Robert A. Peck began starring in his own commercials in November of 1967, although Peck's commercials go back to when Channel 5 was just getting started.
A veteran ad agency executive said he wasn't sure how it all began, this business of auto agency owners doing their own ads. "I guess it's a tie between ad men trying to keep an account and auto dealers all being such egotists," he said. "At any rate it's the one area of advertising that hasn't improved over the years."
Peck has outlasted all of the early dealers who did their own ads. It started with Leo Rocca on radio, a veteran advertising man pointed out, followed by many others who crossed lines and gimmicks with the more memorable Joe Amatucci, Jack Blank and Joe Cherner.
Peck said the advertising people asked him to try doing his ads. He said it worked because he comes across as being honest. "People look at someone and if they decide he's honest, they'll come out to the showroom."
Peck is best known for his juggling. "People used to ask me why I juggled, and I reminded them that they remembered the ad and my place because of the juggling. 'You're here, I'd say.'"
But in recent years he has dropped the juggling. He started doing it when he could purchase a one-minute ad on the nightly news for $50 to $75. "Now it runs about $1,000 and $1,200 for 30 seconds," he said. End of juggling.