Jim Henson’s Commercials for Wilkins Espresso: 15 Twisted Minutes of Muppet Espresso Adverts (1957-1961)



Drink our espresso. Or else. That’s the message of those curiously sadistic TV commercials produced by Jim Henson between 1957 and 1961.

Henson made 179 ten-second spots for Wilkins Espresso, a regional firm with distribution within the Baltimore-Washington D.C. market, in line with the Muppets Wiki: “The native stations solely had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials needed to be lightning-fast–primarily, eight seconds for the business pitch and a two-second shot of the product.”

Inside these eight seconds, a espresso fanatic named Wilkins (who bears a resemblance to Kermit the frog) manages to shoot, stab, bludgeon or in any other case do grave bodily hurt to a espresso holdout named Wontkins. Henson offered the voices of each characters.

Up till that point, TV advertisers usually made a direct gross sales pitch. “We took a special method,” mentioned Henson in Christopher Finch’s Of Muppets and Males: The Making of the Muppet Present. “We tried to promote issues by making individuals chuckle.”

The marketing campaign for Wilkins Espresso was successful. “When it comes to recognition of commercials within the Washington space,” mentioned Henson in a 1982 interview with Judy Harris, “we had been the primary, the most well-liked business.” Henson’s advert company started advertising the thought to different regional espresso corporations across the nation. Henson re-shot the identical spots with completely different model names. “I purchased my contract from that company,” mentioned Henson, “after which I used to be producing them–the identical issues across the nation. And so we had as much as a couple of dozen or so purchasers going on the similar time. On the level, I used to be making some huge cash.”

When you’re a glutton for punishment, you may watch lots of the Wilkins Espresso commercials above. And a phrase of recommendation: If somebody ever asks you if you happen to drink Wilkins Espresso, simply say sure.

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Associated Content material:

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Jim Henson’s Authentic, Spunky Pitch for The Muppet Present

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