Tags: Hollywood | joan crawford | tv | ads | actress | movies

Joan Crawford on Ads: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 07:10 AM

In 1955, Joan Crawford married Pepsi executive Alfred Steele and quickly became the celebrity spokeswoman for the iconic brand, using her star power to promote the beverage through ads and appearances. She once estimated that she traveled over 100,000 miles for the company, according to “The Joan Crawford Handbook” written by Emily Smith. Crawford was apparently forced to retire from the board in 1973, four years before her death in 1977.

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Here are ways that Joan Crawford’s ads and involvement with Pepsi helped elevate the brand with her movie star attraction.

Spokeswoman

In her obituary in The New York Times, Peter B. Flint describes her role for Pepsi as a “representative-in-glamour” for the company. Crawford was often snapped drinking the beverage and went to scores of events promoting the brand, including “flying to gala openings of new bottling plants and conventions and serving as hostess of parties on their trips, as well as in their spacious East Side Manhattan penthouse.”

When she traveled, she typically was accompanied by “large entourages and at least 15 trunks and suitcases for wardrobe of up to 10 costume changes a day.” Crawford was also keen on product placement, vying for Pepsi trucks, bottles and signs to be displayed in her films and on hand during her press junkets.

Board of Directors

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Soon after her husband, who was the president and CEO, passed away, Crawford was named to the board of directors as the first woman director on the company’s board. On the Leader Distribution Systems, Inc. website, which hosts a history of Pepsi-Cola timeline on their site, Crawford’s role is described as “instrumental in promoting the companies line.”

Print and TV Ads

Crawford did several print TV commercials for the brand as well, with big smiles and her trademark eyebrows. Yet, before her allegiance in the 1950s to her husband and simultaneously, Pepsi, one of her ads for Royal Crown Cola in 1945 misspelled the name of her iconic movie, “Mildred Pierce,” as “Mildred Pearce” and claimed that Crawford said of the competing beverage, “It really tastes the best!”

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In 1955, Joan Crawford married Pepsi executive Alfred Steele and quickly became the celebrity spokeswoman for the iconic brand, using her star power to promote the beverage through ads and appearances.
joan crawford, tv, ads, actress, movies
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2015-10-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 07:10 AM
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