Wednesday, April 27, 2011
EMPIRE CARPET MAN DIES
Courtesy of Chicago Tribune
Lynn Hauldren, 89, the advertising copywriter who became the inspiration for the Empire Carpet Man in the 1970’s and helped launch their signature jingle into national recognition, died Tuesday, April 26, according to an Empire spokesperson.
Mr. Hauldren rose to became a decades-long advertising icon, as the person who wrote the catchy jingle that accompanies the company's famous phone number, and often delivered it with style: “Five-eight-eight, two-three-hundred ... Empire.”
“Lynn was truly passionate about the Empire brand,” said Steve Silvers, chief executive officer for Empire.
“He has made an indelible mark on advertising history with his creativity and warmth. Lynn will always have a special place in the hearts of many. Our thoughts are with his family during this time.”
The company’s owner during the time requested that Mr. Hauldren serve as the on-air talent for the spots after unsuccessfully auditioning several other people for the role. This decision launched him into pop culture stardom. Mr. Hauldren went on to serve as the inspiration for today’s Empire Today brand. He helped to launch the signature jingle into advertsing history as one of the nation’s most popular jingles.
In a 1997 interview with the Tribune, Mr. Hauldren commented on how the commercials transformed him into a celebrity.
"People are good-natured," he told the Tribune, "but once in a while they'll grab at you and say, 'Here's that carpet dude!' or 'Hey! Aren't you somebody?' I always hope folks understand I'm not a celebrity. I'm just a TV pitchman, a glorified salesman."
Mr. Hauldren was a decorated World War II veteran who continued to lend his voiceover talent to Empire’s commercials until his passing.
In addition, he was known as a key singer in the barbershop quartet arena, recording several albums with the quartet, Chordiac Arrest, and a vocal ensemble called Chicago Natural Gas.
“Lynn was just a joy all the time,” said Tom Felgen, who along with Hauldren sang the popular jingle. ”He was a neat and special guy who was really wrapped up in music and words. He had a very natural way of writing things. When we were singing together, it was total fun all the time.”
Tribune staff writer Kevin Pang contributed to this story.