Discover more from The Retroist
Magnum P.I’s John Hillerman for Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts
Before I started seeing these memorable ads starring John Hillerman, who played Higgins on Magnum P.I., I had never even heard of Macadamia Nuts. But since the first commercial, I have always associated them with Mauna Loa. What made the commercial even more memorable is that Hillerman does the commercial in the English accent that he does so well.
During the run of Magnum P.I., many people assumed that Hillerman was English. This commercial, which clearly states his name, does little to change those assumptions.
Being a big Magnum fan, I of course wanted to try them, but these were not cheap nuts, so I resorted to the last resort of desperate kids and put them on my Christmas list. To my surprise, I got a jar from my Grandmother, who told me to not eat them all at once. It was sound advice and I completely ignored it and got so nut sick that I couldn’t eat Christmas dinner.
You would think I would learn my lesson, but I was so sold on these nuts by the commercials (plus they are tasty), that when I visited a nut plantation in Hawaii and was given unlimited access to Macadamia Nuts, I gorged myself on them. My belly, swelled with delicious nut meat, ached for the rest of the day and I missed out on a day of sun and surf.
I promised myself that I would learn control of my nut consumption from that day forward, but I know that is a lie because try as I might, I just can’t resist them.
Here are some of the ads that were made by Ketchum in the mid-Eighties and helped put Macadamia Nuts on my map. Including one that has future star Tia Carrere in a featured role.
The copywriter on these TV and radio spots was Dave Wolf who was working at the agency Ketchum at the time.
According to Wolf,
The TV campaign ran for about four years. Eventually, the company reduced the ad budget and switched to radio. I have heard these radio ads, which are sadly not online. They were really well done with sharp writing and an old-school sensibility that made them very compelling.