the car junkie daily magazine.


GM got mileage around the world from its “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” ad

GM got mileage around the world from its “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” ad

Back in 1974 Chevrolet launched the “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” campaign, and those ads have been recognized by none other than Car and Driver as the best automobile commercials of all time. It’s a great jingle that Chevy and other GM divisions used around the world, but what do you do when the people you’re advertising to don’t eat hot dogs?

The original ad was created by James W. Hartzell (December 25, 1931 – September 11, 2010), who was an American advertising copywriter. Car and Driver explained its pick of Hartzell’s ad: “This was the game changer. It was to national television what the electric starter was to automobiles. It changed car commercials forever. It was the beginning of brand advertising as we know it and remains the best of it.”


Jim Bernardin, a VP and Creative Director at Cambell Ewald — Chevrolet’s ad agency of record —  was listening to copywriters read their ideas for radio spots. According to Ad Age, Jim Hartzell apologized in advance that his was “slightly off topic.” When Bernardin heard him read the words, “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” from a yellow sheet of paper, “it just took your breath away,” he said.

He recalls immediately running into then creative director David E. Davis’ office. “I said, ‘We’ve got one here.'” He paired Hartzell with musician Ed Lubunski to set it to music and “it was mind-blowing,” Bernardin said. “It was the best commercial I was ever associated with.”

When General Motors writes a check for a jingle, though, you can bet they’re going to squeeze every last drop of marketing out of it. The only problem was that in Australia, our Aussie friends have got little interest in baseball, and when they do have a hot dog, it costs $40.

No, what they enjoy in Australia is a little different, so the jingle so familiar to Americans in the 1970s had to be modified a bit:

South Africa had Chevrolets, too, but they didn’t have hot dogs or meat pies 0r — get this — TELEVISION in 1974. Television didn’t arrive in South Africa until 1976. So when they ran a version of Jim Hartzell’s jingle, it was on the radio, and it featured rugby, sunny skies and something called “braaivleis,” the Afrikaans word for ‘grilled meat’, from braai ‘to grill’ and vleis ‘meat’.

  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

6 thoughts on “GM got mileage around the world from its “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” ad

  1. Wehan Victor

    Its Awesome to see my Beloved country get some “airtime” on Bangshift!!
    I remember the ads from when I was a kid growing up in Johannesburg!

    Greetings from the good old RSA

    1. Dave Fenton

      Hey Wehan,
      I know how you SAf’s tend to dislike us Aussies when it comes to Cricket and Rugby, but heres some nostalgia for you.
      The Chevy Constantina shown in the video here is actually an Australian made HQ(1970- 1974) model Holden Premier, with a slightly different grille design for the SA market I guess.
      Enjoy your next Braaivleis, and some nice Castle lager.

  2. Turbo Regal

    I remember during Atlanta Braves games in the 70’s and 80’s the organist playing this commercial during the 7th inning stretch and watching a new Chevy (Vegas, Monzas, Monte Carlos, Camaros) circle the perimeter of the field. Saw my first 1983 Monte Carlo SS circle the field, too.

  3. Chevy Hatin' mad Geordie

    Here’s a proper anti Chevy ad-

    Cue Norwegian extreme death metal – A Chevy driven by a pair of ripe young American cheerleaders breaks down near an isolated frost draped farmhouse. In the farmhouse a group of cannibal death metal musicians collectively sniff the air and detect the odour of pure young flesh and the foul odour of Chevy.They wipe the blood off their chins from their last meal, grab their hatchets and proceed to demolish this spawn of automotive Satan and its shocked occupants – extreme gore splatter follows with much screaming and smacking of lips. A young couple In a Ford roar by and unleash a barrage of automatic fire at these flesh crazed cannibals and destroy the Chevy at the same time.

    Cue end credits and the caption ” Ford – guaranteed to get you there in one piece and not in pieces!”

    Oh well back to snortin’ me Hydrazine – waaaaaaheeeey!

  4. hidemyass json

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Comments are closed.