In the movie, Signs, there is a scene depicting an old man who is an owner of a book store complaining about soda commercials and the frequency that they are being aired.

It's just a bunch of crock. They're trying to sell sodas. It's plain and simple. Been watching these reports since morning. I have seen twelve soda commercials so far...twelve!

There is a commercial for Shasta soft drinks shown during this time. The commercial is an ad from 1984. Signs is set in present day 2002, when the movie was released.

What is the significance of showing a commercial for Shasta soft drinks? Shasta is not a brand of soft drink that is as recognizable as Coca-Cola or Pepsi Cola. Also, what is the reasoning for showing a commercial from 1984 in present day 2002?

  • I don't know how prevalent Shasta is in Pennsylvania where the movie takes place, but here on the West coast it's a pretty recognizable brand. Although I might be more aware of it than most people because I spent several years living northern California near where the company was founded. It might just be that they were able to workout a better deal with Shasta to include it in the movie than other brands. Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


I have been unable to find any specific interviews or sources that explain this part of the movie, so the best I can do is present my own personal theory.

Small town conspiracy theorists

The movie is filmed and set in small town Pennsylvania where Shyamalan grew up. I believe this scene portrays an attitude of small town locals that he is used to from growing up. The irony being that typically you'd expect them to be sitting around watching the news and claiming its all an elaborate conspiracy to hide the existence of aliens, but when the news is actually about an alien invasion, instead of saying, "I knew it", they have hatched an entirely new conspiracy theory that they're just trying to sell sodas.

Why Shasta?

Shyamalan's preference?

This does seem kind of strange specifically due to the 1984 commercial being shown in 2002. My theory on this again comes down to Shyamalan's personal experience. He was born in 1970 and probably would have remembered seeing this commercial when he was a teenager. This particular commercial adds to the humor of the moment too, at least in my opinion.

Easier to obtain rights?

Of course he would have seen all kinds of soda commercials in the 80s so this doesn't explain it in itself. Another possible reason for using Shasta specifically could be due to rights issues with showing a Coke or Pepsi commercial that Shasta might be more lax on due to them being more of a knock off cheap subsitute soda line.

Shasta TV Spots would likely replay old campaigns

One last thought is that I've seen commercials repeated on television these days that originated in the 80s. While not common, it is not impossible to imagine seeing a retrospective Shasta commercial on television. If Shasta were to purchase any TV spots then I would expect they would simply replay some of the marketing materials they created rather than spend a lot on a new and updated commercial.

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    I was born around the same time as Shyamalan, and lived in the midwest and had relatives in Pennsylvania. I saw many a Shasta commercial growing up. ("I wanna POP Pop pop! I wanna Shasta!") I was actually surprised to see they're still around today. Here in Los Angeles, we see ads for them on TV and before movies. I can totally believe it was either his preference, or he was just nostalgic about hearing their ads as a kid. Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 2:02
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    @user1118321 Well, Shasta is sold in every store here on the west coast. I never see commercials for it though. Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 3:37

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