Retro 1980s Pearl Cream Commercial with Nancy Kwan

You'll never be able to say "PEARL" again with a straight face.

Did you grow up in the 1980s? If so, then you will probably remember Nancy Kwan‘s infamous “Pearl Cream” commercials. Back then, America only had a few cable TV channels and these commercials were absolutely everywhere. If you haven’t seen them yet, or even heard of Pearl Cream, then get ready for a 1980s retro treat.

Nancy Kwan

Kwan was a sex symbol in the 1960s and the commercial starts out with her bragging about her acting appearances in old movies and TV shows like Flower Drum Song, The World of Suzie Wong and Noble House.

Pearl Cream Commercial

Revealing The Pearl Cream Secret

And then Kwan asks America a simple question: “Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to tell how old most Oriental women are?” Hmmm….. maybe. Is it diet? Nope. Exercise? Sorry. What’s the big secret?? ZOMG! It’s a lotion called PEARL CREAM!

Yes, there’s a secret ancient cream made from real pearls that all Oriental women knew about but kept it quiet for centuries… until now! Kwan’s betraying generations of women who kept this secret for only $19.95 a jar (plus $3 shipping and handling). Oh well. Thanks, Nancy!

Why Are We All Still Talking About Pearl Cream?

This silly commercial is memorable for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Political Incorrectness: Wasn’t the term “Oriental” already politically incorrect in the late 1980s? Well, it definitely is now. Oops.
  • R’s & L’s: Poor Nancy. R’s and L’s are her personal Kryptonite and there are a ton of them in the script. Every kid in America was running around saying “wreal pearwls” and “Pearrrrllllll Crrrrrream” for years.
  • User Testimonials: Oh my. The user testimonials are right out of an SNL skit. Our favorite, the perky “Janet M.” from Midland, MI – “I’ve only been using Pearl Cream for a few weeks and my grandchildren think I’ve had a facelift!” … Wow! Three cheers for facelifts everyone!

For some reason, Pearl Cream isn’t even mentioned on the Nancy Kwan Wikipedia page. Guess Pearl Cream just isn’t an official part of her legacy.