Exploring Mike Tyson’s Legendary TV Ads – From Nintendo’s Punch-Out to Pepsi’s Multi-Million Deal


IN HIS early years, when he was top of his game, Mike Tyson amassed a £300million fortune.

And that wasn’t just down to the massive purses ‘Iron Mike’ – who returns to the ring on Saturday in an exhibition match against Roy Jones Jr – used to receive, including the then record 16.5million for 91 seconds work against Michael Spinks.

Advertisers queued up to have the ‘Baddest Man On the Planet’ endorse their products.

And, of course, he was paid handsomely. From Pepsi to Nintendo giving him his own video, Tyson raked it in.

However, when Robin Givens appeared on a US chat show alongside the former heavyweight champ and accused him of domestic abuse, many companies withdrew their sponsorship of the star.

But, before all of that, he was perfect fodder to appeal to consumers in the late 80s and early 90s, as these ads prove.



In 1988, Tyson inked a deal with soft drink giants Pepsi, following in the footsteps of ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson.

The ‘King of the Ring’ was said to have signed a contract worth a staggering £7.5million per-year.

And the series of ads, themselves, courted controversy with rivals Coca-Cola, who claimed the tagline that said Diet Pepsi “beat the taste of Diet Coke” in consumer tests wasn’t true.

Tyson’s wife at the time Robin Givens also appeared in a commercial alongside him.

However, three months into the Pepsi deal she revealed in an interview with US journalist Barbara Walters that Tyson domestically abused her.

Pepsi shelved their expensive campaign and ditched Tyson from their promotions.



A year before the Pepsi deal, Nintendo of America president Minoru Arakawa saw Tyson fight in the ring.

And he was blown over by the brawler’s ability that it became evident he should front a video game.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out was launched in 1987, and gamers took control of ‘Little Mac’ with the final boss being Tyson himself, and impossible to knockout.

Mike was paid around £35,000 for the privilege, with the deal being struck right before he became heavyweight champion.


Three years later, and with Mike losing his crown, Nintendo ditched his name from the title.


The end baddie’s name was changed from Mike Tyson to ‘Mr Dream’.

Incredibly, it has sold over two million copies worldwide and regularly features in ‘Best Games of All-time’ lists.



Nothing jogs the memory more than a picture.

Which is why Kodak played on Tyson’s relationship with Cus D’Amato, who had passed two years before this ad was released.

D’Amato famously took a young Tyson to one side and coached him in his gym before he became a mega sports star.

And the commercial features candid snaps of the pair together, as well as the mentor watching over the boxer in the ring.

It’s not known how much Tyson was paid for his time.



The Japanese brewing and distillery giants have roped in plenty of celebrities through the years to peddle their booze.

From George Clooney to the late Sean Connery and Leo DiCaprio, Hollywood stars have queued to advertise their alcohol.

“I am Mike Tyson,” he exclaims in the retro ad. “I like Suntory Dry.”

Cut to Tyson hitting a punch bag like his life depended on it.

According to a Suntory manager, Tyson was brought in “to communicate the power and the punch of dry beer”.



The Asian market really believed in Tyson.

Which is why he became the face of Toyota’s Toyoace G15 truck, not only appearing on the brochure but in their print and TV ads in 1990 in Japan.

Again, the tie-in was all about power.

“It’s super-strong,” Tyson says as we are treated to a montage of Toyota’s trucks riing side-by-side.

Of course, there’s an obligatory cut away to Mike shadow boxing.

It was believed that Tyson was paid around £1million for his brief cameo.


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