Retro Commercials: Elvira Halloween Coors Light Beer

I don’t know about you, but commercials can often take me back my formative years as quickly as any song or movie can. That is why we will continue this semi-regular feature on ’80s commercials that I consider particularly memorable, noteworthy or forgotten. Television commercials were much more influential back when we were forced to watch them without the luxury to fast-forward through and/or stream shows with limited or no interruptions. This issue will cover some of the Halloween spots for Coors Light Beer featuring the one and only Elvira from the ’80s. (Also includes some bonus Elvira commercials for other products and other decades.)

Nothing goes with Halloween quite like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. You can read some other recent features on the network about her including Elvira: Mistress of the Wrestling Ring? , Elvira’s Haunted Hills and 10 Great Old Halloween TV Specials You Need to Watch. Here we will revisit some of her Halloween commercial contributions.

Cassandra Peterson started her performance career back in 1968 at the age of 17. She would have several small acting roles before joining the Los Angeles-based improv group, The Groundlings, in 1979. It was there that she developed a Valley girl-type of character that would later become a big part of her Elvira character. In 1981, she took over hosting duties for a low-budget late night horror movie show and the rest of the Elvira character was created. She was a sexy/punk vampire with a sarcastic Valley girl tone. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention she wore a tight-fitting low-cut cleavage-baring black gown that showed off some other assets? Her sex appeal, quick wit, campy humor and good-natured self-mockery made her popular with late-night movie viewers and her popularity soared. With that, the Elvira character rapidly evolved from obscure cult figure to a lucrative brand name especially during the Halloween season. In 1986, she even hosted her own Halloween Special on MTV.

Coors smartly decided to hire Elvira to promote Coors Light over three Halloween seasons in the mid-to-late ’80s. The Elvira Coors Light campaign is said to be one of their most successful advertising efforts ever and certainly up to that time. At one point, Coors even declared itself “the official beer of Halloween”. And how can you argue when Elvira is saying it herself?

In addition to the television spots, Coors also made the clever decision to place life-size, cardboard stand-ups of the sexy and iconic Elvira next to their product in supermarkets and liquor stores. Who else didn’t want to take one home with them? There must have been many because many stores reported the Elvira stand-ups to be routinely stolen.

Not quite as clever (but maybe necessary ), you may notice that her trademark cleavage was somewhat surprisingly concealed for the Coors campaign. Her long black hair is usually laying across her chest just right. But she still brings the rest of her sexy vibe along with her snarky wit. Coors may have continued to air some of these commercials into the ’90s, but they originated in the ’80s.

I believe this to be the first Coors Light commercial featuring Elvira and I believe it to have first aired in 1986…

This one is from 1987 and features Elvira teasing a Coors Light sweepstakes…

This one is also promoting the sweepstakes but this time has the phone number to call which she teased in the first one…

Here is one more from that year this time featuring a helping hand…

This is the final year’s spot taking place at Mali-boo Beach where she is joined by many iconic Halloween monsters…

After her initial run with Coors, Elvira moved on to another kind of beer… root beer that is. Here is a bonus commercial from 1989 for Mug Root Beer which was giving away a Universal Studios prize and also smartly took advantage of the the cardboard cut-out in stores.

It appears that Coors brought Elvira back for some additional spots in the ’90s like this one from 1994…

Though not from the ’80s and not for any type of beer, here’s another bonus (estimated to be from 1996) featuring Elvira for Blockbuster…

Coors eventually moved on from Elvira — but Elvira stuck with Halloween. She has licensed her name or image to more than 500 products through the years and I can’t think of anyone more synonymous with Halloween (other than maybe The Great Pumpkin) than Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

There you go, another trip down memory lane in the form of TV commercials. Elvira went from a cult favorite to a pop culture icon during the ’80s decade. She certainly never failed to catch my attention back then (and ever since). And, yep, it all started in the ’80s.

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About OldSchool80s 26 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.