Jim’s television commercials, first created in 1957 for the Wilkins Coffee Company of Washington, DC, were extremely popular, receiving mentions in the press and accolades from various organizations. Jim received a certificate of appreciation from the American Association of University Women in 1958. The following year, he received a Gold Medal at the Art Directors Show of Metropolitan Washington, in the Design of A Complete Unit (Television Art) category. Jim also received awards for the Wilkins commercials from the Baltimore Art Directors Club and at the American TV Commercials festival.
Jim’s commercials received recognition in some unexpected places. In 1959, Senator John Marshall Butler (Republican from Maryland) made an impassioned speech about the poor quality of television and advertising. He complained about violence and called most programs, “…just plain trash.” He continued, “As to advertising, it insults the intelligence of the viewer. It is geared to know-nothings. As far as I am concerned, if I hear ‘a thinking man’s filter and a smoking man’s taste’, I promptly change the channel. About the only clever advertising on the air today is ‘Wilkins and Wontkins’. It pleases rather than irritates television audiences and I am happy to learn that this series is bringing increased sales to its sponsor.”