This Sunday, people across the country will have parties, eat plenty of food and watch the professional football championship. Some will be there for the sport, while others will be there for the commercials.
I’ve found that Coca-Cola’s first commercial connected with the Big Game was in 1979. It was for a promotion, and nothing like the ads we all see today. Though the ads may not compare to today’s commercials with CGI and special effects, Coke has done some progressive advertising during past games.
In 1989, we took the first major step into what was called “participatory television,” when millions of people donned funny red glasses to watch a diet Coke ad and the first-ever live network halftime show presented in “Nuoptix 3D.” The breakthrough technology allowed everyone -- even viewers without the special 3D glasses -- to see a clear TV image. Local Coke bottlers gave out 20 million pairs of the 3D glasses. With this event, Coca-Cola became the first sole sponsor of the Big Game’s halftime show, and the glasses immediately became a collector’s item.
In 1990, we aired a commercial called “Hilltop Reunion,” a new version of the famous 1971 “Hilltop” ad, featuring “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” The commercial, which debuted during the big game, featured a number of cast members from the original 1971 spot, along with their children. “Hilltop” is one of the most-loved ads of all time, and the idea of bringing back the singers with a new generation delighted the audience (and may have made them feel old).
In 1991, we had planned to run a light-hearted halftime ad announcing the grand prize winner of our “Crack the Code” diet Coke sweepstakes. However, the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War changed things and the ad was replaced with an announcement of the Company’s $1 million donation to the USO.
In 1997, ads for diet Coke and the newly introduced Surge aired, and in 2006 we again highlighted a new brand, Full Throttle. (If you missed yesterday’s posting and want to see the ads we aired last year, click here.) We’ve also held promotions offering fans trips to the game, and we’ve even awarded a California man tickets for life. (Why I am not that lucky is beyond me!)
As they say, “watch this space” for more news about this year’s ads.
More on Journey
- Honoring a Native Son: Coca-Cola Exhibit, Panel Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Nobel Peace Prize
- How Coca-Cola Brands Make it to the Big (or Small) Screen
- Celebrating the Champs: The Storied History of Coke's Commemorative Sports Cans (and Bottles)
- Primary Color: Why Sprite Has Sported Green Since 1961
- ‘What is Coca-Cola?’ Why the Brand Has Appeared on Jeopardy! 200+ Times