(New to the countdown? Catch up here.)
A scrap of paper isolated on a black screen has the single typed word “sexy.” It’s followed by two quick flashes of dancing bodies–a little bit of skin, and a whole lot of fringe.
Then we get a closeup on a light-skinned black woman, speaking with a British accent–why, that’s Downtown Julie Brown! This must be a promo for Club MTV! She says, “There are certain people that, um, come up with steps that I would never even dream of.”
Two scraps of paper: “the” and “Dancers.” A sweaty black guy pushes back his hair. Back to Julie: “People like R.J., who come up with some feisty little moves.” We see R.J., frantically stamping his right leg, and then a closeup on a girl’s bustier.
Another scrap of paper: “hot.” Back to Julie, who is wearing a black top hat and dangling silver star earrings: “There are a couple of people that I like to see dance together.” We get a quick clip of two people of indeterminate gender dancing, one light-skinned, one dark-skinned. Back to Julie: “It’s nice to see guys up there, freaking out.” She continues talking over more quick edits of dancers: “It’s nice to see the guys going up there and baring all. With their chest out and stuff.” Back to Julie, now grinning. “I like that.”
The promo ends with the Club MTV logo. In case you never saw it, Club MTV was a dance-party show that featured Downtown Julie Brown introducing the club singles of the day while teenagers danced to them: basically, American Bandstand with a modern haircut. It was much less stylish than this promo, mostly because Brown was a ditz who liked to say “wubba wubba wubba” a lot.
Again, the ad for the License to Drive videocassette. One of the Coreys (Haim, I think, although I can’t rule out Feldman) lays out the plot: “An innocent girl. A harmless drive. What could possibly go wrong?”
Next up, the hugely insane Coca-Cola ad featuring robots and Earth, Wind and Fire. The lyrics to the funky EWF jingle: “The feeling’s real / You know it can’t be beat / Get started to the system / You can feel it in your feet / Owww! / The taste is live / Feel the magic that it brings / The ultimate sensation when you’ve got the real thing / Coca-Cola Classic / You can feel it / Can’t beat the feeling!” Get started to the system?
Gillette, once more promising that they are the best a man can get, have another in their series of ads that blend European footage with some new American shots. Quick cuts: guys in tuxes, woman adjusting man’s tie, man on phone pumping fist in victory, guy running track and dripping with sweat, hero shot of AtraPlus razor, man putting shaving cream on his young son’s face, just-married couple heading for limo but interrupted by hug from groom’s father, football team scoring touchdown, father spotting young son as he lifts five-pound barbell, father and young son combing hair together in mirror, older guy dropping car keys in younger guy’s hand, father cradling infant son, and sweet mother of Christ, there’s only so much father-son bonding that one man can recap.
Another videocassette ad: The Presidio, which starred Sean Connery and Mark Harmon. Connery appears to be over-acting while wearing a military uniform and a fake mustache, while Harmon gets head-butted by a criminal he’s trying to slap handcuffs onto. And somebody runs, and there’s an exploding upside-down car. Nobody gets started to the system.
We end with a comedic bumper for MTV, featuring a tourist in a Russian airport, tied and gagged at customs, struggling while the Russian customs agents look through his suitcase. “Do you have anything to declare?” asks the female agent. “In this sock, you have other sock?” She breathes in the aroma of the sock. “Declare something!” she cries. This promo is pretty much the last gasp of Cold War humor: the following year, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, and soon after, Yakov Smirnoff’s career was on the rocks.
posted 17 February 2010 in 1988 and tagged Ads, Club MTV, Coca-, Coca-Cola, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Downtown Julie Brown, EWF, Gillette, License to Drive, Mark Harmon, Sean Connery, The Presidio, Yakov Smirnoff. 5 comments