Marketing Ghosts in the Commercial

Computer wizardry brings new life to some old stars in Diet Coke's ads

Among the 100 or so actors wandering about a ritzy night spot in the latest TV commercial for Diet Coke are three with a very unusual item on their resumes: they're dead. Their faces are immediately recognizable. But just how Humphrey Bogart, Louis Armstrong and James Cagney were resurrected to shill for a soft drink with living songman Elton John is the story of "Nightclub" -- 60 seconds of inspired flackery that since its first airing two days before Thanksgiving, has become one of the most talked-about TV commercials of the year.

"Nightclub" is the creation of Lintas: New York, the...

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