Promoting the ’68 TV Special

By Bob Pakes
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The Colonel, as well as the Singer Company and RCA Records, knew Elvis’ first TV appearance since the Sinatra show in 1960, was bound to be something very special indeed. Plenty of advertising was done in the weeks and days prior to the screening of this landmark show on December 3rd 1968.
In this article we will take a look at the posters, flyers and magazine/newspaper advertisements from late 1968.
We will also present some of the promotion material from August 17, 1969 when NBC aired the show for a second time.
04 Banner (Dennis Berry)

To the right we have a banner that was used for in-store promotion, most likely in Singer stores. 

03 03 ad

Here we have a same-style advert that has been used as a magazine-ad (left) and a tabletop-standee (right).

06 LIFE 29-11-68 page 2 06 LIFE 29-11-68 page 1

From LIFE magazine, a double-page ad.
(November 29, 1968)
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Right a (low rez) newspaper ad from a few days before the airing.
To the far right we see an almost identical one-page Singer ad as the one used (as the right page of their two-page ad) in LIFE. The only exception is that Elvis can now be seen in lower left corner.
TV Guide front 09 TV Guide (November 30, 1968) upgrade
Ann-Margret was on the cover of the edition of TV Guide that included the full-page ad to the right.
(November 30, 1968)
Below the listing in that same TV Guide on the day of the broadcast.
(December 3, 1968)
13 TV Guide listing December 3
05 Promotional Booklet (1968) upgrade 11-2
The front of the official promotional booklet featured the famous image of Elvis in his gold suit.

To the right we have the center-spread of this booklet.

This ad, with a laughing and funloving Elvis, gives a whole new meaning as to what to expect from the TV special.

12 Billboard 7 december 1968 (checken)
Also for this full-page ad in Billboard, RCA chose to use the wellknown Elvis
instead of going for his new image. (November 30, 1968)
08 billboard 30-11-68 upgrade
Full-page Singer ad from Billboard , a few days after the special had aired.
(December 7, 1968)
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50 Promo Tabletop Standee 1969 upgrade
The NBC show aired for a second time on August 17, 1969.
And once again the audience was treated to some nice promotional stuff.

Here we have a tabletop standee.

51 billboard 16-8-69
A full-page ad from Billboard magazine, August 16, 1969.
52 television advertisement for an NBC Elvis special was presented by Singer and aired on Sunday, August 17th
This appears to be a flyer promoting the re-run of the show.
A Singer newspaper-ad simultaneously promoting the re-run and the album.
53 69 postcard front 53 69 postcard back
And here we see a postcard promoting Elvis’ shows at the International and the TV Special.
The ‘SINGER PRESENTS’ version of the Flaming Star album, plus the bonus photo that came with it.
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Greil Marcus Rolling
To conclude this ’68 article, here are some interesting documents:
Below a letter from Singer to the Colonel concerning the promotion for the Show.
To the right Greil Marcus’ review of the soundtrack-album from Rolling Stone magazine.
Two eyecatching quotes:
” … unless one is a collector of Presley memorabilia, this record is really not worth buying.”
” … just like when Ed Sullivan dressed him up in a tuxedo …”
Singer letter to Parker
Billboard Canada dec 21 1968 Billboard review dec 21 1968

From Billboard (December 21, 1968), a report from Canada stating that the TV Special has caused a renewed interest in Elvis’ music and Rock ‘n’ Roll music (“oldies”) altogether.
According the article:
“There’s been a landslide on Presley product”.
“The soundtrack is a real monster”.

From the same edition of Billboard, a short review of the soundtrack album:
“… this should be his biggest LP in some time”.

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