Old Coca-Cola Ads Shown on Australian TV

All the best (and old-school) Aussie Coca-Cola ads.

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old coca-cola ads

Old Australian Coca-Cola Ads

There are few brands that are as synonymous with Pop Culture as Coca-Cola.

As a brand, Coke is an absolute marketing juggernaut. A juggernaut that has released ad after ad after ad with the purpose of getting us to subconsciously associate the term “soft-drink” or “soda” with coke and with only coke.

The 80s and 90s received an absolute paddling of Coca-Cola advertisements. Some that were memorable, others that weren’t. In this article I’m going to take you through each and every Coca-Cola advertisement that was shown on Australian television from the early 80s until the mid 2010s.

Let me know if you recognise any of these ads.

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Coke advertisements from the 80s until the early 2010s

1. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1983

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1983 - featuring Larger than Life Coke Cans
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1983 – featuring Larger than Life Coke Cans

Back in 1983, Coca-Cola delivered us a feel good happy singalong with endless positive advertising copy that programmed us into buying as much coke as possible. Here’s the lyrics to that old diddy:

On the beach and in the sun
the real thing is so much fun
all the times in your life
and the things that you do – who is there for you?
Coke is it when you want to feel refreshed
When you’re thirsty for the best
Coke is it
The biggest taste you’ll ever get
Coke is it
With the things that you do
you know that it’s true
that you want something there
that the Coke to share
the feeling is great
when you get that taste
Coke is it
when you want to feel refreshed
Coke is it

The song and lyrics get repeated for a good 90 seconds but you get the idea.

2. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1985

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1985
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1985

Coke advertising executives really wanted to tap into the punk/new-wave high of the 80s in their 1985 ad campaign. So much so that the whole premise of the advertisement was a band performing a live song ending on the lyrics:

It’s a hit
It’s a Coke
Coke is it!

Forging the sub-conscious link in our minds that Coke is as much a hit as the new wave craze of the mid 80s.

3. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1986

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1986
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1986

Just a year later, Coke wanted to establish itself as a rule-breaker. In the Coke ad of 1986 you see a film noir setting of corporate slaves working hard for the man and coke being the one respite. The one rule breaker that set the standard of different and exceptional.

Unfortunately, the best they could with the 1986 jingle is simply record a new version of the 1985 “Coke Is It” jingle.

4. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1987

Old Coke Ad from 1987
Old Coke Ad from 1987

Strangely, the 1987 Coca-Cola ad used imagery of surfing and travelling on an old sailing ship reminiscent of colonial era Britain. Such a bizarre story is told here.

5. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1988

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1988
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1988

Coke’s 1988 ad really played around with the overt sexualisation of attractive people on the beach. Not to mention the tacky view of an aeroplane painting the word “Thirsty?” in the sky to the song lyric “something is coming your way” and then the beach goers running towards the edge of the water with the towels, holding them high above their heads to spell the word “Coke.”

The ad ends with the aeroplane crew dumping a crate of coke into the ocean and then the beach goers break formation to run towards the coke crate to claim their soft drink prize. Prompting a coke party and the words on the screen “You can’t beat the feeling.”

6. Another Coca-Cola Ad of 1988

Another Old Coke Ad from 1988
Another Old Coke Ad from 1988

Nothing screams Coke as much as a formal dinner party setting. At least that’s the bold claim this ad tried (unsuccessfully) to make. Sitting down for a meal with his date, the character in this ad sees a waiter heading into the kitchen with some cans of coke on his wait tray.

Stumbling into the kitchen area our protagonist makes the discovery that the kitchen and wait staff are having a coke party. Pulling off some insane 80s dance move, the protagonist starts dancing with him only for his date to walk in on them. So he tosses her a can to break open as the words “You can’t beat the feeling!” appear on screen.

7. Another Coca-Cola Ad of 1988

Another Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1988
Another Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1988

Coke really looked to take advantage of the old advertising “sex sells” in this ad. There are so many sweaty bodies in this ad that I might take a shower afterwards. But hey, at least the original song “Sounds of Then” by Ganggajang is used in the final cut.

8. John Farnham’s Coca-Cola Ad of 1988

John Farnham's Coke Ad of 1988
John Farnham’s Coke Ad of 1988

Australian coke executives really capitalised on the smash hit sensation of John Farnham. So much that this ad is basically just John Farnham Backstage on Tour, guest starring random sips out of Coke cans by Farnsie. Then at the end Farnsie is led on to a stage with a massive coke backdrop and the words “Coke Is It.” Rehashing the catch phrase from the 1983 ad we covered earlier.

9. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1991

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1991 - featuring "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1991 – featuring “I Get Around” by The Beach Boys

Who would’ve thought that The Beach Boys “I Get Around” could have a second life in 1991? This coke ad was pure exploitation of having fun at the beach in summer. With a montage of beach goers from beginning to end. Here’s a coke that was really easy to forget but with a feeling that’ll leave you longing for your youth.

10. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1994

Old Coke Ad from 1994
Old Coke Ad from 1994

Sometimes the simplest ideas make the best ads although I’m not sure if the Coke Ad of 1994 would qualify as the best ad to ever grace our TV screens. This ad used the classic coca-cola logo stamped on a red circle (like the top of the bottle caps) and had a changing background.

Then the Coca-Cola logo faded out allowing a song that carried us through the ad, with the lyrics:

Whenever there’s a pool
there’s always a flirt
Whenever there is school
there will always be homework
Whenever there’s a beat
there’s always a drum
Whenever there’s fun
there’s always Coca-Cola

I’m not sure we ever needed a short RnB Coca-Cola jingle but don’t worry because it doesn’t stop there:

The stars will always shine
the birds will always sing
As long as there is thirst
there’s always the real thing
Coca-Cola always the one
Whenever there is fun
there’s aways Coca-Cola

Trust me when I say there was nothing more 90s than this ad.

11. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1996

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1996
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 1996

I remember this ad as a kid. Only because this Christmas themed ad starring cartoon elves promised a $5000 shopping spree at Santa’s New York Workshop. I’m sure New York has more than one toy workshop. But then just like every other competition promoted by a major label – no one ever knew who the winner was.

Great ad but I’m pretty sure it was a scam!

12. The Coca-Cola Ad of 1998

Old Coke Ad from 1998 - featuring "I've Done All the Dumb Things" by Paul Kelly
Old Coke Ad from 1998 – featuring “I’ve Done All the Dumb Things” by Paul Kelly

Does it get anymore Australian than a bunch of blokes drinking Coca-Cola while fully clothed in hawaiian shirts riding boogie boards down the sand dunes? Probably not. But then with Paul Kelly’s “I’ve Done All the Dumb Things” as the jingle – it’s one of those ads that would only make sense to Aussies who lived in the 90s.

13. The Coca-Cola Ad of 2000

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 2000
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 2000

This is where the quality of Coke ads starting getting a little bit better. Simplicity is king here as the Coke ad of 2000 involved a lot of running to the beach, a lot of playing in the sun and a lot of spilling coke everywhere. It was also the first ad to be a bit more age inclusive as Coca Cola started to realise that people of all ages were drinking their soft drink in droves.

White people, though. Because Coke didn’t dare be race inclusive in the early 2000s.

FUN FACT: Coke ran two additional ads in the year 2000, one which was just a remix of what we’ve mentioned except for hot people and then another with a Sydney Olympics theme. Both of which had the same look and feel of the main 2000 ad.

14. The Coca-Cola Ad of 2009

Old Coke Ad from 2009
Old Coke Ad from 2009

I’m really not sure what happened between 2000 and 2009 but I’m fairly sure that period of time was the Coke execs serving a bunch of really short remix ads. However, 2009 is where they really tapped into the young adult market by hiring a group of teens who looked like they were extras from Home and Away.

The ad involved a giant translucent coke bottle which propelled them in the air and into the ocean to the tune of a feel good alt-rock ballad. Interestingly, this was one of the first coke ads to bare the slogan “open happiness.”

15. The Coca-Cola Ad of 2011

Old Coca-Cola Ad from 2011 - featuring Santa
Old Coca-Cola Ad from 2011 – featuring Santa

This ad was puzzling as it featured Santa and Coke trucks delivering goods to Australia (supposedly). Red flag for Aussie viewers as it doesn’t snow here in December. Anyway, it’s a great feel good ad to get you in the holiday spirit.

16. The Coca-Cola Ad of 2012

Old Coke Ad from 2012 - featuring Athletes
Old Coke Ad from 2012 – featuring Athletes

Finishing up this list is the Coca-Cola Ad of 2012 which celebrated the 2012 London Olympics in a concert style fashion starring several well-known olympians showing off their skills in less than 30 secs. With the overall predominant theme being the colour red – at this point are we surprised?

What did you think of these Old Coca-Cola Ads?

Did any of them make you nostalgic for your youth?
Let us know on social media.

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