Ad Man Behind 'Morning in America' Dies

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Hal Riney, the advertising executive most famously remembered for creating and reading the script for "It's morning in America," campaign advertisement for late President Ronald Reagan. Riney, 75, died Monday at his home in San Francisco.

(Soundbite of a campaign ad)

Mr. HAL RINEY (Advertising Executive): Its morning again in America. Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history.


That ad for Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign in 1984 was made by a master of television advertising, Hal Riney. It features his signature soft-sell and his own voice in the narration laid-back and comforting.

(Soundbite of campaign ad)

Mr. RINEY: Its morning again in America. And under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RINEY: Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

SIEGEL: Hal Riney died on Monday in his home in San Francisco. He was 75. And Ronald Reagan was just one of many products he marketed. When GM was starting up its Saturn division, Riney brought them the slogan: A different kind of company, a different kind of car.

When Gallo Wines wanted to sell wine coolers, Riney made up a couple of old vintners - Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes - to do this selling.

(Soundbite of a TV ad)

Mr. DAVID JOSEPH RUFKAHR (Actor): (As Frank Bartles): Hello. There are many ways to use the Bartles & Jaymes premium wine cooler. One lady in Massachusetts even uses it to make bread. Well, Ed suggests an even better idea to use it as a topping - for example, as a topping for ice. This is quick and easy to do and will not only improve the flavor of ice conceivably, but will make it more attractive as well. So if you're tired of having your ice just plain, add some Bartles & Jaymes. We hope you appreciate this suggestion and thank you for your support.

SIEGEL: And when California's Crocker National Bank was looking around for an ad campaign, Hal Riney picked the perfectly optimistic song.

(Soundbite of song "We've Only Just Begun")

Mr. RICHARD CARPENTER (Member, The Carpenters): (Singing) We've only begun.

Ms. KAREN CARPENTER (Vocalist, The Carpenters): (Singing) Before the rising sun, we fly…

SIEGEL: The Carpenters took that commercial jingle and turned it into a pop music hit. Hal Riney won hundreds of awards for his ads before his retirement in 2003. He died on Monday at the age of 75.

(Soundbite of song, "We've Only Just Begun")

Mr. CARPENTER: (Singing) And yes, we've just begun.

Ms. CARPENTER: (Singing) Sharing horizons that are new to us. Watching the signs along the way. Talking it over just the two of us.

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