Being the curious sort I am - I surfed by the website of the original syndicator of the "Cuz" spot - Robert Michelson Inc - and saw that the spot was still being marketed 16 years later! I soon shot Bob Michelson an email - to say hello again after many years - and to find out the history of the spot.
DK: Can you give me a little history of the "Cuz" campaign?
RM: "CUZ" premiered for The Loop (WLUP-FM) in Chicago in 1991. "CUZ" - aka Robert Marena - got his name because his cousin filmed him dancing initially for use in a music video for his demo reel. When it was being edited, The Loop's advertising agency saw the video - and one thing led to another and it became their TV commercial instead.
Norm Weiner - Program Director of (crosstown) WXRT-FM - contacted me about the spot. We (Robert Michelson Inc) had just completed a TV campaign for KGB-FM in San Diego. KGB's Program Director - Ted Edwards - informed me that they wanted to purchase a new spot that The Loop (Chicago) was using.
After viewing the spot - I flew to Chicago and had meetings with The Loop's advertising agency, Jimmy DeCastro - President of Evergreen Media, and Larry Wert - General Manager of The Loop. Shortly thereafter, we entered into a syndication agreement.
Fifteen years after the original commercial aired - we went back to the original site in Chicago and re-shot CUZ/Robert Marena in high definition for The Loop's new TV campaign welcoming Jonathan Brandmeier back to the station. There is a whole new generation of young listeners that can now view the CUZ TV campaign in high definition. CUZ has become an internationally syndicated campaign. It has run in Australia, Italy and was purchased by Richard Branson for use in England.
DK: I see that you've now produced a new take on the CUZ campaign for Jack FM in LA...
RM: Our most recent TV campaign, "You Can Dance", features real people improv dancing on a theater stage. It has already been purchased in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and is the top-selling campaign for the Variety Hits format. It has already crossed over to both Hot AC and Rhythmic/AC formats. The "You Can Dance" campaign will be posted on our website shortly http://www.rmitv.com.
My thanks to Robert Michelson for sharing the "Cuz" story with us. And do check out the new "You Can Dance" spot. I can best describe it as "Cuz" meets Napoleon Dynamite. If its not on his website yet, it will be shortly - or email RMITV here.
The WLUP spot from 1991: