In 1951, the “Speedy” character was introduced. The character was originally conceived by Creative Director George Pal of the Wade Ad Agency and designed by illustrator Wally Wood. Originally named Sparky, the name was changed to Speedy by Sales Manager Perry L. Shupert to align with that year’s promotional theme, “Speedy Relief.” He appeared in over 200 TV commercials between 1954 and 1964. Speedy’s body was one Alka-Seltzer tablet, while he wore another as a hat. In his original spots he sang “Relief is just a swallow away”; in his 1978 revival he proclaimed Alka-Seltzer’s virtues and sang the “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” song in his high, squeaky voice (provided by veteran juvenile voice actor Dick Beals). In December 2010, Alka-Seltzer began a series of new commercials featuring Speedy, using CGI effects to recreate the stop-motion puppetry of the 1950s and 1960s, with Speedy voiced by Debi Derryberry.
TV ads from the 1960s and 1970s, in the US, were among the most popular of the 20th century, ranking number 13, according to Advertising Age. To increase sales in a relatively flat business, Bayer has revived several of the vintage spots.