Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome Home, From Fred Meyer

Well, it finally happened. Last week I brought the quest for my favorite Fred Meyer commercial to the internet and this week I got an answer. For those of you not familiar with my quest, you can read my previous post here. Last night I got an email from Norm Myhr, the retiring marketing director of Fred Meyer. Not only was he happy to help, he's the one who came up with the ad! Norm recalls how he first came up with the idea:

I happened to hear Tom Chapin sing this song on "Prairie Home Companion." Very few tunes cut through to me the way this one did. The essence and feeling of the song struck me as perfect song for the holidays, something we all long for in our hearts, no matter how far we wander.

As I recall the creative team at FM did not like it. "Too corny." Program Directors at some stations didn't like it, "Too Country and Western, our listeners are sophisticated urban professionals." Despite the critiques, the Customer seemed to like it, and remember it.

In those days chasing down music was no easy feat. We finally found Tom Chapin's agent, and he graciously agreed to license the tune.

I never realized that the jingle is actually a modified, rewritten, and re-recorded version of Tom Chapin's So Nice to Come Home. Norm also recalled a few things about filming it:
The commercial was shot at a home in Lake Oswego and the cast included almost all Fred Meyer employees. A bit of trivia was that the grandmother was the former "Safeway" spokeslady, Mary Marsh, and the Grandfather was Bob Anderson, long time host of "The Scandinavian Hour" a 50 year radio program in Portland.

I was so giddy when I got this email. I called up a bunch of my childhood friends so I could play it for them over the phone. And they were just as excited as I was. This commercial truly is an Oregon holiday classic. I haven't seen the video for the ad yet, but I'm pretty thrilled just to have the music. Tom Chapin still holds the copyright for the song so it's not really mine to share, but I can't post empty-handed so here's a memorable snippet that I hopefully won't get in trouble for. And I just sent him an email to check if he minded me posting all of it. If you do want to hear the rest of the song shoot me an email.

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