In the early 1990s, diet soda was a big deal, and if you could stand the taste (and weren’t worried about the risks of artificial sweeteners), then it was the drink for you.
You know what else was a big deal in early 1990s advertising? Up-and-coming technology to insert footage of long-dead celebrities into ads with contemporary settings!
In the early 1990s, Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner, Paula Abdul danced with Gene Kelly, and Elton John had a jam session with Louis Armstrong. Did I mention that James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart were there too?
And that’s where this week’s Throwback Thursday commercial comes in.
In a 1992 ad for Diet Coke, singer Elton John, always known for his flair and none-too-shabby song stylings (yes, I admit, I do like his music), sings it up in a nightclub of contemporary people, enjoying contemporary dancing, when who should show up but Humphrey Bogart…
“Well Joe, what do ya know?”
…and James Cagney…
As Elton belts out a very catchy jingle about Diet Coke being “the one, no mistakin’ it’s the one!” our long-dead celebrities enter the club to mingle and watch among the contemporary people. And joining Elton in his singing?
Why, Louis Armstrong, of course! And why not?
Armstrong’s footage is taken directly from the 1956 film High Society, while Cagney’s is taken from The Roaring Twenties (1939) and Public Enemy (1931), and Humphrey Bogart is famously from Casablanca. And it works, it all works. It wasn’t the first ad to feature digitally-placed celebrities in contemporary settings (and it wasn’t the last), but it absolutely is amazing.
And the song? I can’t get enough of that song. I’ve been convinced there is an actual version of this song out there, and this is just a re-worked version for the purpose of this commercial. But it doesn’t matter, it’s an incredible song and such classic Elton John.
And so is his style. That’s also classic Elton John.
This commercial is so incredible, it begs to be watched. Seeing is truly believing…in one calorie soda, digitally-placed celebrities of yesterday…and the one and only stylings of Elton John.
Just press play. Do it. This song is calling out to you!
Oh, we’re already warmed up, Louis, this ad is all the way up to eleven!
Because the TASTE!
If you liked this fine little slice of 1990s music and advertising at its most epic, then Flashback Friday will have you dancing for more.
But that’s a whole other day, and a whole other post.
There’s no mistakin’ the power of effective advertising.