He had already been a thing in Britain before the Coke deal. In 1985, he was this kooky talk/music video host, and these shows later aired on Cinemax in the states.
Those commercials were hitting about the same time that ABC aired the pilot movie in the states (late 1986). The series came about 6 months later.
*sigh* And his series gave many of us Americans our first glimpse of Amanda Pays. *sigh*
Max Headroom ... The Flash ... even that turd Leviathan. I thank you all for introducing me to Amanda Pays!