1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #2

Another commercial break.


The first spot’s for MTV’s “Big Bang ’89,” the live party airing later that night, featuring “music and madness from New York and L.A.” (We see close-ups of those two cities on a map, in case we need some help remembering them, or maybe to help us find them in case we’re planning to crash the party.) We are promised performances by Robert Plant, Poison, Winger, Cameo, Hall and Oates, Escape Club, Bobby Brown, and Vixen, hosted by “the ultimate secret weapons,” Sam Kinison and Sandra Bernhard. All those names are accompanied by short video clips. The Poison clip is from “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and features Bret Michaels in a baseball cap, which is kind of the proto-version of the bandana-plus-toupee he’s been deploying recently. “Five number one hits in your face!” the announcer tells us. At the rate I’m going through these videos, it’ll take me only a year or two to get to the big show.

Next: a really trippy Coca-Cola commercial. “Here’s where the feeling begins,” the announcer says. Quick cuts of a snowstorm, silver space aliens, dancing black girls, and then out of nowhere, Earth, Wind and Fire materialize on a quasi-extraterrestrial set that looks like it’s been stuck on the backlot since the original Star Trek went off the air in 1969. The silver alien does the robot while drinking Coca-Cola Classic. EWF perform a short, funky jingle: “The ultimate sensation / When you’ve got the real thing.”


That’s followed by a spot for the movie Talk Radio (starring Eric Bogosian, directed by Oliver Stone, cast including Alec Baldwin (who appears not to be in this ad), music by Stewart Copeland (also not in this ad, which is set to George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone”).

Then: “Silver Eagle Records presents Michael Jackson, his greatest hits from the Motown years!” Clips of a young Afro’d MJ singing “I Want You Back” and “Ben” are intercut with footage of a Jackson impersonator, a silhouetted dancer with a Jheri-curl and glittering socks, presumably intended to send the message to skeptical young viewers that really, this is the same guy, even though we couldn’t get any actual recent footage.


The commercial break ends with another 15-second animated MTV bumper, this one of postcards from around the world (Holland, Paris, London, Australia, with each locale turning into an MTV logo). It’s somewhat less cool now that MTV actually is available all over the world.

posted 27 May 2008 in 1988 and tagged , , , , , , . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on 1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #2

  1. Chris M. Says:

    “Robert Plant, Poison, Winger, Cameo, Hall and Oates, Escape Club, Bobby Brown, and Vixen”

    You’ve got to hand it to the Clive Davis/Arista marketing machine: Hall & Oates ’88 (circa ‘Ooh Yeah!’) really, really does not belong on that lineup — they were fully VH1-ified by then — but Clive’s minions sneaked them in there.

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