Champagne Wishes

Take this filth and give it to the dog!

Take this filth and give it to the dog!

tuesday tvI like to talk about my favorite ad campaigns from the past that kinda slipped through the cracks of people’s memories on Retro Ad Tuesdays.  The internet generally has a better memory than most people do because of the vast warehouse it has become of information from all subjects and all eras.  But there are times when even the internet seems to have a bad case of dementia, and in particular YouTube… where you can find music clips from just about every video game ever made, episodes of TV shows that the networks would take down if they knew about them, and some of the stupidest videos you can ever imagine made by people who suffer from felony boredom.

I should talk...

I should talk…

I had long planned what my featured commercial for the NYE edition of Retro Ad Tuesday would be, the 1995 ad for Korbel sparkling wine champagne in their famous “The Champagne’s Not Korbel!” campaign that featured the year-end countdown in Times Square.  But I never actually checked YouTube to make sure the video for it was there…  I mean, how could it not be?  That delightful campaign was well loved and much parodied in the 90’s, and surely YT was littered with ads from its reign on the airwaves…

Nothing here but us possums!

Nothing here but us possums!

Imagine my utter shock when I not only didn’t find the New Years Eve Korbel ad, but really ANY ads from the heart of their ‘The Champagne’s Not Korbel!” era!  I did find just one, which gives the basic formula behind each of the commercials Korbel aired in this campaign I loved so much…

At the beginning of each ad, you saw people celebrating with champagne… having a good old time… whether it be at a wedding, in Times Square, in the gutter, wherever people would normally drink champagne.  In the midst of the good times, someone would note rather starkly that the champagne was not Korbel… and that’s when things would all totally go to hell.  In the ad above, the best man goes from making a wonderful toast to the couple, to slandering them for being so cheap and tasteless in their choice of alcohol for the big day.  There was even one spot where some guy about to get lucky drinks the champagne out of his girlfriend’s shoe, only to spit it out when he finds out the champagne wasn’t Korbel!

That's a good way to get athlete's mouth, dumbass...

That’s a good way to get athlete’s mouth, dumbass…

Shouting out that the champagne was not Korbel was the surefire way to get your ass kicked be the life of the party back in the mid 90’s.  With Bartles & Jaymes and Orson Welles out of the picture, Korbel undoubtedly had the best ads for non-beer alcohol sector on TV in the entire Clinton decade.  But either not enough VCR’s were recording them, or there’s a conspiracy afoot to keep the cork on anyone ever thinking about this campaign again.

We must keep Zima on top as the best 90's drink!!!

We must keep Zima on top as the best 90’s drink!!!

So back to the New Years Eve commercial… it starts with stock crowd shots from a past Times Square celebration.  Everyone is counting down to the big ball drop… but when they get towards the end, someone shouts out the magic words!

The champagne's not Korbel!!!  We must fire the butler!

The champagne’s not Korbel!!! We must fire the butler!

And guess what happens…. instead of counting down, the crowd starts counting up!!!  And the ball… it starts going back up the pole!  Absolutely classic!!!  An ingenious idea!!!

And I had thought of it first….

lawyer squirrel

Someone call my attorney!

Back in the summer of 1994, with nothing to keep myself occupied since I was such a social outcast, I began writing a bunch of commercial parodies.  I always wrote parodies of pop culture stuff when I was bored, but this time I was actually writing to film them.  I grabbed the camcorder (one of those clunky models that were popular 20 years ago) and hired the only three actresses I could find (my three youngest sisters), and we had a ball recording all of these corny ads I came up with.  It’s just possible that VHS tape still exists at my parents’ house too, and if it does, it is video proof that I thought up of the entire concept of that Korbel ad a full year and a half before they began airing it in 1995!  Complete down to the count-up and the ball (A whiffle ball on a string with 1994 written on it in marker) being pulled back up the laundry line pole by an off camera sister.

Damn you Korbel!!!!

Take THAT, you no good sparkling wine!!!

Take THAT, you no good sparkling wine!!!

Oh well, that’s the way it goes.  No matter how neat of an idea you think you may have, someone’s probably already thought of it as well, or will cash in on it while you sit on your ass and shoot commercials with your sisters.  So on this lovely final day of 2013, The Nest would like to pop open the bubbly and give a hearty toast to the champagne of sparkling wines, Korbel.  Thank you for your entertaining and hilarious commercials, and….

champagne not korbel

Errrrr, nevermind.  There will be no toasting today!  Good night everybody…

Evil Squirrel’s Nest signing off for 2013!  Have a Happy New Year everyone!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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25 Responses to Champagne Wishes

  1. Jessie says:

    Happy New Year!!! I was happy to see that no pigladillos were harmed in this post. 😀

  2. grandmalin says:

    Happy New Year! That’s the best cat face I’ve seen all year. lol

  3. The Cutter says:

    It ain’t Korbel? Is it still free? yes? Okay, we’re good then.

  4. merbear74 says:

    Why do not I remember that ad? WTF? I have been very suprised not to find what I was looking for…not much Lance-a-Lot Link stuff on YouTube. All though it’s been said, many times, many ways….Happy New Year!

    • Wow, Lancelot Link! Secret Chimp! I remember that got a brief spot in Nickelodeon’s lineup back in the day, otherwise I would have never heard of it…

      Happy Nude Year!!! 🙂

      • merbear74 says:

        Loved that show, it was so very weird. They fed them peanut butter to make it look like they were talking.

        Maybe later!

  5. gentlestitches says:

    Loved the kitty! 🙂

  6. Chinese food for us and greenies for the furry folk. And to you, a glorious New Year!

  7. draliman says:

    Have a Happy New Year and best wishes to all the furries at the Nest or 2014!
    (I’ve never heard of Korbel sparkling wine, sorry – of course, as far as Champagne goes I live a lot closer to France than California, which is where the interwebs informs me Korbel is from!)

    • draliman says:

      (or = for, obviously)

    • Thank you! I guess Korbel didn’t have that international appeal… or the French banded together to keep it off the international market!

      • draliman says:

        Yes, especially if Korbel used the word “Champagne”, which is protected by law for sparkling wine produced in the French region of the same name in most countries, but in the US only for sparkling wines post-2006 (thanks Wiki), which probably annoyed the French as Korbel is probably exempt within the US 🙂

      • Interesting! That may even explain why the ad campaign was discontinued (and possibly even why the old ads are so hard to find… because they’ve been removed!)

  8. reocochran says:

    I learn so many interesting and somewhat useful bits of information here! Ha ha! Thanks for being around my posts, glad that I have you to entertain me! Smiles, Robin

  9. Dylan Dailey says:

    Whether its Korbel or not is all the same to me! I think champagne is disgusting. Plus you get the headache without the good part of the buzz. Also, you have to suck down pretty much the whole bottle to get drunk, and that makes you sick ‘cos of the nasty taste. Okay, I’m done…

    • I think champagne is more about putting on a pretty show coming out of the bottle than the taste, which made the Korbel ads kinda stupid. More of it ends up on the ceiling and the floor than in people’s mouths. That’s fine by me, because I don’t drink anyway….

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