Film and TV

Ten Classic Denver Commercials: It's an Ad, Ad, Ad, Ad World

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5. Water World
Denver’s most famous water park has advertised frequently since its opening in 1979, but it's also gotten plenty of free advertising. Water World was named one of America’s Top 10 Water Parks by the Travel Channel in 2008, and was featured in the motion picture The Surfer King, which starred Lindsey Wagner and Alan Thicke. That's not aVacation level of film success, but it's not all wet, either.

4. Mattress King
No, not Janice’s ex-husband’s business from Friends — this is Denver’s Mattress King, another commercial celeb who likes pimping out his offspring to shill for his business.  Even worse: The King teams them up with the Denver Nuggets' notorious Chris “the Birdman” Andersen. When people are looking for a mattress, do they really need the advice of  junior-high kids and the Birdman? 

3. Quiznos Subs
Denver’s hometown sub shop was founded in 1981 in Capitol Hill, and the giant chain still operates that flagship location. Quiznos become known in the early 2000s for memorable Super Bowl ads, including those featuring the semi-horrifying Spongmonkeys, and later “baby Bob,” who even inspired an (unsuccessful) TV series. 
2. Coors
Remember what they were smuggling in the classic ’70s Burt Reynolds movie Smokey and the Bandit? That’s right: Coors beer. Because when Coors was just a regional beer, it was a great draw for East Coasters who'd enjoyed the Banquet Beer while they were here and wanted to share it with friends (or hoard it for themselves) back home. After Coors went nationwide, its commercials did, too — but they haven’t changed much.

1. American Furniture Warehouse
Jake Jabs is the elder statesman of Denver advertising: always on, always having a sale, always smiling into the camera. Over the years, his product line has expanded as his chain has crept across the country (and everywhere, if you buy online), but his approach hasn’t changed a bit. Jabs is still the quintessential hometown pitchman: a little good ol' boy, a little pillar of the community, and a whole lot of huckster. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen