Windy City Hilarium: A Tribute to Chicagoland Commercials

After a particulary shitty weekend that started when the Irish fell short to USC, and culminated with a Bears loss Sunday night, inspiration struck to re-visit a more innocent time in my life.  An era when daytime TV was so boring, sick kids everywhere wished they would actually be at school dividing fractions and daydreaming about squeezing a boob, instead of watching the local FOX 32, and the countless local commercials that varied from ridiculous to ludicrous.  Today, I pay homage to my childhood, and the (now) legendary commercials that flooded tubes all over the Tri-State area of the Midwest.  Enjoy.


Victory Auto Wreckers

VAW filmed this cinematic masterpiece in 1985, and it has had a cult following ever since.  You can ask anyone in Chicago about VAW, and the instant reply is, “That shitty commercial where the redneck tries to open his car door, and it falls off right?”  It has withstood the test of time, and is yet another reason ’85 is the single greatest year in the history of the Second City. 

Lens Crafters

Who better to hock cheap, ugly plastic frames than Samurai himself?  I feel bad for anyone stupid enough to see Singletary on the street after this aired and yell, “Hey!  You’re that Carl Winslow looking douchebag from the Lens Crafters commercial!”  I can only guess the last thing they ever saw on this mortal coil would be this:


Goodnight Sweet Prince….

Empire Carpet

I’ve never known a single person who actually bought carpet from Empire, but it is a fore-gone conclusion that every swinging dick in Chicago knows what number to call if they wanted to: FIVE EIGHT EIGHT, TWO-THREE HUNDRED….EMPIIIIRE!!!


True story: I worked at a Menards as a teen, and my first few days there were the most truamatic experience of my life.  You are forced to listen to that annoying: SAVE BIG MONEY AT MENARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS! jingle at least once every five minutes, and it follows you home, even into bed.  You eventually learn to tune it out, but until then, you might as well flush any semblance of being a functional human being down the freaking toilet, which you can find in the plumbing department by the way.

P.S. “Ray the Menards Guy” is very much alive, contrary to popular belief

AIT (Allied Institute of Technology)

Not much to say here.  Annoying commercial hyping up second rate tech school through the use of whiny, bitch-faced actors


Sticking to the “higher education” theme, here’s another for a second rate tech school, the Chicago Devry Institute.  Notice the space age computers (complete with Commodore 64 processors) being worked on by pimple-faced kids, while a bearded ginger man (who is undoubtedly a virgin) spews garbage for 30 seconds.  I’ll pass thanks.

Harold’s Chicken Shack

Providing great chicken at low prices, HCC is a Windy City staple, and is usually near the top at the annual “Taste of Chicago” in sales.


I’ve never dropped coin on Carson’s ribs, but, like Empire, everyone knew you just had to dial C-A-R-S-O-N-S to do so.

Celozzi-Ettleson Chevrolet

These two clowns made numerous commercials throughout the years, showing off Chevy Berrettas and other pieces of shit for outrageous prices.  The one common theme in each one is the two goons chiming the cliche: Where you always save more money!!! and then pulling out a wad of (most likely) borrowed cash.  Another common theme is always the guy with white hair making a horrendously cheesy grin at the very end.

*The saying was later changed to “Where you always get a better deal”

Walter E. Smithe Furniture

As you can see, even Chicago-area furniture salesmen are fucked in the head.


Eagleman Auto Insurance

I don’t have to say a damn thing about this one, it more than speaks for itself. This is the original, and below is the sequel, with Eaglewoman.

Gotta love the cameo by local radio legend “Mancow” Muller.


So there’s are the creme de la creme, but my honorable mention includes:

John M Smith Homemakers (VERY annoying jingle, trust me)

Lincoln Tech (The one where the guy goes, “Me and my buddies would work on each others cars back in high school.”  Inspirational to say the least.

Feel free to add any you feel got snubbed….


  1. Comment by Stinky Twinkies on October 29, 2009 7:24 pm

    What about “If anyone can… O’Connor Can!”
    I work in South Chicago, and that lot is vacant with grass growing out the pavement, but the building still stands with the O’Connor name on it.

    You also forgot some carpet commercial not EMPIre, but the phone number was 282-8600.

  2. Comment by Steelhead on November 11, 2009 2:52 pm

    Holy shit, those O’ Connor Ford commercials are definitely a glaring omission. Sad to know that “Chicagoland’s largest selection of new and used vehicles” is now a burned out memory. I need a drink….

  3. Comment by Stinky Twinkies on November 19, 2009 3:59 pm

    You also forgot ARONSON’s “home of the credit connection”

  4. Comment by Steelhead on November 20, 2009 8:55 pm

    Aronson’s “Quality Furniture” FTW. Keep digging, these are great….

  5. Comment by plumber plymouth on November 28, 2009 3:17 am

    good post! was actually looking for something else on plumbing on a google search and found your article, much more interesting than what I was looking for lol, thanks, bp.

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