Samples of Howard Johnson's Television Commercials:

1950s: Aventures in Advertising
Television was still a relatively new and somewhat novel medium when advertising firm, N. W. Ayer & Son Inc., made their proposal to the agents of Howard Johnson's back in December of 1953. The first television campaign for the Company and its franchisees was a series of 15 minute films called "Howard Johnson's Playtime Theater" and featured three HoJo's commercials each -- at the beginning, middle, and end of each story. The festive advertisements featured animated dancing ice cream cones, candies, take home products, snacks, dinner specials, and images of Howard Johnson's Restaurants. The first of the mini-programs with their HoJo's commercials were aired in February of 1954.
Opening title card followed by ...
20-second Dancing Ice Cream Cones TV film spot ... leading into
... the feature film story (13 different children's stories).
Middle commercial: Features candies or take-home products ...
... or snacks, announced "live" by local announcer.
The entire program is planned for 15 minutes including commercial.
Closing commercial to feature your own special Club or Dinner
Closing with shots of local stores and your address ...
Signing off with Dancing Ice cream Cones 20-second spot.

1960s: Expansion
Have Howard Johnson's good food at home was the theme for a series of middle 1960s advertisements. The Company had launched a variety of prepare at home frozen signature food items shortly after the technology had become available and hoped to expand its market share through super market sales. Don't you think that the flying Orange Roof was clever!
TV Commercials: circa 1965

Perhaps a little later in the '60s Howard Johnson's Restaurants advertised their Captain's Plate seafood dinner and carefully included the Elmsford, New York Motor Lodge and Restaurant at the end of the spot.

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1970s: Orange Glimmers On
One in a series of seven television commercials, Howard Johnson's sponsored a children's program on NBC that was aired monthly on Saturday mornings from December, 1969 until June, 1970. Perhaps an early promoter of diversity with its American Rainbow campaign, the Company cleverly targeted children with free goodies like the glide-a-bee game.
TV Commercial: circa 1970
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1980s: Lost Direction
Owned by Imperial Group Ltd. of the UK for the last five years of its existence, the Company attempted to boost sales at both the Motor Lodges and Restaurants with a nationwide campaign of commercials using the tag line, "If its not your mother, it must be Howard Johnson's."
TV Commercial: circa 1982
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1990s: End of an Era
This commercial was part of a marketing package created by Franchise Associates Inc. (FAI) for its franchisees to use inexpensively on cable television channels. The spot was filmed at FAI's Canton unit which had been acquired and then remodeled in 1990 to be the chain's "new" prototype. The 1990s marketing material that included the commercial was the last substantive contribution to its franchisees that FAI made. Having been formed in 1986 to keep Howard Johnson's Restaurants viable, FAI was defunct at the end of 2005.
TV Commercial: 1995
Extended TV Commercial: 1995
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NBC's Today Show

2000s: The Orange Roof Fades Away

Recognizing the significance of Howard Johnson's and its contribution to the American Way of Life, NBC aired a segment commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Company's founding. Please be aware that none of the Restaurant locations visited during the piece remain in business, and that Greenfield, Times Square, and Kirkwood have been demolished. Note also a factual error in the history that was presented -- Howard D. Johnson did not "take over" his original store from his father. Unfortunately this misinformation is repeated over and over again in the media -- Mr. Johnson was a self made man and created the Orange Roofed empire without his father's assistance. Moreover his father never owned any sort of ice cream store and was deceased well prior to the first Howard Johnson's located in Wollaston, Mass. in 1925.
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Additional clips may be viewed on YouTube

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