I don’t know about you, but commercials can often take me back to the ’80s 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 the Seagram’s Golden Wine Cooler campaign from mid-to-late ’80s which featured Bruce Willis.
I was a big fan of Bruce Willis because of his character “David Addison” on the television series, Moonlighting (1985-1989). The starring role, opposite Cybill Shepherd, helped to establish him as a comedic actor, with that show lasting five seasons. During the height of the show’s success, beverage maker Seagram hired Willis as the pitchman for their Golden Wine Cooler products. The memorable ad campaign reportedly paid the rising star between $5-$7 million over two years. Despite that big payday, Willis chose not renew his contract with the company when he decided to stop drinking alcohol in 1988.
This commercial campaign began in 1986 which obviously pre-dated his role as “John McClane” in 1988’s blockbuster Die Hard which really made Willis into a superstar. I was obviously not old enough to drink alcohol at the time of these commercials, but man did he make wine coolers seem cool. I was just 13 years old but would be singing “Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers. It’s wet and it’s dry!” just because it was a catchy tune. If I was able to drink at the time, I was sure that Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers would be the drink I would have to order.
Wine coolers are not exactly a common drink for most men, but Bruce Willis made it seem like the coolest thing in the world (at least that is how I remember it from back then). Here are several of those commercials which are a bit cringe-worthy looking back now. The first one is probably my favorite with him just singing on the front porch.
This one did not include singing, but does include actress Sharon Stone before she became a star.
This one also does not include any singing, but resembles much more his Moonlighting character.
This one takes place on a date…
This one takes place at a wedding…
In this spot, Bruce is singing again (sorta) and we get a little saxophone accompaniment.
This one has a song, but not sung by him and introduces a new tagline “This is where the fun starts.”
I believe this might be the final Seagram’s commercial to feature Willis and they went all out with much more production and even some dancing. It definitely has a Return of Bruno (his 1987 album) vibe towards the end and also definitely feels like an ’80s commercial.
There you go, a trip down memory lane in the form of TV commercials. Quite a bit different than Bartles & Jaymes with the two folksy old guys sitting on the porch trying to sell wine coolers. Certainly a little cringe-worthy and likely forgotten by many now, but Bruce Willis made it work. The man eventually starred in one of my favorite movies of all time (Pulp Fiction), one of my favorite action movies of all time (Die Hard) and one of my favorite television shows from the ’80s (Moonlighting). It is hard to believe he was pimping wine coolers, of all things, back in the day. He probably could have been trying to sell anything and it would have seemed cool. And, yep, it happened in the ’80s.