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DigiBarn TV Features:
"Xerox Monks" Classic Superbowl ad for Xerox 9200 Duplicating System
and other commercials in the "Xerox Monks" series by Allen Kay

It's a miracle!

Thanks Allen Kay for providing this video of the famous "Xerox Monks" Superbowl ad! This commercial for the Xerox 9200 high speed duplicator system was conceived by Allen Kay, currently CEO of
Korey Kay and Partners advertising in New York, has won every single award given by the advertising industry, including the Cannes Film Festival's Gold Lion and the first cash prize ever given by the New York Advertising Club. It also was judged by The New York Times to be one of the top 25 commercials of the 20th Century and is in the CLIO Hall of Fame.

Click on Play for the 1977 Xerox Monks commerial (or view this piece larger on YouTube or at the DigiBarn Collection at Archive.org)

Allen writes (July 2006):

Extracted from ESPN: ESPN's All-Time Best Super Bowl Commercials/2006

Ever since the Super Bowl became the biggest sporting event in the country, the expensive spots have been just as anticipated as -- and sometimes better than -- the games.

So we've compiled our list of the best Super Bowl commercials of all-time. We also asked for your opinion, and we've compiled your choices for the best commercial introduced during a Super Bowl along with a poll to crown the top Super Bowl commercial of all-time.

Here's our list:

4. Xerox: "Monks"
Brother Dominic finishes duplicating an old manuscript, only to learn that the head monk needs 500 more sets. Dominic heads through a secret doorway to a modern-day copy shop where the Xerox 9200 (which can copy at an amazing rate of two pages per second!) does the job for him. He returns to the monastery and delivers the sets in no time. "It's a miracle," the father says. Brother Dominic smirks skyward.

Once an ad has fun with monks, the flood gates of irreverence are open. This spot is the prelude to every boundary-pushing pitch you see now.

I also have a collection the Xerox ads and commercials I created between 1971 and 1982. From "The two-faced copy to "The Memorywtiter." And a vhs of television spots that include "Colodny/Football," a favorite of those who remember. There are countless award-winners in print and TV. Please let me know if you'd be interested in having copies of any of them.

Curator: Bring em on Allen!

More from Allen Kay on the Xerox Monks series:

Most of the Xerox ads from 1971 to 1982 I personally did as Creative Director on the account. The rest were created by members of my team. Regarding the 820, we (for Xerox) also made a short film about the making of the tv spot. We titled it, "The Making of a Monk," as it was at the same time "The Making of a President" was on the best-seller's list. At the end of the film, Jack Eagle, "The Xerox Monk," bites into an apple.

In all, there were six Monk spots shot from 1975-1982. I wasn't aware of any created in Canada, but it's quite possible. The Canadian commercial I know of for the 3100 was called "Mr. Big" and was excellent. Kind of a mafia take-off shot in black and white. The Monks spots produced in the States were:

  1. The original "Monks" introducing the 9200 duplicator. (It was the first commercial that I know of that got the top prize in every awards show.) Even Alka-Seltzer and Volkswagen had never accomplished a clean sweep. Usually it was because one of their other commercials would win the best in show in one of the shows. It also had the distinction of garnering the first cash prize given by the Andy Awards. $30,000 which in the mid 70's was a tidy sum.
  2. A spot introducing the 9400. It fell flat as even though we had to agree to do a sequel, we never wanted to turn Brother Dominic into a pitchman, which through attrition this spot wound up doing.
  3. A commercial based on copy quality which had a panel of Monks scoring the copy from 1-10 as if in the Olympics. Of course the Xerox copy got a perfect 10. The original storyboard ended with the Hallelujah Chorus. Xerox made us change the ending to something tepid as they felt that song was too religious.
  4. Next was a spot was designed to communicate simplicity. Entitled, "Gone to Vespers" it featured Father Superior having to make a copy on his own because he couldn't find Brother Dominic. The copy line was, "So simple, even a Father Superior can do it."
  5. Was the first commercial for the Xerox computer, know to insiders as Alto.
  6. The last monks spot was shot at the end of 1981 on the cusp of my leaving to found Korey Kay and I wasn't involved at all. It might have been shot in Canada. The Monk was a borscht belt comic named Jack Eagle. After being introduced at meetings and such, his favorite opening line was, "I'm the only Jewish Monk, a schmonk."

Other Korey Kay documents related to Xerox advertising:

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See Also

The Xerox Monks appear again in an Xerox 820 print ad and T-shirt

The Digibarn's extensive collection of Xerox computers and other artifacts

View more DigiBarn TV shorts

Also check out Digibarn Radio!

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