He’s Back! Maytag Man Makes Live Appearance

Summit attendees were seeing double when BrandSource member Shaun McGlaughlin, left, posed with actor Colin Ferguson portraying the Maytag Man.

Maytag Man a big draw crowded Summit

By Andy Kriege, YSN

After a multi-year hiatus, Whirlpool brought one of the most iconic advertising characters of all time back this week to AVB’s Summit 2023 in Las Vegas.

Ferguson stayed in character for a shot with Whirlpool’s Missy Hodges.

The Maytag Man, as portrayed by actor Colin Ferguson, made his long-awaited return to live appearances on the BrandSource Expo floor on Tuesday. Scores of appliance dealers waited patiently to meet the Maytag Man and pose with him for a keepsake picture in a specially-designed kitchen vignette/photo booth. 

Ferguson appeared in character as the human embodiment of a Maytag fridge and, being the dedicated actor he is, didn’t break character during the photo session and maintained a robotic posture throughout.

Ferguson’s Summit appearance was his first at a buying group show, and the first time in nearly ten years that the character — played at the time by Clay Jackson — made a live visit to a BrandSource event. 

Shaun McGlaughlin, owner of Sargents Maytag in Sparks, Nev., went all out and surprised Ferguson by showing up in a historic uniform of his own. “This has been my go-to Halloween costume for years,” he said. “It was great to pose with him and get a cool picture.”

Missy Hodges, buy group operations manager for Whirlpool, was thrilled by the excitement that the Maytag Man generated at the booth. “It’s been many years since he made an appearance and people were really excited to see him return,” she said.

The souvenir photos may also come in handy if YSN holds another “Ol’ Lonely” contest in the future. Two years ago, YSN asked BrandSource members to submit photos of themselves with the various TV and film actors who portrayed the iconic character over the decades. They responded with scores of pictures and tales of the different Maytag Men who visited dealers across the country and Lu Ann Riley of C&J Electric Maytag in Chillicothe, Ohio, won first place.

Ferguson was anything but lonely with members and vendors including Wells Fargo’s Deb Barker embracing him warmly.

See: ‘Ol’ Lonely’ Contest Draws a Convention Crowd

Maytag Man Over the Years

Maytag came up with the Maytag Man persona in the 1960s and he would soon become one of the most familiar figures in advertising history. The campaign was so effective that he went on to become the longest running flesh-and-blood advertising character on television, and “The Maytag Man” campaign has been lauded as one of the most recognizable in advertising history.

Ferguson is the fifth person to play the character, succeeding real estate agent Clay Jackson, who portrayed him until 2014 after winning a countrywide audition. Ferguson re-introduced the character as the human embodiment of the brand’s reliability, the idea being to turn Maytag dependability into something more human and emotional.  

Colin Ferguson is a Canadian-American actor, director and producer who has appeared in numerous films and TV series since 1995, including leading man roles in multiple Hallmark movies. While he is well known in Hollywood circles, in the appliance world he is best known as the latest in a long line of Maytag men. In his latest work, he plays the dual role of washer and dryer in the current Maytag spot.

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

Upcoming Events