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Old commercials with the World Trade Center [Throwback Thursday]


The closing shot of an ad for Martini & Rossi from 1992

You all know the feeling.

You're watching an old TV show set in New York, and, when you least expect it, the World Trade Center appears on the screen. But it wasn't just TV shows and movies where the towers offered a simple way to communicate the majesty of New York City, or the ideas of wealth, power and sophistication.

During the towers' 30-year existence, Madison Avenue couldn't get enough of them, and they turned up in all kinds of print ads and television commercials. Below, we've selected five TV ads where our lost towers figured prominently.

1.) Texaco commercial from the 1970s: Here, a man runs through the World Trade Center Plaza (passing James Rosati's sculpture) and climbs up one of the stairwells in the north tower. We can date the era of this ad because the North Tower does not yet have its massive antenna.

2.) World Trade Center observatory, early 1980s: This ad has beautiful shots of the towers and the plaza, and some incredible sad ad copy. One line: "Fall in love with a New York only fliers used to know." It's quite a reminder of how the towers were sold to tri-state residents, when the WTC was still sort of new.



3.) Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante, 1992: A jazzy ditty, "You Make Me Sparkle," plays while a sophisticated couple enjoys New York nightlife, ferried around town by a Checker cab with the twins towers always shimmering in the skyline. At the end, the shape of twin Champagne glasses appears on the towers' facade.

4.) Citibank, 1980s: A man jogs on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and the towers seem to follow him in the background. This is also a good example of the "It's Your Citi" ad campaign, which had a catchy jingle.

5.) American Airlines, 1998: A most disturbing ad in hindsight. This commercial for American Airlines shows the towers several times, and the closing shot features a jet seemingly heading toward the towers.

-- Rolando Pujol

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