ELVIS IN ADVERTS
By Kevin of Stevenage
Elvis Presley is not just an icon he is The Icon. He has also been the most exploited artist with his own record company abandoning all
artist integrity for quick bucks. Elvis and his many images have also been used to their maximum to advertise almost everything you can
imagine. I thought it would be interesting to look at the many advertisements and promotions that have featured Elvis or his image in some
way. Due to the vastness of this area I admit I am beaten in trying to present a complete article on this subject. This is presented in no
particular date order of the adverts.
Ok let’s go back to the Sun days and Elvis is appearing on KWKH Louisiana Hayride, whose
advertising banner read “Be Happy Go Lucky” advertising Lucky Strike cigarettes on huge posters
behind the Blue Moon Boys. Elvis was the Lucky Strike Amateur Contestant.

Elvis was photographed in December 1956 to advertise the Hungerford Furniture Company range
but the photographs were never used and were only discovered after Elvis had died. Elvis and the
Hungerford representative, Bill Carrier Jr can be seen holding a drawer from a mahogany bureau.
The company had plans to sell a line of Elvis Presley furniture in the spring of 1957 but it never
materialized.

His new record company taped, for radio spots, Elvis promoting their record players in 1956. Elvis
explains the differences in the models and tells the listeners what free Elvis records come with
each model. You are treated to various snippets of Elvis’ latest hit records. RCA produced the
Elvis signature 7-EP-45 and the multi speed 7-EP-2 to commemorate their contract with Elvis and
the release of “Blue suede shoes”.

Elvis was also used to promote charities and the March Of Dimes campaigns of 1956 and 1957
benefited greatly from his appearances and taped radio spots, which were aired in January 1957.
The March of Dimes promoted polio vaccinations. He was photographed with Joanne Wilson, the
organisations’ poster girl. He was also photographed having his own polio vaccination.

The American Cancer Society also benefited from Elvis promoting their excellent work.

Elvis endorsed and advertised Southern Maid Donuts in radio spots on the Louisiana Hayride. He
sang the jingle “You can get ‘em piping hot after 4pm, you can ‘em piping hot, Southern Maid
Donuts hit the spot, you can get ‘em piping hot after 4pm”. The ad debuted on November 6 1954.

Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan shows and as such helped the shows sponsors by advertising
the Lincoln Mercury car range. Elvis thanked his fans for the Teddy bears they had sent him and
explained he wanted to buy them all a new Lincoln but they would not sell him that many.

When Elvis appeared in concert in 1957 advertisements for MGM’S Jailhouse Rock can be seen
behind him.

When Sony wanted to sell more TV sets they used a commercial on TV featuring Elvis look-alikes
and the song “Anyway you want me that’s how I will be”. It shows some bad look-alikes on inferior
TV sets and the ultimate Sony TV is supposed to be Elvis. Of course it wasn’t.

In the 1970s the drinks company Cresta used Elvis the singing Polar bear to sing “it’s frothy man”
using the same tune as  “Teddy bear”.

Pledge, the furniture polish, also aired a TV commercial using “Wooden Heart” to show care for
wood. “Cos I do have a wooden heart….”.

Evostick glue advertised using the song “Stuck on you”.

The BT advert utilised “Always on my mind” prompting RCA to release the song as a single and
you could purchase it with an alternative cover showing the BT campaign poster. In the 1970’s B.
T. used a singing camel to promote them. The song was “Are you lonesome tonight”.

Trophy Bitter put out a TV advert, which in part used  “All shook up”.

Timex sponsored the Frank Sinatra “Welcome Home Elvis” show in May 1960 in exchange for a
wealth of advertising.

Chicken of the sea sponsored the “ Aloha from Hawaii” TV broadcast in April 1973.

Singer sponsored the NBC TV special “Elvis”. Strangely their name did not appear on the RCA
soundtrack album. They had their own Elvis LP ” Singer presents Elvis sings Flaming star”

Shreddies cereal used a singing crow and the “Baby I don’t care” song was adapted to suit the
product being advertised.  “Shreddies I don’t care…”

Nike was responsible for “A little less conversation”. JXL made the music to fit the film that had
been made. There were several versions of the Nike TV commercial featuring famous footballers
and Elvis’ “new” song. Originally recorded for the movie “Live a little love a little” it was used to
great affect for the worldwide advertising campaign’s “secret tournament”. Interesting that Junkie X
L was asked by the Presley family to shorten his name to JXL. In an interview he said, ” They
thought Junkie was too much connected with Elvis, even though he was known to be the biggest
junkie on the planet….”

In pubs and clubs Elvis was used to promote Coca Cola with posters of Elvis holding the 1950’s
version of the Cola bottle. In 1992 Graceland recently had their very own design “Elvis bottle”.

The Clash not only copied Elvis first album design for their album “London Calling” but also used
Elvis to advertise it showing him holding their album.

American Idol in 2007 used Elvis to promote their show by showing a mock up of him and Celine
Dion singing, “If I can dream”.

One to One improved their sales with a series of ads in 1996, one of which was Kate Moss saying
her one to one had to be Elvis Presley. There was a stand in for much of the ad but some Elvis
footage was used from the Ed Sullivan show.

The Japanese ad for cup noodle is amusing where a Japanese gentleman is on stage with Elvis
during the Aloha show and Elvis even appears to take the cup of noodles from him. And when
Elvis is bending down to touch some fans’ outstretched hands the guy is getting involved there
also.

The Audi A4 ad is another funny ad where the Elvis fan’s car beaks down and he hitches a ride.
He sticks his Elvis wackel on the windscreen of the Audi but it does not wiggle, as the ride is so
smooth.

The Honda CR-V used Elvis’ remixed “Burning love” to advertise their car during the Super bowl
2007.

Back in 1970’s “R.Whites” made lemonade and their commercial showed a man sneaking
downstairs in the middle of the night to drink lemonade from the fridge and sings, in his best Elvis
voice, “I’m a secret lemonade drinker”.

More recently Elvis advertised radio 2 by introducing other stars that now appear to be part of his
Aloha show. There were the Sugar Babes, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Page, Noel Gallagher, Keith Moon,
Cheryl Crow and Stevie wonder.

The Elvis Pizza Hut ad shows Elvis twisting the night away at his local pizza hut and ordering pizza.
This is a pretty cool ad with Elvis superimposed from scenes from Girls Girls Girls.

Elvis is seen in his black leather singing the fifties dubbed  “All shook up” for the advert for the
NBA (National Basketball Association).

“It’s now or never” was adapted into” just one cornetto” and shows a couple heading towards each
other in Gondoliers and the man is singing and takes the ice cream off the lady when she was
expecting a kiss.

My personal favourite is the ad with the guy working at night in the gas station. Surrounded by
Elvis memorabilia and reading about Elvis still being alive, a car pulls in for gas. It is Elvis and
upon seeing him the attendant searches for and finds his camera and goes outside to shoot him
but as Elvis turns to him and looks straight into his lens, the batteries fail. Then Elvis drives off. He
should have used Energizer batteries in his camera. Very funny. Footage from Elvis in Aloha show
is used.

De Agostini recently used a TV commercial to promote their collection of Elvis Magazines.

RCA advertised their “Hitstory” CD on TV. The 3 CD set was made up of “30 no.1 hits” “2nd to
none” and “the story continues”.

Arcade advertised Elvis’ 40 Greatest, the double album issued to commemorate Elvis’ 40th
birthday in 1975.

In a TV commercial for Allstate Insurance Company Elvis live version of “ I can’t stop loving you” is
heard in the background.

Elvis inadvertently advertised Gatorade, the sports drink, whilst on stage even if he did refer to its
appearance as looking “Already used”. He also said it’s supposed to work twelve times faster than
water. Stokely Van-Camp, the company that owned Gatorade in the 1970’s, never picked up on
Elvis’ endorsement of their product

Also on stage in 1974 Elvis advertised the O’Grady book. John O’Grady was a private investigator
that played an important role in Elvis’ paternity suit from Patricia Parker. O’Grady wisely covered
the story in his book and Elvis read from the book in Vegas 1974.

In the army whilst in Germany Elvis was still advertising and this time it was BMW. He was seen in
the Isetta Bubble car and leased a BMW sports car, which was white when it left the showroom and
unfortunately sprayed red by the time they got it back. Elvis had to pay for it to be changed to its
original colour. Ironically Elvis bought Colonel Parker an Isetta Bubble car for Christmas in 1957.

Russell Stover has used various images and paintings of Elvis to sell its tins of chocolate and
Christmas candy. There has been Graceland style tin, heart shaped tins and rectangle tins.

The city of Memphis got in on the Elvis promotion when it mocked up Elvis driving Dolly Parton in
his 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Racer from “Clambake”.

One of the most successful examples of advertising is of course was the American postal service
when it produced the Elvis stamp in 1993. It was the biggest selling commemorative stamp in U.S.
history. 500 million stamps were printed and sold.

The Kui Lee Cancer fund of course was advertised in the Aloha show from which the Colonel and
Elvis gave over all the proceeds from the concert performance and merchandise sales. Elvis and
the colonel had already kicked off the fund raising by donating $1000 for the local charity. After
the show Elvis was presented with the Kui Lee pendant as a thank you from the charity.

The USS Arizona memorial fund and the Pacific war memorial commission were promoted by the
Hawaii concert in 1961. In 1960 the fund was still short of its $500,000 target and Colonel Parker
offered Elvis to do a benefit concert in Hawaii to raise money for the memorial. The concert was
arranged so it coincided with Elvis’ location shooting for “Blue Hawaii”.

Friend diamond Joe Esposito and Dr Nick used Elvis name to promote their new venture “Presley
Center Courts”. Elvis withdrew his interest after peeping back into the reality world briefly and
realised how much money was required for the venture. Joe Esposito, best man at Elvis’ wedding,
and Dr Nick, his doctor, had a lawsuit filed on Elvis for breach of contract and damages. After they
withdrew from the proceedings it was taken up by Mike McMahon, the president of “Center Courts
Inc”, which had superseded “Presley Center Courts”.