80s, 90s, Celebrities, Commercials, Food, Quick Lists, TV — September 9, 2014 5:53 pm

7 Unexpected Celebrity Coke Endorsements

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It seems like celebrities have been endorsing products forever, but our research indicates it possibly began in 1849 with Howard Staunton endorsing a chess set.  Regardless of the history of celebrity ambassadors, the trend probably isn’t going away any time soon.

Here are seven unexpected celebrity Coke endorsements.

7 – New Kids on the Block for Coke MagiCans

Nothing says refreshing like a full minute of the New Kids on the Block shilling for Coca-Cola. Even more refreshing: finding a chunk of paper in your otherwise liquid beverage. Coca-Cola sponsored the New Kid’s tour, known as the Magic Summer Tour, as part of a promotion for their MagiCans. In 1990, Coke cans had little spring loaded mechanisms inside, so when you opened it a piece of paper would pop out at you. These would be cash or gift certificates. Chlorinated water was added to the prize-holding cans so they’d be the same weight as regular cans. Coke also added ammonium sulfate so people wouldn’t drink it. Of course, faulty cans resulted in people drinking nasty cola, but hey… at least we got a full minute of girls screaming in the commercial?

6 – Whitney Houston for Diet Coke

You would think Whitney Houston had better things to do in the 80s besides endorsing soft drinks, but like everyone else famous at the time, she was there.  She had actually been in a Canada Dry commercial prior to this, so maybe she was planning on cola commercials being her fallback career just in case things didn’t work out on the Billboard charts.  Also, is that who I think it is making a cameo appearance in this commercial?

5 – Willard Scott

Yep, it is!  This commercial features some of the same footage from the Whitney Houston commercial.  While it’s not all all surprising to see Willard Scott in a commercial, considering just about everyone knows his famous alto-ego Ronald McDonald.  I guess we just didn’t expect to see him outside the clown makeup in a commercial for another product.  Now, if only he were in a commercial for that McDonald’s Orange Drink.

4 – New Edition for Coke

Mr. Telephone Man, I think we have New Edition on the other line promoting the latest Coke campaign.  Rather than going for some deep metaphorical message, the lyrics are the pretty straight forward “Coke is it”.

3 – Max Headroom for New Coke

If you can’t trust a glitchy computer man who tells you that New Coke is actually good, who can you trust?  Coke brought in Max Headroom to help convince the angry fan base that their reformulated beverage was at least better than Pepsi.  Geez, they didn’t need to blow their budget on Max Headroom for that message when they could’ve just brought in some more out of work 60s TV stars to cover that territory.

2 – Weird Al for Diet Coke

After his “Eat It” success in 1984, Weird Al seemed to pick up a few gigs that didn’t have the budget for Michael Jackson.  This Diet Coke commercial is one his appearances that the target audience probably didn’t see coming around the corner, literally. Also, is that Henry Thomas from E.T.? Okay, that really was an unexpected celebrity Coke endorsement.

1 – Elton John for Coca-Cola Light (aka Diet Coke)

I will always have a strange association with this Elton John Diet Coke commercial, as I first saw it in Italy when I was about eight years old.  Not only did I have to accept that the commercial was dubbed, but I had to take in that Diet Coke was known as Coca-Cola Light in that market.  On top of that, the commercial is full of old timey celebrities.  Wow, this is getting overwhelming just trying to explain!

Honorable Mention – Keanu Reeves for Coke

Since his character comes in second place in the Coke bike race, it seems only fitting that Keanu Reeves’ endorsement only makes our “honorable mention” list.  If only he had a time traveling phone booth that could have have put him ahead of everyone else…

What say you?  Any other unexpected celebrity Coke appearances?

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