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Pepsi Ads Join Paramount’s Video Lineup

Times Staff Writer

If you think ads on videocassette movies are a pain in the neck, you might not be pleased with the following news.

Paramount Home Video says that each of four films to be released next year--"The Presidio” (Jan. 25), “Crocodile Dundee II” (March), “Tucker” (April) and “Coming to America” (May)--will feature a different Pepsi ad.

But don’t expect the commercials to match the films’ content as closely as the pioneering Pepsi ad on Paramount’s “Top Gun.”

“There will be a conceptual approach to tie the ads in with the movies,” explained Paramount vice president Hollis Brown, but none of them will be as elaborate as was done for “Top Gun.”

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“What’s important,” Brown said, “is that the ads won’t look alike and they won’t be anything the consumer has seen before. Apparently, consumers react negatively to seeing ads on video that they’ve seen many times on TV. The Pepsi ads will be new.”

This isn’t the first time ads have appeared on movies geared to the rental market--there was one on Vestron’s “Dirty Dancing,” and that company will have another on “Young Guns” beginning Jan. 4--and, if fans aren’t irritated by this new batch, it certainly won’t be the last time. Get set for a surge of ads on rental tapes by late next year.

Putting the Pepsi ads on these four new Paramount releases is a way for the studio to get more advertising sock in the campaign it is planning to promote the movies’ debut on cassette, since Pepsi will include mention of the movies in its own advertising. There will be a massive TV ad blitz (totaling $8 million for the four) a few weeks before each film is released, designed to generate consumer interest that will be conveyed to retailers who, theoretically, will then order more copies of the movie.

Paramount, of course, sells more tapes that way, but, according to Brown, the bonus for the consumer is the availability of more rental copies.

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By the way, the four films will have an Orville Redenbacher popcorn promotional tie-in too, but there won’t be Pepsi and popcorn ads on each tape. Buying Redenbacher products and renting any Paramount tape will entitle the consumer to a rebate on the rental.

RATINGS: There’s been a lot of noise about rating unrated videocassettes, but not much has been done about it: The home video market is loaded with unrated tapes. The big concern is that youngsters might rent unrated titles that turn out to be crammed with sex or violence or racy language.

But help is on the way. Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Pictures Association of America, announced that the Classification and Rating Administration--a committee it operates jointly with theater owners--is available to producers free or at a token fee far below what it costs to have a new theatrical film rated. Now producers can no longer claim they can’t afford to have their home-video releases rated.

But it’s not clear yet when producers can take advantage of this service, or how unrated tapes already on the market will be affected. Valenti was reported out of the country and unavailable for comment.

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