Grady the Badger
Grady is an American badger who stands at 2'1". He wears white shirt and a tie, with either a plain grey or tweed check jacket. He speaks with a gruff, gravelly voice.
In the commercials, Grady works at a car dealership, and is the epitomy of an obnoxious car salesman. He is pushy, condescending, and rude. Each of the twelve, thirty-second commercials demonstrates Grady's unpleasant attitude before a voiceover asks: "Tired of being badgered? Come to (a Johnson Automotive dealership). Great deals. Great service. No badgers."
The individual commercials are:
- Another Fish On The Hook: On a rainy day, Grady stares out into the wet carpark, musing that he is "gonna get me one today". As a car pulls up and two customers get out and head for the showroom, he laughs triumphantly and declares he has "another fish on the hook".
- Buy It Before I Sell It Right From Under You: A couple are examining a car in the showroom. They like it but want to take some time to think about it. Grady tells them he has another couple interested in it, and repeatedly states that it will be gone tomorrow if they do not buy it immediately.
- Chick Magnet: Grady accompanies an elderly customer on a test drive of one of his cars, and enthusiately tells his client that the car is a "real chick magnet". When the customer tells him that he has been happily married for forty-two years, Grady replies "I'm sorry to hear that".
- Help! Help! This guy is trying to rob me!: A customer in the showroom has found a car he likes, and asks Grady how much "wiggle room" is on the price. Grady sourly observes he is "one of those" and begins to mock him, building up to shouts that the customer is trying to rob him and take hia cars.
- Joy Ride: A customer on the lot wants to take a car on a test drive, which Grady agrees to with much reluctance. When the customer wants to see how the car handles on the highway, Grady becomes even more irritated and tells him "If this is gonna be a joy ride, I've got paying customers back there on the lot".
- Kapowee!: Grady is on a break with a colleague, and likens selling a car to fishing; "You bait the hook, you throw it out, and then you real 'em in, real slow".
- Ming Blue?: A customer has found a model of car she likes, but wants to know if it is available in other colours. Grady declares that they have a "wide range" of colours, but every choice the customer makes is "not available", and Grady is baffled by the colour "ming blue".
- Popcorn break: A customer with a car in for repair has been waiting three hours. When he asks Grady when it might be ready, Grady warns him "Don't talk to me, I'm on my popcorn break".
- Sexist Badger: A woman on the lot wants to buy an SUV. Grady skips an examination of the vehicle's engine and instead shows her where the cup holders are, as well as the rear-view mirror. ("That's where you can put on your makeup!")
- So Then Let's Do The Deal!: Grady sits at his desk with a couple who have found a car they like. When the top price they are willing to pay is not to Grady's liking, he makes a throaty growl and yells at them over the paperwork he has had to do.
- We Aim To Please: With his mouth full of his lunch, Grady makes a follow-up phonecall to a customer, to see if they were satisfied with the dealership's service. As the customer begins to reel off a list of complaints, he tells her "We aim to please" before disconnecting the call.
- Wiggle Room: When a customer in the showroom asks how much "wiggle room" is on the price of a car, Grady performs an impromptu belly dance rather than negotiate.
Behind the scenes
Based on the double meaning of "badger" (meaning either the animal or the action of harassing or pestering), the Grady commercial campaign was the brainchild of The Martin Agency, an advertising agency based in Richmond, Virginia.
Grady himself is an animatronic puppet who was built by AnimatedFX Inc., a Los Angeles based company specializing in the design, creation, rental, and puppeteering of animatronics, sophisticated puppets, and suits for commercials, film, and television. The animatronics in Grady's head allow for realistic lip-synching, eyeblinks, and movement of his brown and nose. His arms are moved by external rods which are digitally removed in post-production.
Grady was voiced by actor Grady Lee Richmond.
After the badger commercials received positive feedback from viewers, six-inch Grady dolls were commissioned. The dolls speak Grady's lines whilst replicating his "wiggle dance".
- "Badger Mania Sweeps the Nation" - article on The Martin Agency's website. Retrieved May 23, 2011
- Grady the Badger on the website of AnimatedFX. Retrieved May 22, 2011
- Grady Lee Richmond's biography, on his personal website. Retrieved May 22, 2011
- Grady dolls on johnsonbadgergear.com. Retrieved May 23, 2011