Posted on 17 Jun 2015 23:29
Did you know Joey Tribbiani was once in a Heinz ketchup commercial? That's right. And, he was also in a 7UP commercial. Matt LeBlanc, most famous for playing Joey on the mega-successful television show, Friends, and now finding hilarious success playing a fictional version of himself on the BBC/Showtime series Episodes, began his acting career in television commercials.
LeBlanc starred in a number of commercials in the late 1980s, to early 90's. He had a banner year for commercials in 1987, scoring role after role in national ads. Several of his commercials have to do with foods or beverages. He appeared in a quite famous Heinz ketchup commercial, a Cherry 7UP commercial, a Fruitful Bran commercial, a KFC commercial, and a Coca Cola commercial. Among his nonfood or beverage commercials was a Levis jeans ad.
Even as an actor on commercials, he was no stranger to success. The 1987 Heinz Ketchup commercial, in which he had the leading role, won Gold Lion Award at the 1987 Film Festival. The commercial, like many Heinz commercials, plays on the thickness of the ketchup, and how long it takes to get some out of the bottle (this was before squeeze bottles). It also tries to connect with young people, by connecting to their confidence and originality.
In the commercial, LeBlanc plays a guy who intends to buy a hot dog from a New York hot dog vendor, which he will, of course, top with Heinz ketchup, instead of any old ketchup the vendor might squeeze out of a plastic bottle. He devises a clever, funny, and cool solution to the Heinz viscosity problem.
He places an open bottle of Heinz atop the ledge of a brownstone, above the hot dog stand. He then runs downstairs, goes to the stand, and buys a hot dog. The vendor asks him if he wants ketchup, to which he replies "No thanks, I got it covered." He then holds the hot dog behind his back, and the ketchup, having just now managed to get itself out of the bottle, drips down onto the hot dog.
Of course, instead of a messy splotch of ketchup all over his hand, or the street, this results in a perfect pour. The pretty girl standing next to him is impressed. We are left wondering, of course, about the ketchup still messily dripping from the bottle to the street below!
Cherry 7UP Commerical with Matt Leblanc
The following year LeBlanc starred in a lesser known commercial for Cherry 7UP. This commercial aired during their "Cool in Pink" campaign. The commercial is done in black and white except for splashes of pink. Matt plays a guy wearing a pink shirt underneath a denim jacket, with the collar turned up, of course (and not a hair unaccounted for). He goes into a shop where the counter is being tended by a pretty young lady wearing a pink ribbon in her hair. He smiles, she smiles. He buys a six-pack of Cherry 7UP. It's a moment.
Then he walks outside and gives a can of 7UP to his cool and hip friends who are parked outside in their car, who of course would never drink anything else. Instead of driving off with them, he stays outside and drinks his Cherry 7UP, waiting for the girl to come out. She does. He gives her a 7UP. It's a beautiful thing.
Although he was the lead in these commercials, in his Fruitful Bran appearance, from 1987, he had a speaking role.
Matt LeBlanc's 1987 Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial was for their "chicken littles" promotion. Matt is just one of several youth's dancing and frolicking. You have to look closely to make him out in this appearance.
His 1987 appearance for Levis 501 jeans was also less noticeable. He is one of a group of guys wearing Levis 501 jeans, and leather jackets, who are standing around with some tires. He is also hard to spot in his 1987 appearance for Le Clic VHS tapes, a brand of "high resolution, studio quality" VHS cassettes. If you look very closely, you'll see him bobbing his head in the background.
LeBlanc's Coca Cola commercial came later, in 1990, during the "You Can't Beat the Feeling" campaign. This is the "Bus Stop" spot, where Matt plays a guy waiting for a bus at a remote desert bus stop located in front of a Coca Cola billboard featuring a big bottle of Coke. He's pouring sweat in the hot desert sun, leaning against the big sign, when he notices a drip on his shoulder. It's from the plastic mock-up of a Coke bottle above him, which he ends up, via his powers of imagination or something, making real enough to reach out and grab off the sign. Which he enjoys just as the bus finally rumbles down the road.