Choice Couple - In the 1990s, Taster's Choice coffee began running
serialized commercial spots starring British actors Sharon Maughan and Anthony
Head that followed the romantic encounters of a man and a woman whose shared a
fondness for Taster's Choice. The commercials created a soap opera environment
which enticed and teased the viewers to tune in next commercial to see whether
the attractive couple would progress beyond just sharing a cup of coffee to
possibly sharing a date, or dare we hope...a bed? The successful commercial
spots produced a 10 percent increase in products sales soon after they aired.
The Taster's Choice ad originated in England in 1987 for a Gold Blend Coffee
Campaign; Mr. Head and Ms. Maughan reprised their roles in the U.S. campaign in
1990. In Britain, a 300-plus page paperback novel based on the ads entitled Love
Over Gold was written by an established mystery writer, Susan Moody, under the
pseudonym Susannah James. It revealed the character's bios: He's Matthew
Prescott, art investment counselor; she's Alexandra Maitland, magazine editor.
In England, Tony and Sharon went off to live happily ever after; and they were
been replaced by different actors in a new series of ads. The McCann-Erickson ad
agency created the Gold Blend/Taster's Choice coffee campaign in both Britain
and America. Gold Blend was the No. 2 instant coffee in the UK after Nescafe.
TRIVIA NOTE: After their stint in commercials
Anthony Head resurfaced in the horror drama BUFFY THE VAMPIRE
SLAYER/WB/1997-2003 as Giles, a school librarian and expert in the occult; and
Sharon Maughan turned to writing screenplays.
On February 01, 2005, the Associated Press reported that Russell Christoff, a
former model who posed for a two-hour Nestle photo shoot in 1986, was awarded
$15.6 million by Los Angeles County Superior Court because Taster's Choice used Christoff's image without his knowledge for years on Taster's Choice
freeze-dried coffee labels. Christoff, who is now a kindergarten teacher in the
Bay Area community of Antioch, discovered the violation in 2002 while shopping
in a drug store. .