Favorite Commercials | Musical Commercials | Science Fiction Commercials | Information and Public Service Announcements | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1980's Uniforms | 1990's | 2000's | 2010's | The IHOP French Toast Commercial
Classic Film and Television Home Page (with many articles on directors)
(Clark's teaberry gum) The Teaberry Shuffle. (1961). Video. Sequel with British guard. Video.
(Great American Soups) Ann Miller's kitchen opens up to reveal an old style movie set, and she does a big tap dance routine to celebrate the soup. By Stan Freberg. (1970). Video.
(Detroit Institute of Arts) People around the art museum sing "You Gotta Have Art", a version of the song "Heart" from the musical Damn Yankees. They are often dressed and posed like the paintings. They form geometric patterns, and also raise their arms in some simple choreography. There are also enthusiastic camera movements. Upbeat, and a fine time capsule of the museum back then. (1976). Video.
(Almond Joy) A series of comic commercials, often with the song "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't."
(Coors Light) A 1950's dance party. Musical includes a guy doing a hula-hoop. (1985). Video.
(Hanes stockings) From the long-running series "Gentlemen Prefer Hanes". 1) A man in a black tuxedo at a party is confused by a woman who shows up in various colored dresses. (1985). Video. 2) Australian dancer Antony Hamilton recreates Fred Astaire's chair number from the movie Top Hat, complete with white tie and tails.
(Sticklets gum) A couple does a tango and other fancy dance moves. (1986). Video.
(Pillsbury Bundt Pineapple Creme Cake) A woman dancer at an elegant party gets distracted by the cake (1987). Video.
(Smirnoff Raw Teas) "Tea Partay". Preppies rap about tea, in a spoof of hip-hop videos. Nicely done musical. (2006)
(DSW shoe stores) People in funky but beautiful clothes attend a small dance party in a modernistic building. The hero wears a red plaid tuxedo. Their funky shoes were obtained at the store. Song: "Let's Dance". (2013). Video and Video. A related commercial at a pool party has a man making an entrance in the pool wearing a rubber diving suit over his clothes, a James Bond-like touch: Video and Video.
(Chevrolet Impala) A man (Edward McMahon) in a gray retro-style tuxedo has glamorous old-fashioned adventures, while people look on admiringly. He winds up taking his date to a drive-in movie. "Classic is back," the narrator intones at the end, while Frank Sinatra sings "Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)". Lots of pink objects against a none-too-colorful background suggest the film Pleasantville. (2013). Video.
(Infiniti QX60) "Pool Party". A man drives the car to the tune of "The Baddest Man Alive". (2016). Video.
(Reddi Wip) This commercial was seemingly shot live, as part of the live-broadcast television musical "Hairspray Live!" It is a spectacular long-take camera movement, complete with dance number choreographed by Greg Graham, shot backstage on the set of "Hairspray Live!" It features the Milkman, played by Evan Strand. His uniform is red and white with a blue bow tie, like the colors of the Reddi Wip can. Video. The Milkman also shows up briefly in the Hairspray number "Good Morning Baltimore", where we see his red milk truck, with the Reddi Wip logo on its side. He also wears a red-peaked uniform cap in this number. Even his milk bottles match the color scheme: white, with either blue caps or red caps. Video. (2016). The Hairspray cast created a promotional film of the number "You Can't Stop the Beat". Video. (2016). A trailer/commercial does a good job explaining the cast and setting: Video.
(Diet Dr Pepper) A woman in the future has to figure out which of three men isn't a robot. (1980) Video.
(Dr Pepper) "A Far Star Bar". A man (the Space Cowboy) in a complex silver-and-gray space uniform and cowboy hat goes into a space bar. (1984). This is actor Ernie Townsend (real name Ernest Pysher), best known for playing good guy Cliff Nelson on the soap opera The Edge of Night. Video. And a much longer more complete version Video or Video. A detailed News Story in Starlog Magazine 105, April, 1986. On Townsend: Edge of Night Video (1983), and Interview (1982).
(Cherry Coke) A time traveler from the future arrives in the 1950's for a cherry coke. He is driving a bright red time machine, which looks something like a race car, and wears a gray space uniform. Video or Video.
(Cherry Coke) "Cherry Boulevard". 1950's imagery is put through special effects and mildly avant-garde filming. That might be Matt LeBlanc, who is transformed from being a Teenage Wolfman. (1986) Video or Video.
(Charlex, Abekas A-62) Demo for new special effects technology. This is more an "industrial film" than a "commercial". (1986). Video.
(New Coke) A man in a white shirt and gray trousers in a tropical room with a huge ceiling fan. He does science fictional things with a small TV set. (1987) Video.
(Theragran-M vitamins) More-energetic versions of himself show a couch potato all the things he could be doing if he had more energy. Several of the men throw him reproachful looks. One even takes his dog away from him. (1988). Video.
(Panasonic video recorders) A man dances to a recording of Robert Palmer's video "Addicted to Love" in his penthouse apartment. Swirls of color come out of his TV, which keep changing the colors of his shirt and pants. Really striking. (1986). Video.
(Pontiac Firebird Trans Am) Shows car being created with computer design. Then driven in a computer-animated city of the future. (1982). Video.
(Amoco Gas) Special effects recalling the Stargate episode in 2001. Designer: Bernard Lodge. Optical effects: Filmfex. (1978). Video.
(Amoco Gas) A man clad in black leather, known as the Road Worrier, is interrogated by his girlfriend's father when he comes to pick her up for a date. Classic spoof of the Mad Max Road Warrior films. (1984). (Internet research suggests the giant vehicle in the commercial is the specially built Landmaster from the science fiction film Damnation Alley (1977).) Video or Video.
(Contac cold medicine) A man on a spaceship in the future has a cold. He wears silver futuristic clothes. (1986). Video.
(Motel 6) "Metamorphosis". A transforming car and clothes move through many styles and ages. (2012). Video.
(Esurance Insurance) "Insurance from the Future". A man travels back in time, to change his personal history. (2013). Video.
(Boeing) "You Just Wait". A science fiction look at the future in 2116. (2016). Creators: Peter Serchuk, Ben Smith. Video. Making-of: Video.
(RoboTwist) We don't have flying cars, but we do have RoboTwist, a device that opens stuck jars! (2016). Writer/Creative Director: Jordan Pine. Directors: Steve Zeoli, Mark Ciersdorff. Video.
(National Coffee Association) Various achievers including author Kurt Vonnegut promote the idea that coffee is a good drink for ambitious people. "Join the Coffee Achievers". Shot in a pseudo-documentary style. (1983). Video.
(Pacific Bell) Frank Herbert talks about information pouring over phone lines, in a future world much resembling the Internet and the "information superhighway". (1985). Video.
(The Library) Strange but meaningful public service spot telling teens that they can "be cool on the inside too" by visiting the library. Very hip. (1989). Video.
(United Negro College Fund) Inventions by African-Americans are highlighted. We see people in daily life using key pieces of technology. The devices then get surrounded by oval halos of light. Vivid commercial that reminds people of the contributions of black scientists and inventors. The commercial ends with the Fund's long time theme "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". (2010). Video.
(MicroAge computer store) A businessman talks about what the store can do to help computerize a business. The narrator's suit and shirt seem nearly sculpted on him. (1986). Video (second commercial on video).
(Fairy Tails) Tropical bird dolls for little girls come in dazzling colors. (1988). Video.
(Fruitopia) Kaleidoscope pictures of fruit swirl around, to advertise the fruit drink Fruitopia. Dazzling color. (1994). Video. Video. Video.
(Mascara) This commercial promoting "giant" eyelashes, shows its heroines wandering around looking like giants, inside a scale model of a skyscraper filled city. It's delightful. And reminds one of the scale model cities in such early films as Metropolis (Lang) and Sous les toits de Paris (Clair). Related: Video.
(Public Service Announcement for Car Pooling for the US Department of Transportation) Noah, of the Ark, is described as the original car pooler. Delightful animated spot. Video.
(Chevrolet) Jerry Orbach tells how new Chevrolet cars have five more cubic feet of space. He illustrates with boxes that are each a cubic foot: a vivid method of conveying spacial information. (1977). Video.
The "Consumer Information Catalog" public service ads of free things from the US Government: ("Write to Pueblo, Colorado!").
(Highland Appliance) A lost Russian submarine crew winds up at an appliance sale, which is billed as an "International Event". Sailor Plotchney romances a reluctant woman with the catchphrase "Fifty watts per channel, Babycakes!" Funny, and it became a cult favorite. (1987). Video.
"Stop the Madness". Public Service Announcement with a get sober, anti-drug and anti-alcohol message. John Wesley Shipp delivers it with conviction. (1991). Video.
"Erase the Hate". Public Service Announcements denouncing prejudice against minority groups, run on the USA Network. Video. One spot has Rick Rossovich as narrator, telling people "Hate is ugly! It will get you nowhere!" (circa 1995-1999).
(Ginger Ale) A young man offers an engagement ring to a woman, under a tree.
(Pabst Extra Light Beer) Macho actor John Beck, in a light gray suede (?) jacket, tells a bar full of friendly customers about this light beer. "Fact!" he repeatedly says, with enthusiasm and authority: he is laying down the law. His sexy remark at the end about "The Facts of Light" gets a big smile from the handsome young man in the couple at the bar he's speaking to. (1978). Video. Later in the same series of commercials, on a large set of tennis courts, Beck in a shiny blue warm-up suit talks to another player in his shiny red warm-up suit.
(Mueller's egg noodles) Dr. Joyce Brothers' mother shows up, and tells how Joyce always said that good meals were psychologically comforting. One of the campiest TV spots ever made. (1977). Video.
(Trouble cologne by Mennen) A man wearing Trouble cologne gets involved in a bar fight with an angry looking yuppie in a fancy, expensive-looking black leather jacket. We see the muscle-man yuppie from the neck down, while he clenches his fists. The yuppie looks well-to-do, physically powerful, and very aggressive, probably both in the business world and in this bar. The idea is that wearing Trouble cologne will get you involved with rough-and-tumble encounters. Mennen also ran billboard ads asking "Are you looking for Trouble?"
(Cherry Coke) Various relaxing guys and their girlfriends, including a man in a leather jacket lying in the trunk of a car, and two guys on a motorcycle. (1986) Video.
(Soft Drink) A man dressed all in gray on a beach.
(Nabisco Shredded Wheat) The set gets turned upside down. (1989). Video.
(Pepsi) ESP researchers do more than they plan, in fun spoof (1987). Video.
(Coffee) A man takes his girl friend bird watching. He wears a complex looking black leather jacket, very dressy and authoritative looking. He orders her to be quiet and still, so not to disturb the bird. He sounds intelligent and competent.
(Grape-Nuts cereal) A muscular young forest ranger riding a horse while wearing a leather bomber jacket. At the end he asserts "There's no question Grape-Nuts is right for you. Question is 'Are you right for Grape-Nuts?'" he asks the audience, challengingly. Related: A mountain explorer (1984). Video. Print ad: Ad.
(Grape-Nuts) A couple engages in romantic banter. (1989). Video or Video.
(Listerine) Two commercials, about 1) a rock band 2) men working in a clothing store.
(Heinz Ketchup) Matt LeBlanc pours it slowly, off a building edge. (1987). Has film noir like shots down a staircase. Video.
(Heinz Ketchup) A little kid imagines outer space video games while using ketchup. Cute and imaginative. (1987).
(?) A yuppie in a sports car encounters a giant billboard of a shirtless man.
(7-Up) A man in a shirt and tie, stuck in a giant bottle, struggles to break out and express his feelings.
(Windex) A young women polishes up a million crystal ornaments in her home using Windex window cleaning spray.
(MasterCard) Jackie Gleason gets to say "How Sweet It Is!" one more time. (1986).
(Planters Nuts) Men take part in various outdoor activities: riding horses, racing boats. (1980). Video.
(Kraft) Costumed revelers at a Mardi Gras like street party, including a young man in white tie and tails.
(Burger King) Ben Affleck answers a woman's call. Video. (1989).
(Three Musketeers candy bar) Three very hip young men in retro clothes and car like chocolate. (1988). Video.
(L'Oreal Studio hair care) People on a big rectangular grid of TV monitors, each with a different person's head in close-up.
(Wrigley's Extra gum) Young men out bicycling, piloting a glider and riding in a cable car chew gum. The man in the cable car has a white shirt and brilliantly blue sweater. (1986). Video.
(Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum) Volleyball on the beach. (1989). Video.
White Naval Uniforms. (Kit Kat) Sailors trapped on a desert island fantasize about Kit Kat candy bars. (1982). A sailor prefers seeing himself in a good sailor suit eating a Kit Kat, to thinking about a girl. He persuades his buddy to share this fantasy. He calls it "The Taste you can't help fall in love with." Video.
(Big Red gum) The gum helps people kiss longer. A kissing couple is saluted by one of three ship's officers in white uniforms. (1983). Video.
(Wrigley's Spearmint gum) A young naval officer, dressed in a white Ensign's uniform, learns how to salute and move. He dresses in front of a base bathroom mirror, part of a series of officers in identical white uniforms. Another white uniform hangs from a bathroom rod in the background. He learns how to turn and move with precision, on a white-tiled bathroom floor, and to extend a white gloved hand, giving a big smile that is both enthusiastic and rehearsed. He then salutes precisely as part of a uniformed line-up of Ensigns at the end, while the sunlight gleams off his uniform cap's black visor. (January 1986). Video.
White naval uniforms were big in the 1980's. See the films An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Top Gun (1986) and No Way Out (1987), and the TV series Magnum, P. I.. The episode My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean (1985) of Murder, She Wrote. Later came David James Elliott in JAG (1995-2005).
And covers of paperback novels:
Heroes John Wesley Shipp as Kelly Nelson, Michael Tylo as Quinton McCord are in naval whites on the TV soap opera The Guiding Light (early 1980's). Tylo is playing a Rear Admiral while Shipp is a junior officer. This is a drastic difference in rank. Tylo has a more elaborate uniform, with special authority figure designs on his cap visor, a chest full of ribbons, and shoulder braid. Tylo has his uniform cap on, while Shipp has his cap tucked stiffly under his arm, in standard naval fashion.
White naval uniforms appear in older Hollywood films:
(Pert Plus shampoo) A man plays on a soccer team, showers afterwards. They are in glitzy yellow uniforms, and perhaps on a college team. (1989). Video.
(?) College athletes are dressed to the nines for a school banquet in matching gray suits. The middle-aged coach and his beaming wife preside over it.
(Coke) An urban baseball team's bus, coming home after winning a big game, stops at a rural diner to celebrate. The players are in bright red-and-white uniforms. The team name "Gibson Gears" and logo are on the uniform shirt fronts. There is a Civil Rights subtext: the all-white people in the rural diner, initially apprehensive about seeing the integrated baseball team enter, learn that the teammates are good guys. (1980). Video.
(Taco Bell) Four guys in silver jackets hang out near a sports car. "It's a sweet machine!" one says.
(Coke) Various spiffed up people go out on the town on Saturday night, including three young men in identical award jackets who get out of a car in precise formation. The jackets display the letter C in front - perhaps for "Coke". (1978). Video.
(KFC Chicken Littles) Six men in their 20's, in matching dark award jackets with white leather sleeves, with CENTRAL HIGH on the back, and a large white C on the front.
(Miller Lite) Ball player Ken Brett, in a sharp but logoless blue baseball jacket, has been traded so much he's lost. The shiny blue jacket emphasizes his muscular arms and chest. The blue jacket's lack of logo indicates he is unconnected to any team. A new version of "The Man Without a Country", perhaps. Has some symbolic resonance. Another bar patron in a fancy red-and-white baseball shirt and red cap laughs derisively at him. The shirt has stripes on its sleeves, suggesting uniformed authority figures. (1984). Video or Video.
(Pro Keds shoes) A runner practices racing in deserted city streets in early morning hours. An older milkman in a white uniform, tells him he "is looking good". He is eventually magically changed into shiny running clothes at the end of the spot. He shimmers back and forth between his old clothes and his shiny new ones, before the glossy new uniform becomes permanent. "Pro Keds. For all those moments when you feel like a pro." In the same series: Rich, an amateur basketball player, sometimes is great in his Pro Keds. Rich, a handsome Black guy, sometimes "feels the magic" in his basket-shooting. Just as the runner gets approval from the uniformed milkman, so is Rich approved by his Coach, who wears a red warm-up suit with white trim. (1980). Video.
Marine Sergeants. (Coke) Two related commercials, with both some shared and some different imagery. Both are montages of different events:
Business Suits. (Millionaire cologne) "What do you wear when you want to feel like a Million bucks?" Various men answer, culminating in a man dressed for success in a pinstripe suit (actor Douglas Barr). The earlier men explain their favorite clothes items, such as "my lucky hat", putting on his cowboy hat, but the man in the pinstripe suit says cockily, "You have to ask?" Seen today, his suit seems conventional. Seen in the early 1980's, his clothes looked radical and innovative. (1980). Video.
(Furniture) A smiling executive in a pinstripe suit orders a working man in overalls to move around a lot of furniture.
(Shampoo) Two men: one in a black coat and tie, directs a photo shoot with pretty women models; another runs in a white warm-up suit; at the end, both friends are in matching black tuxes.
(Cathay Pacific airline) A young, well-dressed businessman takes a business flight to Hong Kong. Filmed with superimposed, transparent images in rectangular subregions of the screen. (1988). Video.
(Michelob Light) People take part in a glamorous night on the town (1987). Most of the men wear suits without ties. One is in an athletic award jacket. Video.
(McDonald's) "Going Up". A group of well-dressed executives on an elevator jokingly discuss taking away a subordinate's French fries by force. Then the elevator gets stuck. The executives all wear white dress shirts with their dark suits. (1992). Video.
An incredibly glamorous couple is in some luxurious hotel suite. The suave, sophisticated man in the tuxedo approaches a table filled with food, and strikes a romantic pose against it. The whole table flips over. It turns out to be a commercial for stain resistant carpets. He gives a brief apologetic shrug... (1990). Video.
(Beer) Charles Rocket as an enthusiastically gyrating Elvis Presley style rocker, complete with an Elvis style black leather outfit.
(Miller Lite Beer) "Big Lawyer Roundup". Cowboys at a rodeo hunt down and hogtie lawyers. Michael Bay was reportedly involved with making this. (1993).
(Credit card). Scenes show a man in a snazzy gray business suit taking customers out to dinner. Then a man in a dressy jet black tuxedo. Finally a man at the ocean, in shiny black swim trunks with a single patch pocket in the back.
(Independent Film Channel) These promotional items for the cable TV channel showed real life performers active in independent films (low budget art movies). They all talked about a legendary director they worked with, and are full of every sort of show biz jargon and actors' cliché. Finally we see the director, who turns out to be a nine year old girl. Very funny. Video. Video. Video.
(Dell Computer) Ben Curtis plays a sly, silver-tongued teen, who is good at persuading parents to buy computers for their own teens. Funny. (2000-2003).
(L'Oreal Elvive shampoo) Ben Affleck in a gray leather jacket does a kissing scene for the movies. Made in England. (2003). Video.
(IHOP) The French Toast Festival, in which a cowboy happily turns into a Frenchman after eating French Toast (2005). Video.
(Planters Nuts) Mr. Peanut has a rendezvous with his latest love, a pistachio, on top of the Empire State Building, in a giddy spoof of a famous romantic movie (2006).
(Dish TV) A young man in a dark red tee shirt plays basketball with his buddies, then watches a baseball game on TV with them. The man's thin blond beard, muscles and red shirt echo Thor. (2011).
(Glad ForceFlex bag) Mt. Rainier is covered in plastic, to dramatize how much plastic waste could be avoided each year by using better bags. (2012). Video.
(Ethan Allen furniture) A man in a light gray sweater. (2013).
(T-Mobile) A cowboy villain rebels against bossing townspeople around. In a desaturated-color Western all in gray, he dons a pink-red hat. (2013). Video.
(Dasani Drops) People in brilliantly colored clothes. Swirling color liquid in water, like the credits of Kwaidan. (2013). Video.
(Taco Bell and Doritos Cool Ranch) "Ideas". A diverse series of people from all around the world express a craving for Cool Ranch. (2013). Video.
(Doritos) "Valet". A valet parker goes on a joy ride in a mirror-covered car owned by a rich young man in a hip gray suit. Director: Jon Favreau. (2013). Video and Video.
(Benjamin Moore paint) "What Matters". The company announcing its intention to "Repaint Main Street". Photos of classic small town stores are shown and celebrated. (2013). Video.
(Nationwide Insurance) "Safe Driver Pursuit". Traffic helicopters pursue and comment on a vehicle for its safe driving, in a parody of the traditional pursuit of criminals and the out-of-control. Shows the kind of drivers the insurance company wants. (2013).
(Lexus ES) "Remember". Connectivity is stressed, including the man (actor Josh Randall) using an app to find his car in a huge parking structure (2014). Video.
(Persil ProClean) The Professional, a James Bond type secret agent in a dazzling white tuxedo, advertises laundry cleaning products. Actor: Peter Hermann. 2106 ad Video.
(Choice Hotels) "Badda Book. Badda Boom." A businessman in a good suit (actor Lowell Byers) says that the easy booking at the hotels can be summed up with the title phrase. (2017). Part of a series that includes "Summertime: Badda Book, Badda Boom.", "Badda Book Pitch", "Badda Book, Badda Bloom", "Badda Book, Badda Boom: Big Idea". The businessman is known as Mr. B. It is unclear what his relationship to the admen is: their boss? their customer? He seems to be in charge.
(Hefty LBB Strong - Bags) "Conveyor Belt". A cheeky, well-built man in authoritative dark gray rides a supermarket conveyor belt (2019). Nice humor. I think the man is star wrestler John Cena. Video.
In 2005 IHOP sponsored a "French Toast Festival", where they offered discounts for a period on this item. Such restaurant promotions are commonplace, and they are often publicized with commercials. So far, so ordinary.
The commercial opens on two hunky cowboys. They are dressed in full cowboy gear, identical matching "white shirt and giant black hat and scarf" cowboy outfits. They have thick Western twangs. One says to the other: "What's gotten into to Rusty?" All the colors in the background are completely desaturated and dull.
Cut to the friend. He is a third man, dressed not as a cowboy in white, but in a bright red shirt, together with a black beret. He says "Bonjour" in an American Western accent.
The friend has been eating French toast at the IHOP, and has turned into a Frenchman. After a break showing close-ups of French Toast, the commercial ends with the two cowboys and their friend, still in his French beret, chowing down at the IHOP on French Toast, laughing and talking together.
After years of nauseating "Freedom Fries" propaganda from Bush officials, this is the first French-anything I've seen on American TV.
Traditionally, Americans loved everything French. But this deep stream in American culture was forced underground by the Bushies. Now it is back in full force. You can't get more American than the IHOP, and you can't get more pro-French than this commercial. It is funny and endearing.
There are antecedents to this commercial's basic conceit. Monty Python's Flying Circus did a funny sketch about Englishmen turning into Scotsmen. There are also many TV shows about magical characters who can change their clothes in a twinkling of an eye, such as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. The science fictional Automan, a "virtual reality" hero, could also do this.