This classic ad was made on a shoestring budget. Milk bottle silver caps stood in for soldier’s dog tags, and a Wellington quarry was used to recreate a Korean War-zone as featured in evergreen TV series M*A*S*H* (from the naming of “O’Reilly” at the top of the mail call, through to the 1953 country and western tearjerker used in the soundtrack, sung by Jacqui Fitzgerald and adapted by Murray Grindlay). The anachronism of cassette tapes in Korea proved a charming twist on the traditional ‘Dear John’ letter. The Tony Williams directed ad was later voted Best Australasian commercial of the 1980s.
It's interesting that Dear John, which is a rare case of a great idea and is still talked about in the US and UK, recently won best ad of the decade. It was made at the beginning of the decade, and still won best ad, which shows the 'great idea' was lost to commercials in the '80s.– Tony Williams
NZ On Screen acknowledges the talent and creatives for allowing NZ On Screen to reproduce this title on this website.
Song adapted by Murray Grindlay from 1953 Jean Shepard/Ferlin Husky hit 'A Dear John Letter'