A national ad that begins airing on TV stations today features the actor who played postman Cliff Claven in the 1980s sitcom Cheers, a canoeist with a sore arm, medicine made by the local Mentholatum Co. and the creative work of a small Orchard Park firm.
"They let me make up my own lines and they let me have fun, so it was a pleasant experience," said actor John Ratzenberger, whose latest work includes voices for Pixar animated movies and hosting the Travel Channel's "Made in America" show.
In the new commercial, developed by Campbell Associates, Ratzenberger appears driving an RV as he does in the Made in America shows, which are about U.S. made products -- including Westfield's Welch's grape juice and Olean's Cutco knives.
In the first ad to debut for Mentholatum's WellPatch -- medicine patches that work like nicotine patches -- Ratzenberger pulls up to a lake somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. He sees a canoeist rubbing his shoulder and calls out to the "canoe guy," a reference Ratzenberger ad-libbed into the script. "Hey canoe guy, try a little WellPatch relief on those sore muscles," the actor says in the spot.
The script for the ad was written by Bob Campbell, president of Campbell Associates, a four-member ad firm that counts Mentholatum as its chief client. Another Orchard Park firm, Media Pros, arranged for scheduling the commercials.
"They are the largest national ad spenders in Western New York," said Ken Dobmeier, president of Media Pros.
WellPatches come in formulations for muscle aches, arthritis, migraine headaches and coughs and colds. They first came out four years ago. Ratzenberger said he had friends and family try them before he agreed to be spokesman.
"They all reported back that this stuff actually works and so I said, 'Yes,' " recalled Ratzenberger, who tried one on his leg after a strain from mountain bike riding.
Campbell said the actor was a creative pleasure to work with, improving the commercials with his suggestions. "Every time he added something, he added something that was a keeper," Campbell said.