President Clinton wasn't exactly having a Coke and a smile during his videotaped grand jury testimony, broadcast to millions of Americans this week. But he was seen occasionally quaffing what appears to have been Diet Coke and Canada Dry soft drinks during the four-hour-plus grilling.
The unplanned product placement was one of several--including Gap (the stained dress) and Starbucks (where Monica Lewinsky bought a "Santa Monica" mug for Clinton)--that have been linked with the Lewinsky scandal. These companies have joined a host of others that would have preferred not to have been associated with infamous events.
Marketers for Coca-Cola and Canada Dry might find some sympathy among brand managers of the following products:
* Twinkies: The controversial "Twinkie defense" was used by Dan White's lawyer in defending him for the 1978 murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. The argument that White's capacity was diminished by depression and junk food resulted in a reduced sentence for White and rioting in San Francisco.
* Kool-Aid: This powdered drink was associated in 1978 with the cyanide deaths of hundreds of followers of Jim Jones, founder of the Guyana-based People's Temple religious sect.