Edythe V. Stevenson, a former advertising executive who wrote one of television’s most acclaimed commercials, died December 13, 2011, in North Dartmouth, Mass. She was 81.
The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.
In 1966, Ms. Stevenson, then a 35-year-old single mother, was hired by Manhattan advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach as a junior copywriter trainee.
Seven years later she was assigned to write a television commercial for a little-known Quaker Oats breakfast product, Life cereal.
Drawing on her experience as the mother of three sons, she created the memorable “Mikey Likes It” commercial. The spot first ran in 1973 and remained in regular rotation for 12 years, making it one of the longest continuously running television commercials ever aired.
In 1974, it received advertising’s highest award, the Clio, and earned Ms. Stevenson a promotion to senior vice president.
The commercial was named to the US Television/Cinema Classic Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 1999 TV Guide named “Mikey Likes It” one of the top 10 television commercials of all time.
Ms. Stevenson was involved in several other notable campaigns in her 16-year career with the agency (now DDB Worldwide), including Smirnoff and Volkswagen.
Edythe Vaughan Stevenson was born in 1930 in Morristown, New Jersey, and grew up on Long Island.
In 1949, she married sportswriter Jack Mann. They had four children and were divorced in 1966. After retiring from advertising in 1990, she lived in Montauk and Orient, Long Island, and in Westport, Mass.
She was an accomplished poet and sailor.
She is survived by a daughter, Karen Stevenson of Berkeley, Calif.; three sons, Steven A. Mann of Bethesda, Maryland, David M. Mann of Manhattan, and Donald J. Mann of Kenmore, Washington; five grandchildren; her longtime partner, Gordon H. Price of Westport, Mass.; and sisters, Daphne Stevenson Penttinen of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Adelita Stevenson Moore of Boston.
She is also survived by her cat, Mikey.