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A quarter-century ago, Maxwell House took a flyer with then-ad agency Ogilvy and Mather and cranked out a bunch of odd spots with TV actors waxing sentimental about its instant coffee product. The pitchman were a motley of personalities that included Justine Bateman* of Familiy Ties, Harry Anderson of Night Court and Bronson Pinchot, the most qualified to pitch coffee given his turn as "Serge" the gallerist who offers Eddie Murphy an espresso with a "lemon twist" in Beverly Hills Cop.

right|350pxSuffice it to say, the results were mixed. Though the advertisers attempted an off-the-cuff vibe, the bits were obviously scripted to play on the perceived character quirks of the actors (Bateman breezily assesses her appearances in tabloid headlines, Anderson a low-rent Ricky Jay and Pinchot is some order of urban cretin whose pad is furnished with lawn furniture). Maxwell house would end its thirty-something relationship with its advertising agency within the decade.

"...The loss of the approximately $50 million account is an especially bitter one for Ogilvy," the New York Times wrote in 1989 when the agency was dumped after precipitous decline in sales. "Maxwell House was one of the agency's oldest and most prestigious clients..." Sort of gives new meaning to "Good to the last drop."

  • Justine Bateman just appeared in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and the indie flick Lawless the others are MIA, or Maxwell Instant Anonymous.

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