Buy Wilkins Coffee or we'll shoot this Muppet
by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 19th 2009 9:02AM
Everybody in television has to start at the bottom, even the Muppets.
Jim Henson's Muppets got their big break in the 1950s as two spokesmuppets for the Wilkins Coffee Company in a series of eight-second commercials featuring the most ballsy commercial concept of all time: buy Wilkins Coffee or we will shoot you in the face.
I'd like to see Billy Mays take on that concept.
They are actually quite funny by commercial standards. One Muppet tries to convince the other Muppet to drink Wilkins Coffee and if the other refuses, they suffer some horrible act of cartoon violence that would cause the Parents Television Council to suffer a conniption.
The story of these ads picks up more than 40 years later when a New York marketing executive who worked over Henson while he was just a student at the University of Maryland found the Muppets used in the ad. He tried to market the Muppets at a licensing convention as the original Muppets and the Jim Henson Production Company sued the man. At one point, Jim's widow Jane showed up at the same convention, lost her temper and destroyed the booth.
Jim Henson Productions filed their lawsuit in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York and lost six years later, according to federal court records.
[via SuperPunch and Sillygirl.com]