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February 25, 2023 10:43 pm  #1

One Of The Most Famous TV Ads Ever Gets Officially "Retired"

Once in a while a TV ad becomes so iconic, that not only does everyone remember it years after it stopped airing, but it also becomes something of a cliched touchstone in popular culture. Such was the fate of a "Keep America Beautiful" spot that featured an actor dressed as an Indigenous man who shed a single tear for the pollution he found around him. 

That 70's era PSA, which to my knowledge has not run in years, has now officially been "retired" and has been handed over to a U.S. Indigenous group for "safe keeping" and to ensure it doesn't ever get shown on TV again. Many see it now as insulting to native people and a stereotype that's no longer politically correct. (In fact, it's said that the star of the spot - popularly known in its day as "The Crying Indian" - featured an actor named Iron Eyes Cody, who was not even an actual native person himself, but apparently had an Italian-American background.) 

What amazes me about the commercial is how well it's remembered by so many. It may be insulting and even hurtful to some Indigenous people, but one thing you can say about it is how effective it was in its time. To be remembered by so many all these years later is simply astonishing.

Rights to ‘Crying Indian’ ad to go to Native American group