Around 1988, Sunkist offered New Order £100,000 to record a special version of “Blue Monday” for a TV spot. The ad campaign proposed new lyrics for the biggest-selling twelve-inch single of all time:
How does it feel
when a new day has begun?
When you’re drinking in the sunshine
Sunkist is the one
When you need a taste for living
Sunkist is the one
As you will hear below, Barney and Hooky did stop laughing long enough to get a deadpan reading of this ad copy on tape. However, according to the band, manager Rob Gretton nixed the deal before it could go any further. A mock-up of the ad eventually came out on the band’s NewOrder Story©, a home video documentary released the same year as the Republic© album (1993). It’s an entertaining program, though my doctor has advised me never to watch it again because of the effect Bono’s contributions have on my nervous condition.
Bernard Sumner talked about the ad in a 1999 Q&A with fans. One Peter Rees of Shrewsbury asked what the lyrics were supposed to have been, and Barney did his best to remember:
“How does it feel/When you’re drinking in the sun? Something something/Sunkist is the one/How does it feel/When you’re drinking in the sun/All you’ve got to believe/Is Sunkist is the one.” I didn’t write them. We got offered £100,000 to do it. I kept laughing when I was singing it, so Hooky got a piece of card and wrote “£100,000” on it, held it up, and I sang it perfectly. But then Rob Gretton turned up and he put the kibosh on it. There’s a remix of Blue Monday by Steve “Silk” Hurley and it’s got the Sunkist lyrics on it.
And Peter Hook discussed the commercial in a contemporary interview with SPIN:
Is it true that the band did a commercial for Sunkist?
“They asked us to try it. So we tried it and it sounded so bad that we couldn’t let them have it. They originally told us they wanted to use ‘Blue Monday’ and we thought, ‘Fine. Great.’ So then they said, ‘Right, when are you gonna do this voice over?’ Voice over? We tried singing the changed lyrics and we started rolling around on the floor. They were offering us a fortune, but the cringe part of it was too heavy.”
What were the changed lyrics?
“Sunkist is the one,” Hook says through clenched teeth. “Oh, never mind.”
In the clip from NewOrder Story© below, Sumner reminisces about the failed deal and the ad mock-up shows what might have been. It pairs the “Blue Monday” soda jingle with footage from Sunkist’s early 90s “Drink in the Sun” campaign (“the sun comes up with an orange grin,” barf) and New Order’s wonderful “Touched by the Hand of God” video. The beach-babe imagery is of a piece with the Baywatch video for “Regret.”