…where the advertised product has its own television network!
Moreover, the product is the central focus of the network’s ENTIRE program offerings!
In 1998, this was actually a thing!
Today’s trip back into the archives of the aforementioned 1998 jogged my memory of a whole series of advertisements, where an entire network focused on marketing Mercury vehicles via its programming, which parodied the standard programs you’d find on television in 1997 and 1998. The parodies were always campy and over-the-top, but all of it had a commonality – sell Mercury vehicles to the television-watching public, be they the person changing the channel in the commercial, or you, the viewer watching the commercial alongside the guy in the commercial!
Try not to think too hard about that sentence, lest it hurt your brain!
Anyway, this is…
…and these are today’s programming offerings!
A gritty police procedural reality show, the weather (not so gritty), and a gritty courtroom drama.
So, imagine yourself watching any of these shows, and click play!
The looks on their faces is hilarious, and all because of a CAR!
And how about that Mercury Grand Marquis?
The Mercury Grand Marquis, the focus of cops pulling unsuspecting drivers over just so they can drive the car, weather forecasts featuring the Mercury emblem as a weather map icon, and possible affairs with married older suitors, was introduced in 1975, sold by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company. Functionally an identical twin of the Ford Crown Victoria, the Grand Marquis was enjoyed three generations of existence, before its discontinuation in 2011, as Ford’s Mercury division was being retired after 72 years.
The slogan “Imagine Yourself In a Mercury” was introduced in the mid-1990s, with “Imagine TV” series of ads introduced in late 1997 to promote Mercury’s 1998 offerings. The parodies featured fake Muppets, Casablanca, James Bond, fake Bob Ross (who looked more like Danny DeVito depicting Bob Ross), Spaghetti Westerns, actual Westerns, buddy sitcoms, martial arts movies, doctor procedurals, the news, and The Dating Game, and Dragnet. While most of the commercials featured just the television network parodies, a few commercials actually promoted the car separately, before going back to Imagine TV’s programming. The commercials ran through the end of 1998. I watched all of them in preparation of this article, and they’re all pretty funny in a quirky way.
Till next time, imagine yourself in a discontinued car brand, and have a great Throwback Thursday!