Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Word From Our Sponsors II

Many moons ago in Showdown in Seville, a book about the 1987 World Championship match by Keene, Goodman, and Spanier, I read the following:-

... chess players huddled around the nearest TV set for the unveiling of Kasparov's commercial for Schweppes tonic water. This was ... the first ever Western TV advertisement to feature a Soviet citizen, and it also contained appearances by a blonde Finnish model and a French actor famous throughout Spain as "Mr. Schweppes" for the last nine years.

Kasparov is seated at the board when suddenly Mr. Schweppes arrives. They recognise each other and exchange greetings. Kasparov opens a bottle of tonic water with a knight he lifts off the chess board. Mr. Schweppes tries to copy Kasparov's technique but fails, and Kasparov begins to laugh. As the 20-second segment ends, the drink is described as "Kasparov's Passion".

"We decided to do a TV commercial when we realised what a very good actor he was," commented John de Zulueta, the marketing director for Schweppes in Spain. "At first we wanted to use a very serious type of story, but we changed it when we saw that Gary had such an effervescent type of personality," he added. The deal was struck by Andrew Page, Kasparov's British manager. A storyboard of the commercial had been sent to the Soviet sports committee for their prior approval.

Twenty years later I managed to find a clip of the advert on YouTube.

That's not Gazza's voice either is it? What's up with these advertising folk?

More chess related video clips available here

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