Minn. business owner who linked windshield glass, steaks dies at 68

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There's really no inherent connection between a car windshield and a box of steaks.

But for many people, the two are linked. Perhaps especially to Minnesotans. Who watched cable TV. Late at night. During the 1990s.

George Corporaal appeared on his own commercials for his St. Paul business, Glass Service Co., touting the free box of Simek's steaks handed out to customers who had their windshields replaced. As a marketing gimmick it was a huge hit, and Corporaal is being remembered for it following his death in Florida last week at age 68. A former colleague tells the Pioneer Press Corporaal was a marketing genius.

In 1999 he campaigned against a Minnesota bill banning the use of free gifts as business promotions. When the state eventually adopted the law, Corporaal sold his business, which soon folded.

Corporaal also influenced newspaper advertising, without advertising in the papers themselves. The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal noted in 2000 that his business was a local leader in marketing itself through Post-It notes papers began attaching to their front pages.

In the auto glass world Corporaal is considered an industry legend and his passing was duly noted.

In 2001 Corporaal was sued by two of his employees, who claimed he sexually harassed them and fostered a workplace climate hostile to women. The suit cited the taping of one of his commercials, which was a takeoff of the TV show Charlie's Angels.

Alas, your humble servants at BringMeTheNews have been unable to dig up any of Corporaal's old-school Glass Service spots. But rest assured that the tradition of automotive glass companies handing out steaks lives on in states that allow it, like Florida or Arizona:

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