John D. Ehrlichman has been given the boot, again. This time, he's being dumped by Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream--the Oakland-based company for which he has made a provocative television commercial.
Ehrlichman, a top White House aide under Richard M. Nixon who went to prison for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury, was featured as a so-called "unbelieveable spokesman" for the low-fat ice cream that recently began to advertise itself as "unbelieveably good."
In the ad, Ehrlichman says: "When I said I never knew a thing about the Watergate break-in, you probably didn't believe me, did you? Well, to show you what a good guy I am, I'll give you another chance. This Dreyer's Grand Light Ice Cream is 93% fat-free . . . and it tastes great . . . So even if you didn't believe me last time, you'd better try this stuff."
Memories die hard. Public outcry over the campaign convinced the company on Thursday to drop the month-old ad. "We had anticipated a certain amount of negative response," said W. F. Cronk, Dreyer's president. "However, the number of customers from whom we heard and the intensity of their concerns persuaded us to pull the ad."
The company got about 325 letters and phone calls, company spokeswoman Diane McIntyre said. "Most of the consumers felt he was not of good moral character." Many of them also said they were going to stop buying Dreyer's, and that convinced the company to drop the ad, she added.
The commercial, created by the San Francisco ad firm Hal Riney & Partners, is one of six in a series that also includes such "unbelieveable spokespeople" as Melvin Dummar, who claims Howard Hughes left him $150 million, and a Scotsman who claims to have seen the Loch Ness monster. The other ads will continue to run.
Hal Riney, chairman of the ad firm, said that Ehrlichman had initially been reluctant to do the ads. Said Riney: "I told him it would make people like him a little better."