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Gold Blend/Taster's Choice

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Television commercials for Nestle instant coffees, starring Anthony Head and Sharon Maughan. In the U.K., the ads were for Gold Blend and ran for twelve episodes, from 1987 to 1993. In the U.S., they advertised Taster's Choice (thirteen episodes), and ran from 1990 to 1997.

Video and Book: The first eleven Gold Blend episodes were released as a free promotional video, Love Over Gold in 1993. A novelization by the same title, written by mystery writer Susan Moody under the pseudonym Susannah James, reached the Sunday Times (London) paperback fiction best-seller list that year. (About the book: Press Association News, "Love at last for coffee's golden couple." February 8, 1993, by Teilo Colley. (text)). A "branded CD of love songs" also became a best-seller.

The characters: What were the character's names? Good question. In the novel, their names are Matthew Prescott and Alexandra Maitland. In the American ads, his name is Michael. The press clippings refer to them as Tony and Sharon. In the novel and the British ads, he's a modern art dealer. In the novel, she's a features editor at a "glossy London monthly magazine."

"At an advertising seminar last month entitled "Campaign Strategies: How Memorable Ads Are Made" at the Museum of Broadcasting, [...] compared Sharon and Tony with Tracy and Hepburn." (NYT, 11/22/92)

In February 1998, Taster's Choice ran a contest: Should she end up with Michael or with her son's father? The results were announced in the March 3, 1998, Soap Opera Digest: Voters preferred Michael. "Rumor has it that they've eloped, and Michael is constantly showering her with affection, flowers and, of course, Taster's Choice."

Articles

  • The Financial Post (Toronto), "New Woman has long way to go in Britain." August 5, 1988, by Rob McQueen. (text)
  • New York Times, "Soap Opera From Britain Fans Taster's Choice Flame." March 19, 1991, by Michael Lev. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "A brewing romance: Sexy duo perks up Taster's Choice ads." April 8, 1991, by Judann Dagnoli & Elena Bowes. (text)
  • Washington Post, "Ads With Instant Intrigue. For Taster's Choice, the 45-Second Soap Opera." April 10, 1991, by Paula Span. (text)
  • Adweek, "Taster's Choice delivers a welcomed coffee ad break." May 6, 1991, by Barbara Lippert. (text)
  • People, "Sex by the cupful; Sharon Maughan and Tony Head keep their coffee-ad serial simmering." May 20, 1991, by Tim Allis. (text)
  • Washington Post, John Carmody's TV column. July 1, 1991, by John Carmody. Quote: "Best miniseries of the year: those two 45-second Taster's Choice commercials starring Sharon Maughan and Tony Head ... "
  • Advertising Age, September 16, 1991, "The couple: part III," by Cleveland Horton.
  • New York, "Tune in Tomorrow." October 28, 1991, by Bernice Kanner. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "Nestle, ABC strike Taster's Choice deal." (ABC to be lead network for the "Sharon and Tony" coffee commercials). February 3, 1992, by Bradley Johnson and Joe Mandese. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "Romance warms: Taster's Choice duo share coffee. February 24, 1992, by Bradley Johnson.
  • Ottawa Citizen, "Romantic coffee commercial keeps 'em tuned in for more." March 20, 1992, by Dan Taylor (Santa Rosa Press Democrat). (text)
  • Advertising Age, "Taster's Choice says play it again." April 13, 1992, by Bradley Johnson and Alison Fahey. (text)
  • Adweek, "Caffeinus interruptus." April 20, 1992, by Barbara Lippert. (text)
  • Ottawa Citizen, "Instant attraction; Taster's Choice pair captivate TV viewers with uncontrollable desire - for coffee." April 28, 1992, by Chris Cobb. (text)
  • Advertising Age, June 1, 1992.
  • Press Association News, "Trouble brewing in the coffee opera." August 10, 1992, by David Simpson. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "What's next? A brew-haha?" September 14, 1992, by Bradley Johnson. (text)
  • Marketing, "The continuing saga of the coffee commercial." (fictitious script--humor). September 14, 1992, by Jamie Wayne.
  • Gannett News Service, "Sharing romance, coffee." November 5, 1992, by Fannie Weinstein, The Detroit News. (text)
  • New York Times, "Steamy TV: Coffee Opera--The episodes are shorter on the Taster's Choice serial than on the daytime soaps, but they're just as long on suspense." November 22, 1992, by Janet Maslin. (text)
  • Toronto Star, "How long can this go on?" December 4, 1992, by Rose DeWolf. (text)
  • Press Association News, "Coffee romance reaches the boil." December 7, 1992, by John von Radowitz. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "Coffee couple's story to percolate in book." December 14, 1992, by Elena Bowes. (text)
  • Des Moines Register, "The never-ending story: Will they or won't they?" January 17, 1993, by Rose DeWolf. (text)
  • Press Association News, "Coffee romance book has instant appeal ." February 2, 1993, by Martina Devlin. (text)
  • Press Association News, "Love at last for coffee's golden couple." February 8, 1993, by Teilo Colley. About the book. (text)
  • New York Times, "Coffee Romance Leads to a Hit Book." February 22, 1993, by Suzanne Cassidy. (text)
  • The Gazette (Montreal), "Coffee aficionados' TV potboiler steams up." May 5, 1993, by Chris Cobb. (text)
  • Atlanta Journal and Constitution, ""Grounds for Romance A man, a woman, a cup of coffee - what could be more stimulating?" May 3, 1993, by Jeffry Scott. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "Ad Review: One more cup of coffee for that perky couple." July 26, 1993, by Bob Garfield. (text)
  • Advertising Age, "New coffee romance; same old problem." November 29, 1993, by Laurel Wentz. (text)
  • Los Angeles Times, "The Buzz on Coffee Talk. Taster's Choice gimmick of a continuing commercial works." January 2,1994, by Ted Johnson. (text)
  • New York, (preview of Fall 1994 advertising campaigns). September 12, 1994, by Richard Morgan.
  • Advertising Age, "Nestle touting its instant coffees." November 3, 1997, by Louise Kramer and Alice Cuneo. (text)
  • The Record (Bergen County, NJ), "You Decide Over a Cup of Their Coffee." December 4, 1997, by Rose DeWolf (text)
  • Houston Chronicle, "Viewers vote for their 'choice.' Neighbor in TV coffee commercials wins battle for heroine's heart ." February 12, 1998, by Rose DeWolf. (text)
  • Soap Opera Digest, "Coffee Talk--Anthony Stewart Head Spills the Beans About Taster's Choice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer." March 3, 1998, by William Keck. (text)
  • The Guardian, "A drama to the last drop. The curtain is coming down on one of Britain's longest-running campaigns." June 15, 1998, by Michelle Martin. (text) New
  • Asbury Park Press (Neptune, NJ.), Sunday, August 29, 1999, by Trouble Shooter. (text)

    Pictures

  • Bentley's Bedlam: Untitled Gallery.
  • WorstWitch.

    Sources

  • Biography from ASH press kit, 1998


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    Page created August 1998; last updated April 1, 2001. Original material Betsy Vera (bentley@umich.edu). This website is for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to infringe on copyrights held by others.

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