTE: Before the Maytag Repairman actor Tom Pedi (1913-1996) played the role of Charlie, a washing machine repairman in commercials for Dash Laundry Detergent.

On 12/1/1991, Bob Leibold as Bob's Specialty Service in Monroe, Wisconsin started a Maytag washing machine during a Maytag promotion and expected it to run about 2 and 1/2 years. Amazingly, the machine ran until August 16, 1996 and stopped after 32,500 hours. The machine pumped over 56 cycles a day and cost about a $1 a day in electricity. Leibold calculated it was the equivalent of 193 years of use by a family of four.

Those interested in the history of Maytag washing machine can visit the Maytag Historical Display at the Jasper County Museum located about 30 miles east of Des Moines off Interstate 80 at the Iowa exit at 1700 South 15th Avenue, West in town of Newton, Iowa.


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