On Ron Popeil’s Passing

A pioneer of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) has left us but his legacy will live as long as there are people and companies that want to sell to other people and other companies.

I got to know Ron back in 1982. A long-time friend of mine, a fine graphic designer who had helped him create spec sheets and promotions for many of his products, needed a medical procedure that was going to prevent her from helping him out for a while. She turned to me to ask if I would step in and fill in for her until she could resume her usual activities on his behalf. I said I would be happy to do so.

She brought me to his home and office complex off Coldwater Canyon and introduced us. In the few weeks that followed I helped Ron introduce the Rat X pest eliminator, the Whiskee cordless and rechargeable kitchen whisk (“If you cook or bake, you need one!”), and assisted on some other products as well. That man was truly a ball of energy and remarkably creative.

I did the pre-production marker comp packaging for the Rat X that was going to be shown to the distributors and I wrote all the recipes for the Whiskee recipe book, which I designed, along with a full-page ad for Bon Appetít.

It was a brief tenure but I learned a lot about sales and media from him at a time when I was a full-time creative director for a small Hollywood ad agency. I still apply those lessons today and I am forever grateful to the friend who made it possible and to Ron for schooling me.

Adweek, Ad Age, the Wall Street Journal, and others have published obituaries on him and I am taking the liberty here of publishing two URLs of YouTube videos starring Mr. Popeil.

One is a segment from an appearance he made on Conan O’Brien’s show:

The other is a video interview that Adweek included with its coverage:

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind." View all posts by mediainmind

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