Marketing and advertising insights for automotive suppliers

What Automotive Supplier Brands Can Learn From Rodney Dangerfield

What Automotive Supplier Brands Can Learn From Rodney Dangerfield

Simplify, simplify, simplify your brand.

I’ve said it in several other blog posts. When it comes to creating a strong, vivid brand – especially for an automotive supply company – it’s important to simplify.

Simplifying is important in comedy, too. At least it was for Rodney Dangerfield.

For the legendary king of the one-liner, it was either simplify or find a different line of work.

In a New York Times Magazine article, Alex Halberstadt writes that Dangerfield, whose real name was Jacob Cohen, had a “first” career in stand-up with the stage name Jack Roy. For nine years, Roy “was a singing waiter, used props, tried impressions.” Sadly, according to Halberstadt, the setups for the jokes were too long, the delivery too slow, the punchlines lame.”

Cohen-a.k.a.-Roy threw in the towel. But only temporarily. 

Less is more in joke-telling, and brand-building.

After selling aluminum siding for a few years, he got back in the comedy saddle as Rodney Dangerfield, the hapless, down-on-his-luck character “who can’t get no respect.” Unlike his previous incarnation as Jack Roy, everything in his act was eliminated except the setups and the punchlines.

(CAUTION: Some of Dangerfield’s jokes from the 1970s and ‘80s would definitely be considered politically incorrect today. Some are too risqué to include here, so I haven’t. Read at your own risk.)

“I drink too much. Last time I gave a urine sample, there was an olive in it.”

“I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I don’t want to interrupt her.”

“I was so ugly, my mother fed me with a slingshot.”

“When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother.”

“I was so ugly, when I’d play in the sandbox, the cat would keep covering me up.”

“I was so ugly, my dad carried around pictures of the kid that came with the wallet.”

“My wife and I agreed, we’d only smoke after we had sex. I’ve had the same pack since 1975. What bothers me is my wife, she’s up to three packs a day.”

“When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.”

Do like Rodney: Simplify your brand messaging.

Nobody ever accused Rodney Dangerfield of being sophisticated, but according to Leonardo Da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Why is simplification so important in branding?

By eliminating everything extraneous, it allows your audience to retain the most essential facets of your brand.

It shows that you respect the time of your audience.

In this over-communicated, over-saturated world, a simpler brand makes for a more attractive, more appealing brand. 

As I said in another blog post, “brands that stand out, way out from the din, are practiced in the art of simplicity.”

And one last joke for the road:

“On Halloween, other parents sent their kids out looking like me.”


Ernie Perich

As the owner and creative director of Perich Advertising + Design for more than 30 years, Ernie knows a thing or two about automotive marketing. He combines brand strategy with smart creative to help automotive suppliers strike a nerve. Contact

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