Forever Young

The Rodney D. Young Insurance commercials that run on late-night television are the electronic equivalent of paintings on velvet. Slapstick humor, bad puns and worse celebrity imitations build to the payoff: “Think Young! Rodney D. Young!”

They’re cheesy, but they work, says Steve Morgan, president of the Morgan Group, RDY’s advertising agency since 1985. “In 1985. the company had five locations in one market; by the end of 1992, they will have 20 locations in six markets.” The costumes, sets and level of acting reflect a production budget that Morgan describes as averaging $1,500 per spot.

“If that’s their budget, then there’s plenty left after they’re through paying me,” says Steve White, the freelance copywriter who confesses to writing most of the spots. White says he’s frequently surprised when he sees his work on TV. “The agency and client have a guerrilla mentality that adds another level of weirdness.”

For which some late-night viewers are grateful.

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