A photo op for members with Ol’ Lonely actor Colin Ferguson

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Whirlpool is bringing one of the most iconic advertising characters of all time back to the BrandSource Summit this month.

 “Ol’ Lonely,” as portrayed by actor Colin Ferguson, will be live and in uniform at the show, where members can have their picture taken with him in a specially designed kitchen vignette/photo booth.

Ferguson will appear at the Whirlpool booth on Tuesday, March 21, from 1:00-3:00 pm, where members will receive 8-by-10 photos of themselves with the perennial repairman, to take home as keepsakes and display in their stores.

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

These souvenir photos may also come in handy if YSN does another Ol’ Lonely contest in the future. In 2021 YSN asked BrandSource members to submit pictures of themselves with the various TV and film actors who portrayed the iconic character over the years. We received scores of pictures and tales of the various Maytag men who visited dealers across the county. The contest’s first prize was claimed by Lu Ann Riley of C&J Electric Maytag in Chillicothe, Ohio.

See also:  Whirlpool Guests Guess at ‘Ol’ Lonely’ Pix

Ol’ Lonely Over the Years

Maytag came up with the Ol’ Lonely repairman persona in the 1960s, and he would soon become one of the most familiar figures in advertising history. The campaign was so effective that Ol’ Lonely 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.

#1 Jesse White

Veteran character actor Jesse White was the first Ol’ Lonely, circa 1967. He’s seen here sealing the deal with a charming young Claude Ward of Famous Tate.

#2 Gordon Jump

White was succeeded in 1989 by sitcom star Gordon Jump. Neither he nor Bob Ries of Village Home Stores in Geneseo, Ill., were camera shy at this BrandSource show in the late 1990s.

Around this time Maytag’s ad agency also added a basset hound named Newton to keep Ol’ Lonely from getting too lonely

#3 Hardy Rawls and the Apprentice Mark Devine

Jump’s passing in 2003 led to the casting of another veteran TV character actor, Hardy Rawls. Rawls (far right) often appeared with a new Maytag contemporary, “The Apprentice,” played by Mark Devine (far left). Both appeared around 2004 with BrandSource members Dave and Pam Schritter of Dependable Maytag in Farmington, N.M.

#4 Clay Jackson

In 2007 Maytag was in search of a new and younger Ol’ Lonely and held a nationwide casting call. They picked Clay Jackson, a real estate broker from Virginia, to don the blue uniform. Jackson poses here at a BrandSource Convention with Mark Edwards, owner of Atlantic Appliance in Wilmington, N.C. 

#5 Colin Ferguson

Jackson carried the mantle until 2014, after which the Maytag Man was re-introduced with actor Colin Ferguson representing the human embodiment of the brand’s reliability. The concept was to turn Maytag dependability into something more human and emotional.  

About Colin Ferguson

Colin Ferguson is a Canadian-American actor, director and producer who has appeared in numerous films and TV series since 1995. But he is still best known to this audience as the most recent in a long line of Maytag Men, playing the dual role of a laundry pair in the current Maytag spot and posing with members at the upcoming 2023 Summit

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

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