Sunday, March 10, 2013


During the month of March, my posts focus on crushes. A few I should never admit, but one must be daring as a writer—even while being frivolous!


Sorry, Pepsi. I betrayed you. Twice.

The first time happened so long ago, you probably don’t remember. I mean, who can be held accountable for what they did in the ‘70s? Not quite the ‘60s, but still...

This moment of cleansing feels good. It needed to happen. You see, I have always had a clear preference for Pepsi. Not sure why, but the beverage always satisfied me. That was even confirmed by a couple of official Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests and multiple replications at parties. (Okay, full disclosure: my ‘70s weren’t so wild.)

It was Pepsi every time.

And yet I strayed. For a couple of years (yes, the affair dragged on), I was drawn to something purportedly peppier. At some point, we all dream of being with a doctor. I fell for Dr. Pepper.

I should have known better. In truth, the cola always tasted like they’d accidentally poured in a resistant child’s cherry-flavored cough syrup. Perhaps Dr. Pepper was that devious. But really, my soda tryst had nothing to do with the can’s contents. I was taken by the pitch person: David Naughton. Sigh. Such an adorable singer/dancer! Take a look at this commercial: dear Davy doesn’t appear until twenty-two seconds in (such a waste!), but it’s got Jimmie “ J.J.” Walker and roller skates thrown in to encapsulate a perfect ‘70s moment.

Not gay enough you say? Well, I had no gaydar back then. I’d like to think a struggling Hugh Jackman might have been the Dr. Pepper guy had he been born a generation earlier. And David Naughton did have a catchy disco credit as well. (If you've still got that Pepper jingle jangling in your head, watch this ad which includes a toast to San Fran.)

I totally ended my relationship with Dr. Pepper right about the time the spokesperson became a werewolf.  Luckily, Pepsi took me back. (Corporate entities have a different morality, you know.) I remained loyal until 1994 when I suffered another period of indiscretion.

I wanted to get Lucky. Didn’t we all? Like everyone else, I adored the iconic commercial spokesperson of the ‘80s, but I didn’t feel any bubbly excitement. (Thank goodness.) At long last, Lucky Vanous came along. Suddenly, 11:30 became my favorite time of day. I remember well this pre-Internet time. I lived with two gay roommates in L.A., although the duplex unit often housed boyfriends and between-apartment gay friends. The television always seemed to be on. Whenever someone yelled, “Diet Coke”, we’d scramble down the stairs, all of us soda-sanctioned Peeping Toms. No need to venture to West Hollywood to ogle a coke-fueled go-go boy. The Diet Coke Guy did it.

Sadly, even the best campaigns must end.

I did return once again to Pepsi, but things were never the same between us. My allegiance has waned, but not on account of a hunky pitch person. Polar bears are cute but I don’t need to dash to the TV or play YouTube clips on repeat to remember a manipulated “Ahh” moment. Instead, I have been sucked in by the Starbucks routine.

Message to coffee competitors: hire this guy or that guy if you want a spike in sales. I may still have wandering taste buds.


Anonymous said...

Im old enough to remember David Naught on too.I wasn't out to myself then but in retrospect knew something was up both figuratively and literally. He later did a tune called Making it which was a pop song off the bubble gum light variety. Don't forget the BradyBunch's Mike Look inland in Kool-Aid ads.

Rural Gay said...

Hi Wordschat,
I don't remember the Brady Bunch guy's ad. I think I had a bigger thing for Greg Brady,...maybe even Robert Reed. Heck, maybe even poor Jan!

I boogied to "Makin' It" a few times this weekend while writing the post. Still catchy!