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VIDEO: The story behind the 1986 Coke commercial filmed in Auburn

coke still
Joe Auburn.

In the summer of 1986, Coca-Cola started doing these college-themed commercials for that stuff that briefly masqueraded as Coke to run in local markets across the country, and they were shot at actual colleges (you can’t beat the real thing).

A Montgomery-based advertising firm got the nod for the two Alabama commercials—one for the good guys, one for the bad—and headed back to THE PLACE WHERE COKE WAS FIRST SOLD in late July. Auditions for authentic-looking, Coke-drinking Auburn students were held on the Haley Center concourse. Twenty Tigers made the cut.

Coke has been making college life worth while for Auburn students for forever. Here’s a Coke ad from the 1910 Glomerata. [via Michael Strickland.]
Filming began a week later. Everyone–a denim jacket-clad Joe Cool, frat brothers, a majorette, cowboys, comely coeds with tiger-paw cheeks, a guy who could kind of break dance– met at Toomer’s Corner at 8 a.m.

Tiger showed up, too. One scene in the 30-second spot shows Auburn’s eagle zeroing in on a New Coke up at the corner.

The Plainsman was all over it.
The Plainsman was all over it.

At 10 am, camera crews moved to Jordan-Hare to film a majorette catching the wave. A few hours later they staged a tailgate. At 5 p.m. it was back to a now closed-off Toomer’s Corner so Joe Auburn could toss a roll not at trees or the wires but at Toomer’s Drugs itself. And it wasn’t even during a celebration. Dude is wearing sunglasses and looking suspicious and just goes for it. That’s hardcore.

The following day they got Pat Dye to bend his Coke elbow up the Haley Center roof, an under-construction stadium behind him.

And then there was the song. Were you an Auburn fan in the 1980s? Did you watch TV? Did you sing “orange and blue waaaave” in the shower?

So did I.


(Can’t see the video? Try here.)

h/t Harrison Williams.

Related: Coke pays Auburn student to make a Vine video.

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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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