(Added photo Wilkins Coffee can)
(Red Diamond Coffee)
 
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In 1957, [[Jim Henson]] was approached by a [[Washington, D.C.]] coffee company to produce commercials for '''Wilkins Coffee'''''.'' The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast—essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.
 
In 1957, [[Jim Henson]] was approached by a [[Washington, D.C.]] coffee company to produce commercials for '''Wilkins Coffee'''''.'' The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast—essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.
   
From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea. The ads were initially filmed at Rodel Studios in Washington D.C.<ref>''[[Jim Henson: The Biography]]'' by Brian Jay Jones (page 107)</ref> The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s.
+
From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea. The ads were initially filmed at Rodel Studios in Washington D.C.<ref>''[[Jim Henson: The Biography]]'' by Brian Jay Jones (page 107)</ref> The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s. The “Cannon” spot was one of his most popular and produced for at least 14 clients, such as Kraml Dairy, Red Diamond, Community, Nash's, and more.
   
 
The ads starred the cheerful [[Wilkins]], who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy [[Wontkins]], who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads—blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among many other violent acts.
 
The ads starred the cheerful [[Wilkins]], who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy [[Wontkins]], who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads—blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among many other violent acts.
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==Commercials==
 
==Commercials==
These are Henson's official titles for the commercials. <ref name="Falk" />
+
These are Henson's official titles for the commercials.<ref name="Falk" />
<br clear="all" />
+
{{br}}
<gallery widths="145" spacing="small" orientation="landscape" position="center" captionalign="center">
+
<gallery widths="145" spacing="small" orientation="landscape">
 
Image:Wilkins$65.jpg|{{GNH|$65}}
 
Image:Wilkins$65.jpg|{{GNH|$65}}
 
Image:Wilkins80dayswithwilkins.jpg|{{GNH|80 Days with Wilkins}}
 
Image:Wilkins80dayswithwilkins.jpg|{{GNH|80 Days with Wilkins}}
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Image:Wilkinsbaseball.jpg|{{GNH|[[Baseball]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsbaseball.jpg|{{GNH|[[Baseball]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsbell.jpg|{{GNH|Bell}}
 
Image:Wilkinsbell.jpg|{{GNH|Bell}}
  +
Image:S.W.I.N.G.jpg|{{GNH|Beatnik}}
  +
Image:WilkinsBestCoffeeIs....jpg|{{GNH|Best Coffee Is...}}
  +
Wilkins-Biplane.jpg|{{GNH|Biplane}}
 
Image:Wilkinsblowup.jpg|{{GNH|Blow Up}}
 
Image:Wilkinsblowup.jpg|{{GNH|Blow Up}}
 
Image:Wilkinsbostonteaparty1.jpg|{{GNH|Boston Tea Party}}
 
Image:Wilkinsbostonteaparty1.jpg|{{GNH|Boston Tea Party}}
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Image:Wilkinscannon.jpg|{{GNH|Cannon}}
 
Image:Wilkinscannon.jpg|{{GNH|Cannon}}
 
Image:Wilkins_Coffee2.jpg|{{GNH|Car Salesman}}
 
Image:Wilkins_Coffee2.jpg|{{GNH|Car Salesman}}
  +
Image:Wilkins75cents.png|{{GNH|Cash Register}}
 
Image:Wilkinscheepcheep.jpg|{{GNH|Cheep Cheep}}
 
Image:Wilkinscheepcheep.jpg|{{GNH|Cheep Cheep}}
 
Image:Wilkinsclimbingtree.jpg|{{GNH|Climbing Tree}}
 
Image:Wilkinsclimbingtree.jpg|{{GNH|Climbing Tree}}
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Image:Wilkinsconvincingmachine.jpg|{{GNH|Convincing Machine}}
 
Image:Wilkinsconvincingmachine.jpg|{{GNH|Convincing Machine}}
 
Image:Wilkinscrystalball.jpg|{{GNH|Crystal Ball}}
 
Image:Wilkinscrystalball.jpg|{{GNH|Crystal Ball}}
  +
Image:Wilkins Coffee Is The Best You Can Buy.jpg|{{GNH|Cut the Kidding}}
 
Image:Wilkinscutup.jpg|{{GNH|Cut Up}}
 
Image:Wilkinscutup.jpg|{{GNH|Cut Up}}
  +
Image:Wilkinsdeathdefyingleap.PNG|{{GNH|Death Defying Leap}}
 
Image:Wilkinsdesertisland.jpg|{{GNH|Desert Island}}
 
Image:Wilkinsdesertisland.jpg|{{GNH|Desert Island}}
 
Image:Wilkinsdidyoucall.jpg|{{GNH|Did You Call?}}
 
Image:Wilkinsdidyoucall.jpg|{{GNH|Did You Call?}}
  +
Image:Wilkinsdoglionbeast.png|{{GNH|Dog-Lion Beast}}
  +
Image:Elevator.jpg|{{GNH|Elevator}}
 
Image:Wilkinsengarde.jpg|{{GNH|En Garde}}
 
Image:Wilkinsengarde.jpg|{{GNH|En Garde}}
 
Image:Wilkinsespionage.jpg|{{GNH|Espionage}}
 
Image:Wilkinsespionage.jpg|{{GNH|Espionage}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfairdamsel.jpg|{{GNH|Fair Damsel}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfairdamsel.jpg|{{GNH|Fair Damsel}}
  +
Image:Wilkinsfallingsafe.jpg|{{GNH|Falling Safe}}
  +
Image:Wilkins-Fired.jpg|{{GNH|Fired}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfiveaces.jpg|{{GNH|Five Aces}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfiveaces.jpg|{{GNH|Five Aces}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfootdown.jpg|{{GNH|Foot Down}}
 
Image:Wilkinsfootdown.jpg|{{GNH|Foot Down}}
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Image:Wilkinsgiveimtheeggs.jpg|{{GNH|Give 'Im the Eggs}}
 
Image:Wilkinsgiveimtheeggs.jpg|{{GNH|Give 'Im the Eggs}}
 
Image:Wilkinsgoodbetterbest.jpg|{{GNH|Good, Better, Best}}
 
Image:Wilkinsgoodbetterbest.jpg|{{GNH|Good, Better, Best}}
  +
Image:Wilkinsgosoakyourhead.jpg|{{GNH|Go Soak Your Head}}
 
Image:Wilkinsguillotine.jpg|{{GNH|Guillotine}}
 
Image:Wilkinsguillotine.jpg|{{GNH|Guillotine}}
 
Image:Wilkinshammer.jpg|{{GNH|Hammer}}
 
Image:Wilkinshammer.jpg|{{GNH|Hammer}}
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Image:Wilkinshumancannonball.jpg|{{GNH|Human Cannonball}}
 
Image:Wilkinshumancannonball.jpg|{{GNH|Human Cannonball}}
 
Image:Wilkinsidgiveamillionbucks.jpg|{{GNH|I'd Give a Million Bucks}}
 
Image:Wilkinsidgiveamillionbucks.jpg|{{GNH|I'd Give a Million Bucks}}
  +
Image:Hunch.jpg|{{GNH|I Have A Hunch}}
 
Image:Wilkinsjackinthebox.jpg|{{GNH|Jack in the Box}}
 
Image:Wilkinsjackinthebox.jpg|{{GNH|Jack in the Box}}
 
Image:Wilkinsjustchecking.jpg|{{GNH|Just Checking}}
 
Image:Wilkinsjustchecking.jpg|{{GNH|Just Checking}}
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Image:Wilkinsknifethrower.jpg|{{GNH|Knife Thrower}}
 
Image:Wilkinsknifethrower.jpg|{{GNH|Knife Thrower}}
 
Image:Wilkinsletseveryonesleep.jpg|{{GNH|Lets Everyone Sleep}}
 
Image:Wilkinsletseveryonesleep.jpg|{{GNH|Lets Everyone Sleep}}
  +
Image:RedRidingWilkins.jpg|{{GNH|[[Little Red Riding Hood]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinslostmyhead.jpg|{{GNH|Lost My Head}}
 
Image:Wilkinslostmyhead.jpg|{{GNH|Lost My Head}}
  +
Image:Wilkins-the-great.jpg|{{GNH|Magician Saw}}
 
Image:Wilkinsmanoverboard.jpg|{{GNH|Man Overboard}}
 
Image:Wilkinsmanoverboard.jpg|{{GNH|Man Overboard}}
  +
Wilkins-Mallet.jpg|{{GNH|Mallet}}
 
Image:Wilkinsmountainclimbing.jpg|{{GNH|Mountain Climbing}}
 
Image:Wilkinsmountainclimbing.jpg|{{GNH|Mountain Climbing}}
  +
Image:NewCarOrWilkins.jpg|{{GNH|New Car or Wilkins?}}
 
Image:Wilkinsnoahsark.jpg|{{GNH|[[Noah (Biblical)|Noah's Ark]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsnoahsark.jpg|{{GNH|[[Noah (Biblical)|Noah's Ark]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsnobodybeatswilkins.jpg|{{GNH|Nobody Beats Wilkins}}
 
Image:Wilkinsnobodybeatswilkins.jpg|{{GNH|Nobody Beats Wilkins}}
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Image:Wilkinsontheball.jpg|{{GNH|On the Ball}}
 
Image:Wilkinsontheball.jpg|{{GNH|On the Ball}}
 
Image:Wilkinsparachute.jpg|{{GNH|Parachute}}
 
Image:Wilkinsparachute.jpg|{{GNH|Parachute}}
  +
Image:WilkinsPeterPeterCoffeeDrinker.png|{{GNH|Peter Peter Coffee Drinker}}
  +
Image:Pie.jpg|{{GNH|Pie}}
  +
Image:Wontkins shot in the head wiki.jpg|{{GNH|Public Service Announcement}}
 
Image:Wilkinsquizshow.jpg|{{GNH|Quiz Show}}
 
Image:Wilkinsquizshow.jpg|{{GNH|Quiz Show}}
 
Image:Wilkinsrocketship1.jpg|{{GNH|Rocket Ship}}
 
Image:Wilkinsrocketship1.jpg|{{GNH|Rocket Ship}}
 
Image:Wilkinsromeoandjuliet.jpg|{{GNH|[[William Shakespeare|Romeo and Juliet]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsromeoandjuliet.jpg|{{GNH|[[William Shakespeare|Romeo and Juliet]]}}
  +
Image:Wilkinsrose.png|{{GNH|Rose in Wilkins}}
 
Image:Wilkinssantaclaus.jpg|{{GNH|[[Santa Claus]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinssantaclaus.jpg|{{GNH|[[Santa Claus]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinsshortcake.jpg|{{GNH|Shortcake}}
 
Image:Wilkinsshortcake.jpg|{{GNH|Shortcake}}
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Image:Wilkinssteamroller.jpg|{{GNH|Steamroller}}
 
Image:Wilkinssteamroller.jpg|{{GNH|Steamroller}}
 
Image:Wilkinsswimmingpool.jpg|{{GNH|Swimming Pool}}
 
Image:Wilkinsswimmingpool.jpg|{{GNH|Swimming Pool}}
  +
Image:Wilkins_taking_the_fifth.png|{{GNH|Taking the Fifth}}
 
Image:Wilkinstarandfeathers.jpg|{{GNH|Tar and Feathers}}
 
Image:Wilkinstarandfeathers.jpg|{{GNH|Tar and Feathers}}
  +
Image:This Girl Has Taste.jpg|{{GNH|This Girl Has Taste}}
  +
Image:Wilkinstonofwilkins.png|{{GNH|Ton of Wilkins}}
 
Wilkins-train.jpg|{{GNH|Trainload}}
 
Wilkins-train.jpg|{{GNH|Trainload}}
 
Image:Wilkinstree.jpg|{{GNH|Tree}}
 
Image:Wilkinstree.jpg|{{GNH|Tree}}
  +
Image:Wilkinstruck.png|{{GNH|Truckload of Wilkins}}
 
Image:Wilkins-antiviolence.jpg|{{GNH|TV Anti-Violence League}}
 
Image:Wilkins-antiviolence.jpg|{{GNH|TV Anti-Violence League}}
Image:Wilkinstvset.jpg|{{GNH|TV Set}}
 
 
Image:Wilkinswashingtonmonument.jpg|{{GNH|[[Washington, D.C.|Washington Monument]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinswashingtonmonument.jpg|{{GNH|[[Washington, D.C.|Washington Monument]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinswaterwithdinner.jpg|{{GNH|Water with Dinner}}
 
Image:Wilkinswaterwithdinner.jpg|{{GNH|Water with Dinner}}
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Image:Wilkinswhatkindofcoffeedoyousell.jpg|{{GNH|What Kind of Coffee Do You Sell}}
 
Image:Wilkinswhatkindofcoffeedoyousell.jpg|{{GNH|What Kind of Coffee Do You Sell}}
 
Image:Wilkinswhynot.jpg|{{GNH|Why Not}}
 
Image:Wilkinswhynot.jpg|{{GNH|Why Not}}
  +
Image:Wild Horses Couldn't Make Me.jpg|{{GNH|Wild Horses}}
 
Image:Wilkinswilliamtell.jpg|{{GNH|[[William Tell]]}}
 
Image:Wilkinswilliamtell.jpg|{{GNH|[[William Tell]]}}
  +
Image:Wilkinstvset.jpg|{{GNH|You Can't Win}}
 
Image:Wilkinsyumyum.jpg|{{GNH|Yum Yum}}
 
Image:Wilkinsyumyum.jpg|{{GNH|Yum Yum}}
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
   
 
==Red Diamond Coffee==
 
==Red Diamond Coffee==
<gallery widths="145" spacing="small" orientation="landscape" position="center" captionalign="center" hideaddbutton="true">
+
<gallery widths="145" spacing="small" orientation="landscape">
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_3.JPG|{{GNH|Brand X}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_3.JPG|{{GNH|Brand X}}
 
COM 3232 reddiamond cannon.jpg|{{GNH|Cannon}}
 
COM 3232 reddiamond cannon.jpg|{{GNH|Cannon}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_1.JPG|{{GNH|Climbing Tree}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_1.JPG|{{GNH|Climbing Tree}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_4.JPG|{{GNH|Death Defying Leap}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_4.JPG|{{GNH|Death Defying Leap}}
  +
File:Fired.jpg|{{GNH|Fired}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_2.JPG|{{GNH|Good, Better, Best}}
 
File:RED_DIAMOND_COFFEE_2.JPG|{{GNH|Good, Better, Best}}
 
File:Red_Diamond_Coffee_-_Pie.png|{{GNH|Pie}}
 
File:Red_Diamond_Coffee_-_Pie.png|{{GNH|Pie}}
File:Whale_of_a_coffee.jpg|{{GNH|A Whale of a Coffee}}
+
File:Whale_of_a_coffee.jpg|{{GNH|Whale of a Coffee}}
File:Fired.jpg|{{GNH|Wontkins gets fired}}
 
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
   
 
;Other titles
 
;Other titles
:
 
 
{| width="100%"
 
{| width="100%"
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
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* Bank Robber
 
* Bank Robber
 
* Bar Room
 
* Bar Room
* Beatnik
 
 
* Because It's True
 
* Because It's True
* Best Coffee Is...
 
* Biplane
 
 
* Blow Torch
 
* Blow Torch
* Cash Register
 
 
* Cleaver
 
* Cleaver
 
* Coffee Machine
 
* Coffee Machine
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* Exploding Brand X
 
* Exploding Brand X
 
* Exploding Cigar
 
* Exploding Cigar
* Falling Safe
 
 
* Fire Engine
 
* Fire Engine
* Fired
 
 
* Flavor Lock Package
 
* Flavor Lock Package
 
* Flying Saucer
 
* Flying Saucer
 
* Frontier Bar
 
* Frontier Bar
 
* Giant
 
* Giant
  +
* Golf Club
   
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
* Go Soak Your Head
 
* Golf Club
 
 
* Good Boy
 
* Good Boy
 
* Good for Smart Alecks
 
* Good for Smart Alecks
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* Headaches of Life
 
* Headaches of Life
 
* I Get a Bang Out of Wilkins
 
* I Get a Bang Out of Wilkins
* I Have a Hunch
 
 
* Ice Skating
 
* Ice Skating
 
* Jailhouse
 
* Jailhouse
 
* Jingle in Bed
 
* Jingle in Bed
* Little Red Riding Hood
 
 
* Love My Wilkins
 
* Love My Wilkins
 
* Magic Wand
 
* Magic Wand
 
* [[Magicians|Magician]]
 
* [[Magicians|Magician]]
* Mallet
 
 
* Marshall Dilly
 
* Marshall Dilly
 
* Martins and Coys
 
* Martins and Coys
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* Moving West
 
* Moving West
 
* My Dead Body
 
* My Dead Body
  +
* Observation Lounge
   
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
 
| valign="top" width="33%" |
* New Car or Wilkins?
 
* Observation Lounge
 
 
* On the Wagon
 
* On the Wagon
 
* One Dollar Without Wilkins
 
* One Dollar Without Wilkins
* Peter Peter Coffee Drinker
 
* Pie
 
 
* Positive
 
* Positive
* Public Service Announcement
 
 
* Rockabye Baby
 
* Rockabye Baby
 
* Ship Christening
 
* Ship Christening
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* Snow Storm
 
* Snow Storm
 
* Submarine
 
* Submarine
* Taking the Fifth
+
* Survey
 
* Taxi
 
* Taxi
 
* Thinking Man's Coffee
 
* Thinking Man's Coffee
 
* Tired of Commercials
 
* Tired of Commercials
* Truckload of Wilkins
 
 
* Tunnel of Love
 
* Tunnel of Love
  +
* TV Set
 
* Wake Up
 
* Wake Up
 
* Window
 
* Window
* You Can't Win
 
 
* You Miss a Lot
 
* You Miss a Lot
 
|}
 
|}
   
 
==Public appeal==
 
==Public appeal==
  +
[[File:Captureing.png|thumb|300px|Storyboard for a Wilkins Coffee commercial.]]
 
The Wilkins Coffee ads stood out from the usual commercial fare. In a press release issued February 19, 1959, Senator John Marshall Butler (R-MD) strongly criticized the quality of broadcast television, but praised the Wilkins ads: "The Maryland Senator, an opponent of pay television, called on the networks and individual stations to re-examine their programming and advertising policies at once to provide the public with better television fare. He said that the Senate Commerce Committee, of which he is a member, will explore the entire situation... As to advertising, it insults the intelligence of the viewer. It is geared at know-nothings. As far as I am concerned, if I hear 'a thinking-man's filter and a smoking-man's taste,' I promptly switch to another channel. About the only clever advertising on the air today is 'Wilkins and Wontkins'. It pleases rather than irritates television audiences, and I am happy to learn that this series is bringing increased sales to the sponsor."
 
The Wilkins Coffee ads stood out from the usual commercial fare. In a press release issued February 19, 1959, Senator John Marshall Butler (R-MD) strongly criticized the quality of broadcast television, but praised the Wilkins ads: "The Maryland Senator, an opponent of pay television, called on the networks and individual stations to re-examine their programming and advertising policies at once to provide the public with better television fare. He said that the Senate Commerce Committee, of which he is a member, will explore the entire situation... As to advertising, it insults the intelligence of the viewer. It is geared at know-nothings. As far as I am concerned, if I hear 'a thinking-man's filter and a smoking-man's taste,' I promptly switch to another channel. About the only clever advertising on the air today is 'Wilkins and Wontkins'. It pleases rather than irritates television audiences, and I am happy to learn that this series is bringing increased sales to the sponsor."
   
The Senator's approval was echoed in a 1965 article in the Washington, D.C. ''Evening Star'', which reported the findings of a poll in the D.C. area about television commercials: "John H. Wilkins, Jr., of the Wilkins Coffee Company, can be proud of the overwhelming endorsement of Washington area viewers of his Muppet TV spots. The Wilkins commercials, which he conceived, are easily the favorite of voters in this area." <ref>"Weekly Poll: Voters Feel Strongly on TV Commercials", Harold Stern and Jack Boyle, ''The Evening Star'', March 22, 1965.</ref>
+
The Senator's approval was echoed in a 1965 article in the Washington, D.C. ''Evening Star'', which reported the findings of a poll in the D.C. area about television commercials: "John H. Wilkins, Jr., of the Wilkins Coffee Company, can be proud of the overwhelming endorsement of Washington area viewers of his Muppet TV spots. The Wilkins commercials, which he conceived, are easily the favorite of voters in this area."<ref>"Weekly Poll: Voters Feel Strongly on TV Commercials", Harold Stern and Jack Boyle, ''The Evening Star'', March 22, 1965.</ref>
   
 
==Franchise==
 
==Franchise==
[[Image:La_choy_presentation_1966.jpg|thumb|300px|A snapshot of a Community Coffee commercial.]]
+
[[File:La_choy_presentation_1966.jpg|thumb|300px|A snapshot of a Community Coffee commercial.]]
  +
[[File:Wonktins_Community_Coffee_TvColor.jpg|thumb|300px|A Community Coffee ad in color.]]
  +
[[File:Community-bank-robber.jpg|thumb|300px]]
 
Following the success of the Wilkins Coffee commercials in the Washington, D.C. market, Jim Henson sold the concept to coffee companies in other local markets around the US. The same ads were reshot, with the only difference being the name of the coffee company.
 
Following the success of the Wilkins Coffee commercials in the Washington, D.C. market, Jim Henson sold the concept to coffee companies in other local markets around the US. The same ads were reshot, with the only difference being the name of the coffee company.
   
 
The other companies included:
 
The other companies included:
   
* '''Community Coffee''': Thirty-seven 10-second ads for Community Coffee, a [[Louisiana]]-based company, from 1959 to 1969. Beginning in 1966, the commercials were produced in color.<ref>Falk, Karen. "[http://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2012/03/13/313-141969/ Jim Henson's Red Book]", 3/13-14/1969 – Shoot Community Coffee.</ref>
+
* '''Community Coffee''': Thirty-seven 10-second ads for Community Coffee, a [[Louisiana]]-based company, from 1959 to 1969. Beginning in [[1966]], the commercials were produced in color.<ref>Falk, Karen. "[http://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2012/03/13/313-141969/ Jim Henson's Red Book]", 3/13-14/1969 – Shoot Community Coffee.</ref>
 
* '''Donovan Coffee''': Thirteen 10-second ads for the Donovan Coffee Company, an [[Alabama]]-based company that produces Red Diamond Coffee. Six spots were produced in 1961, and an additional seven color spots were produced in December 1966.<ref>Falk, Karen. "[http://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2011/12/14/1213-151966/ Jim Henson's Red Book]", 12/13-15/1966 – Shoot Community and Red Diamond Comm.</ref>
 
* '''Donovan Coffee''': Thirteen 10-second ads for the Donovan Coffee Company, an [[Alabama]]-based company that produces Red Diamond Coffee. Six spots were produced in 1961, and an additional seven color spots were produced in December 1966.<ref>Falk, Karen. "[http://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2011/12/14/1213-151966/ Jim Henson's Red Book]", 12/13-15/1966 – Shoot Community and Red Diamond Comm.</ref>
 
* '''La Touraine Coffee''': Fifteen 10-second ads for La Touraine Coffee, a [[Massachusetts|Boston]]-based company, from 1958 to 1962.
 
* '''La Touraine Coffee''': Fifteen 10-second ads for La Touraine Coffee, a [[Massachusetts|Boston]]-based company, from 1958 to 1962.
* '''Martinson Coffee''': Fifteen 10-second ads for Martinson Coffee, a [[New York City]]-based company, from 1958 to 1962.
+
* '''Martinson Coffee''': Fifteen 10-second ads for Martinson Coffee, a [[New York City]]-based company that produces Jomar Instant, from 1958 to 1962.
* '''Nash's Coffee''': Twenty 10-second ads for Nash's Coffee, a [[Minnesota]] based company, from 1958 to 1961. <ref name="Falk">[[Karen Falk]], the Jim Henson Company Archives.</ref>
+
* '''Nash's Coffee''': Twenty 10-second ads for Nash's Coffee, a [[Minnesota]] based company, from 1958 to 1961.<ref name="Falk">[[Karen Falk]], the Jim Henson Company Archives.</ref>
   
 
==Releases==
 
==Releases==
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==Credits==
 
==Credits==
  +
<ref>from Clio Awards Archive database, now offline</ref>
 
:'''Client:''' Wilkins Coffee, Belmont Ver Standig, Washington DC
 
:'''Client:''' Wilkins Coffee, Belmont Ver Standig, Washington DC
 
:'''Agency Producer:''' James W. Young
 
:'''Agency Producer:''' James W. Young
Line 233: Line 245:
 
==Sources==
 
==Sources==
 
<references />
 
<references />
  +
  +
==See also==
  +
*[[Wilkins Coffee transcripts]]
  +
  +
__NOWYSIWYG__
 
[[Category:TV Commercials]]
 
[[Category:TV Commercials]]
 
[[Category:Marketing Tie-Ins]]
 
[[Category:Marketing Tie-Ins]]

Latest revision as of 18:47, May 13, 2020

Wontkins shot in the head wiki
Wilkins Coffee Commercials

Wilkins Coffee Commercials

A sampling of Wilkins Coffee ads.

Wilkins coffee wiki

In 1957, Jim Henson was approached by a Washington, D.C. coffee company to produce commercials for Wilkins Coffee. The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast—essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.

From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea. The ads were initially filmed at Rodel Studios in Washington D.C.[1] The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s. The “Cannon” spot was one of his most popular and produced for at least 14 clients, such as Kraml Dairy, Red Diamond, Community, Nash's, and more.

The ads starred the cheerful Wilkins, who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy Wontkins, who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads—blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among many other violent acts.

Wilkins and Wontkins were generally the only characters in the commercials, though on rare occasions, such critters as a Muppet whale or baby birds would appear. Company owner Mr. Wilkins was also invoked more than once.

Wilkins Coffee Can

Can of Wilkins Coffee with Wilkins and Wontkins

The characters proved so popular that in October 1958, the company offered vinyl puppets of Wilkins and Wontkins through the mail for $1.00 and a coffee can label. The offer on the can said, "Hey Kids! I'm Wilkins—he's Wontkins—you see us on TV!" Obviously, Wilkins Coffee and Henson knew that the Muppet characters had kid appeal, although this doesn't seem to have had any effect on the use of violence and terror in the ads.

The only time Wontkins was caught drinking a coffee that was not Wilkins was in the 1958 "Steamroller" ad.

CommercialsEdit

These are Henson's official titles for the commercials.[2]

Red Diamond CoffeeEdit

Other titles
  • Attention
  • Bad Commercial
  • The Ball Bounces
  • Baloney
  • Bank Robber
  • Bar Room
  • Because It's True
  • Blow Torch
  • Cleaver
  • Coffee Machine
  • Construction Worker
  • Drinking Fountain
  • Exploding Brand X
  • Exploding Cigar
  • Fire Engine
  • Flavor Lock Package
  • Flying Saucer
  • Frontier Bar
  • Giant
  • Golf Club
  • Good Boy
  • Good for Smart Alecks
  • Goofo the Great
  • Gossips
  • Got a Dime
  • Grenade
  • Guy Across the Street
  • Headaches of Life
  • I Get a Bang Out of Wilkins
  • Ice Skating
  • Jailhouse
  • Jingle in Bed
  • Love My Wilkins
  • Magic Wand
  • Magician
  • Marshall Dilly
  • Martins and Coys
  • Monster
  • Moving West
  • My Dead Body
  • Observation Lounge
  • On the Wagon
  • One Dollar Without Wilkins
  • Positive
  • Rockabye Baby
  • Ship Christening
  • Smoke It
  • Snikliw the Swamee
  • Snow Storm
  • Submarine
  • Survey
  • Taxi
  • Thinking Man's Coffee
  • Tired of Commercials
  • Tunnel of Love
  • TV Set
  • Wake Up
  • Window
  • You Miss a Lot

Public appealEdit

Captureing

Storyboard for a Wilkins Coffee commercial.

The Wilkins Coffee ads stood out from the usual commercial fare. In a press release issued February 19, 1959, Senator John Marshall Butler (R-MD) strongly criticized the quality of broadcast television, but praised the Wilkins ads: "The Maryland Senator, an opponent of pay television, called on the networks and individual stations to re-examine their programming and advertising policies at once to provide the public with better television fare. He said that the Senate Commerce Committee, of which he is a member, will explore the entire situation... As to advertising, it insults the intelligence of the viewer. It is geared at know-nothings. As far as I am concerned, if I hear 'a thinking-man's filter and a smoking-man's taste,' I promptly switch to another channel. About the only clever advertising on the air today is 'Wilkins and Wontkins'. It pleases rather than irritates television audiences, and I am happy to learn that this series is bringing increased sales to the sponsor."

The Senator's approval was echoed in a 1965 article in the Washington, D.C. Evening Star, which reported the findings of a poll in the D.C. area about television commercials: "John H. Wilkins, Jr., of the Wilkins Coffee Company, can be proud of the overwhelming endorsement of Washington area viewers of his Muppet TV spots. The Wilkins commercials, which he conceived, are easily the favorite of voters in this area."[3]

FranchiseEdit

La choy presentation 1966

A snapshot of a Community Coffee commercial.

Wonktins Community Coffee TvColor

A Community Coffee ad in color.

Community-bank-robber

Following the success of the Wilkins Coffee commercials in the Washington, D.C. market, Jim Henson sold the concept to coffee companies in other local markets around the US. The same ads were reshot, with the only difference being the name of the coffee company.

The other companies included:

  • Community Coffee: Thirty-seven 10-second ads for Community Coffee, a Louisiana-based company, from 1959 to 1969. Beginning in 1966, the commercials were produced in color.[4]
  • Donovan Coffee: Thirteen 10-second ads for the Donovan Coffee Company, an Alabama-based company that produces Red Diamond Coffee. Six spots were produced in 1961, and an additional seven color spots were produced in December 1966.[5]
  • La Touraine Coffee: Fifteen 10-second ads for La Touraine Coffee, a Boston-based company, from 1958 to 1962.
  • Martinson Coffee: Fifteen 10-second ads for Martinson Coffee, a New York City-based company that produces Jomar Instant, from 1958 to 1962.
  • Nash's Coffee: Twenty 10-second ads for Nash's Coffee, a Minnesota based company, from 1958 to 1961.[2]

ReleasesEdit

The "TV Anti-Violence League" spot was released on a commercial DVD by Madacy Home Video.

AwardsEdit

The "TV Anti-Violence League" spot from 1960 was recognized by the Clio awards, as runner-up in the category of best television/cinema spot.

CreditsEdit

[6]

Client: Wilkins Coffee, Belmont Ver Standig, Washington DC
Agency Producer: James W. Young
Cinematographer: Del Ankers
Copywriters: James Henson, James Young
Performer/Voice: Wilkins & Wontkins (puppets), Jim Henson (voice)
Production Company: Rodel, Washington DC
Animation & Art: Jane & James Henson

SourcesEdit

  1. Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones (page 107)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Karen Falk, the Jim Henson Company Archives.
  3. "Weekly Poll: Voters Feel Strongly on TV Commercials", Harold Stern and Jack Boyle, The Evening Star, March 22, 1965.
  4. Falk, Karen. "Jim Henson's Red Book", 3/13-14/1969 – Shoot Community Coffee.
  5. Falk, Karen. "Jim Henson's Red Book", 12/13-15/1966 – Shoot Community and Red Diamond Comm.
  6. from Clio Awards Archive database, now offline

See alsoEdit

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