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Stay tuned, folks! We'll be right back after a word from our sponsors! Hello Retro Junkies! If you couldn't tell by the title and description, this is an article about retro commercials!
Commercials. Back then, we just thought they got in the way of our time on the tube. But nowadays, they are gems used to preserve memories of our past. The 80's and 90's had amazing products, and they had amazing ways of advertising those products. So, let's take you all on a nostalgia trip as we take a look at the commercials and PSAs of the 80's and 90's. Why do this? Not only to give you my thoughts on these retro commercials, and to jog your guys' memories.
Sega Genesis: Genesis Does!
Let's be honest, who DOESN'T know this commercial? The tagline "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" will stick in the hearts of gamers for many years to come. Because Sega's Master System sold poorly, for their new console, they needed something to draw attention to their console. By mocking Nintendo, people talked about their product more, and when people talk about your product, they buy it. It was genius, and although Nintendo took shots at Sega, they weren't as iconic as this commercial. God bless Sega. It's a shame that when the Saturn came out, they followed up on Sony's trend and just started making weird/creepy commercials. At least the Dreamcast commercials were funny.
PSA: I Learned it by Watching You!
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This is one of those drug PSAs people could say in their sleep. It's the third most viewed commercial on this website! The setup is classic. A parent asks his child who taught him how to do drugs, and the kid says "I learned by watching you!" I don't understand why this PSA is so famous. Was it because it played on TV a lot? Is it because of the look the father gives at the end? Is it the narrator? I don't know, nobody knows. It's just one of those PSAs that impacted us, even though it was directed towards parents. PSAs always felt incredibly awkward to me, but I liked this one among a couple others for some reason. Is it the best PSA ever? No, that's coming later. Is it close? Sure is.
Cereal: A Fruity Pebbles Christmas!
"Hey, this was downloaded from RetroJunk! Remember when you could do that?"
Another commercial that should spark memories from your past, as far back as 1987. Fruity Pebbles was always one of my favorite cereals, and Christmas was one of my favorite holidays, so it's a perfect combination. It starts off like any other commercial, and then Santa pops up. I must ask, if St. Nick was born roughly 300 years after Christ, how is he in the prehistoric times? Ah well, it's still a great commercial that evokes a true Christmas spirit. Not bad for a series of cereal commercials involving two cavemen fighting over a box of cereal when there's clearly more boxes at the store.
Mcdonalds: Super Mario Bros. 3!
I wanted to throw Mcdonalds and Mario into this article, but I figured "knock 'em both out!" Thus, I chose this commercial. Now, this commercial really isn't anything special. I mean, it has some good animation and it advertises the Happy Meal well enough, but I just wanted to talk about these toys. The Goomba was one of my favorites, however, if you couldn't tell by looking at the commercial, they were pretty flimsy and broke really easily. Luckily, I own the Luigi toy, so the memories of these toys will live on. Unfortunately, the Luigi toy has to be the blandest toy of them, all, as it just spins in circles. Wow, thank you so much. The only toy that survives sucks the most. Luigi is cool, but he's no match for my Sonic and Knuckles Happy Meal!
PSA: This is Your Brain on Drugs!
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This is another famous PSA, but unlike our previous entry, this one actually has some humor value and is actually a bit chuckle-worthy. The punchline is classic. I'm not even gonna repeat it, because it wouldn't do this PSA justice. Released in 1987, when you first saw this back then, you had to of at least CRACKED a smile. Get it? Cracked, and the eggs? Aw, you guys stink! Ah, whatever. This PSA taught us a good lesson, that our brains are eggs and that if we do drugs, our brain/eggs get scrambled. If you didn't like this iteration, don't worry! In the 90's, this BEAST was broadcasts across the airwaves.
Admittedly, I didn't know about this ad until I began watching Robot Chicken, but the point still stands. This chick is insane. And for all you gamers out there, apparently this chick did the voice for Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy 8! Hurray! You tell me, do you want a simple approach, or an insane approach for commercials/PSAs? Comment below! But, for now, we gotta keep going with our commercial break.
Video Games: It's a Mario Party!
Don't worry, there will be a couple more video game commercials, I just wanted to start it up with a funny one. When I talk about 90's video gaming commercials, I'm shocked to not hear this one get a lot of attention, because honestly, this one's pretty funny. It's LITERALLY a "Mario Party". Mario is screwing around with some kids at this party and the police come. After advertising the game a bit, it comes to a concluding shot of Mario getting dragged away by the police with a funny line. Watch it for yourself! Mario Party was a lot of fun, ignoring the broken controllers after mashing the buttons so much on the INSANE mini games. However, it would be even more fun is Mario was there. If he failed, it would be classic to hear Mario just start cussing up a storm. A great commercial for a great game.
Toys: The USS Flag! Oh Yeah!
Oh man. If you were a kid, you WANTED this toy. I think the kids in this commercial put it best: "It's so big!" This toy looks like a lot of fun, and the way they show it in the commercial is awesome, with a bunch of kids playing with the play set. I've seen this thing in person before. If you've ever been to Cleveland, they have a store called "Big Fun", and they sell a whole bunch of retro toys and video games there. They have a huge display which hosts the USS Flag in a glass case, with Godzilla attacking with fighter jets hung up by strings, Star Wars characters running around, the Smurfs having a jolly ol' time, and several other retro icons. Things like that make we wish I had the USS Flag as a child , so I could live out that scenario with all of my toys. At my current age, I can't really "play" with toys, but I make stop motions, so I guess that's a close second.
Drinks: Hi-C's Ecto Cooler! Mmm!
Ecto Cooler! Now, I gotta be honest, I never had Ecto Cooler. Well, at least when it was labeled as Ecto Cooler. I, however, did drink it when it was labeled under "Shoutin' Orange Tangerine". Yes, I know it was like 2002, but you're never too old for Hi-C. When I go to Mcdonalds nowadays, I get the Hi-C drink in a large cup! But, back to Ecto Cooler, this was an AWESOME drink. If it wasn't obvious from the commercial, this drink was invented to tie in with the first Ghosbusters movie, but this drink only helped support the awesome film. One of the most satisfying drinks to have when you're thirsty. When it was sadly discontinued in 2007, I'm sure many people were sad. Luckily, there is a way to replicate the recipe. Follow the link below to relive your childhood:
Don't get caught in the crossfire! Crossfire was a "board game" that always was a lot of fun. However, it could never live up to the commercials. There's the awesome one above, and there's the less climactic commercial from 1992, which you can find below. Well known for it's futuristic environment, this commercial for Crossfire really took the idea of shooting marbles at bigger marbles to the fullest, and it shows. While the game was fun, the gun always got jammed, and when you tried to fix it, the enemy could start shooting the bigger marble into your goal, and then you'd lose. Whatever, I enjoyed the game, I enjoyed the commercial, and I bet you did too. I think the best part of this commercial is how over the top everything is and how that kid just spins away into the unknown when he loses. Oh, man, that's gotta suck. So, before we continue, let's take a look at the original version of the Crossfire commercial.
That's nowhere near as cool.
Cereal: Cookie Crisp Mascot #501
Coooookie Crisp! As a kid, you probably hated this commercial. Why? Because every kid at school would just keep shouting "COOOOKIE CRISP!" Now, nobody I knew really liked Cookie Crisp, so I never had this issue, but I enjoyed the cereal. it's like dipping cookies in milk, and then they kissed and created Cookie Crisp. Most cereal mascots change over time, and Cookie Crisp is a prime example of that. It goes as such: First, a wizard. Second, cops and robbers. Third, cops and robbers with a dog companion. Fourth, the dog himself. Finally, a grey wolf wearing a red sports jacket. Out of all of these, my favorite was always the Cop + Robber + Dog combo, just because it just seemed to be the most fun group of mascots, and the fact that I liked the art style in these commercials the most, which is why it's landed a spot in this commercial break.
Drinks: Crystal Pepsi: RIGHT NOW!
Crystal Pepsi! Another drink so many people had an obsession with, and I honestly couldn't see why. Granted, I guess it's cool how "revolutionary" it is, but it's just clear Pepsi. It's cool, but I don't think it needs to be on every single little "Foods" article on these retro websites. However, I like the idea that cola drinks can be clear, and the commercial to accompany it was pretty awesome. This "launch" commercial is pretty cool, and I like the song. I'm a Van Halen nut, so I should figuratively like this commercial, but what I love the most is the editing. It's so 90's, and I love it for that, and it treats the idea of clear cola like the next step towards something greater. So yeah, Crystal Pepsi. Cool drink, but perhaps a bit overrated.
Toys: Micro Machines Guy Speaks Gibberish!
Oh yeah! If you didn't know who this guy was, he is John Moschitta, the winner of the award for the "World's Fastest Talker". Saying that would be an understatement, DO YOU HEAR THIS MAN? He speaks so fast, and he makes my head spin. The commercial itself is pretty well constructed, but I bet you recognize this guy from somewhere else. John Moschitta is also incredibly well known for his work in the infamous Fed-Ex commercial, which I honestly enjoy more. Micro Machines themselves were pretty cool, but I lost all of mine. You wanna know why? They were too frickin' small! Their biggest selling point is my biggest issue. But, it was still fun to have so many cars to play with, and John Moschitta helped contribute to the sales of these things. Oh, and if you've somehow never seen the Fed-Ex commercial, here it is.
Video Games: Sonic 2 Infomercial
If you know me, you know I hate infomercials. Just sell me product in a fun way, I don't need a 2 minute commercial giving me all the facts in a bland way. Then, this commercial came out. Not only did it make fun of the infomercial genre, but the "uses" for Sonic 2 are so stupid, and the fact that the ability to play is just a footnote is what makes this commercial classic. Back then, Sonic had some of the funniest commercials ever crafted, and this is living proof of that. Sonic 2 had another commercial which most people have probably seen, but this one was superior just for it's humor value. Nowadays, video game commercials are undeniably bland, but back then, they had a very "tongue and cheek" attitude that I can't get enough of.
PSA: One Dumb Move Will Blow Yo' Grove!
The Professor of the Rap is here to teach you about the dangers of drug abuse. Firstly, if this happened at my school, I'd be that kid dancing roughly 40 seconds into the video, because this is one funky song. I never even knew this existed until 2 years ago, but trust me, this is one of the best PSAs I've ever seen. It never takes itself too seriously, but still gets the message across that drugs can screw up your life. Whoever came up with this PSA, thank you. It's catchy, it gets the message across, and it's so ridiculous. I can't believe the teens at this school are not only bobbing their heads, but they're taking the Professor of the Rap seriously. I can't see teens enjoying this guy, but I do, and that's what matters. Whoever created this commercial, thank you, because this is the Holy Grail of PSAs.
Candy: The Simpsons' Butterfinger Ads!
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You didn't think that I was going to have a retro commercial break without mentioning one of THESE bad boys! In the early 90's, the Simpsons cartoon was becoming incredibly popular. At the same time, Butterfingers were becoming less popular. So, in a simple math equation, the two companies combined and made a large series of commercials that aired throughout the early 90's. I picked this one because it's my favorite. For starters, it's very well made, the animation is great, the premise is funny, and it's just a good commercial. The Simpsons were at their prime back then, and these commercials are proof of that. I never saw all of them before, so thanks to the internet, I could watch every single one. If you haven't seen any of these commercials before, take time out of your day to watch them, they're all pretty "delicious". God, I'll just stop trying to make puns, OK?
Pizzerias: Pizza Hut's Pizza Head!
I was always kind of indifferent towards Pizza Hut. Firstly, I always had to take a major dump right after eating it, and I mean RIGHT AFTER! Oh, did I give out too much information again? Oh well. Secondly, I had another pizzeria in my town that I liked much more than Pizza Hut. However, I will say that Pizza Hut had really awesome commercials. Some of my favorite ones were the Pizza Head commercials. Directed by the guy who wrote the Mr. Bill skits, Pizza Head showed a poor piece of pizza which took the role of Mr. Bill getting senselessly tortured, and I love them. The commercials also had a pizza cutter named Steve, who took the role of Slugo. These commercials are incredibly funny, and they managed to last for 5 years on TV! These are great commercials, because after all, who doesn't love a bit of slapstick?
PSA: Knowing is Half The Battle!
G.I. Joe! G.I. Joe was a series of army dolls released in the 1960's, and although I brought G.I. Joe up earlier in this commercial break, this one is based off of the animated series. If you watched TV in the 80's, you've seen these before. Now, these commercials have been butchered on the internet because of the stupid dubs by Fensler Films, but the originals were still pretty cool. So, what's the premise? A kid is either doing something wrong, is hurt, or doubts themselves. However, I've noticed the animation in these PSAs was pretty lackluster at times. Like, have you ever seen the PSA about eyesight?
The kid's eyes are so poorly drawn! Huh, how ironic that the PSA about eyesight has terribly drawn eyes. Also, the logic in some of these PSAs was just plain disturbing. Like in this PSA, the kids are playing in the lake, and Deep Six just pops up behind the children. Why the crap was Deep Six underwater anyways? Furthermore, what was he doing behind the children that are wearing nothing but swimsuits? Also, he scolds the children for being in the water during a storm. Well, Deep Six, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW! Other than that, there's nothing else to say. They were memorable, funny, and enjoyable. Just remember, knowing is half the battle, while the other half is shooting people and blowing stuff up.
Fast Food: Where's the Beef?!
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If you watched TV, you've seen SOME variation of this commercial. Starting in 1984, this Wendy's ad campaign took the world by storm. Personally, like Crystal Pepsi, I didn't get the appeal. I usually just took out the burger part, ate that, and gave somebody else the bun. I like the bun on burgers, but WHY'S IT GOTTA BE SO HUGE? I wasn't old enough to witness these commercials, but in 6th Grade, my Language Arts teacher showed us a VHS tape full of his favorite commercials. One of the first commercials on the tape was this commercial. Admittedly, I enjoyed the tape, but that's another story. I haven't been to Wendy's in forever, so I wouldn't know if they still have the huge buns, but I do know that this commercial is one of Wendy's most memorable advertising campaigns. The only other advertising campaign I can immediately think of were the commercials which featured Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas (R.I.P). Well, Wendy's had good commercials, and this one was pretty "easy to swallow". Look, I know I made a promise! There won't be any more puns! I promise!
Toys: The Skip-It...Thing...
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Remember these things? I do, and I hated them. I'm not gonna try to explain this toy, as the low quality commercial is pretty self-explanatory. I remember owning these things, and all that happened was I sold mine at a garage sale after a couple years due to me just realizing how worthless it was. Honestly, if you want a toy where you jump around like an idiot, I'd recommend jump roping. However, for those years I did have this "thing", I did play with it a lot. The coolest thing was the counter, and I usually tried screwing around with the Skip It's counter by flinging it around randomly and seeing if I could make it go all the way to 999. The song in this commercial is a fun tune, however, it certainly didn't get stuck in my head. Maybe it did for you, but for me, it couldn't get stuck in my head. Ah, whatever. This is one commercial in your retro catalog you shouldn't "skip". OH GOD I'M SO SORRY.
You know what, commercials aren't too bad. We usually think of them as intrusive and getting in the way of our feature presentation. As a matter of fact, I wanna see more commercials. I wanna see that one for BattleTanks! LiteBrites, anyone? Oh man, I'm just so excited! What's next?
"WE NOW CONTINUE OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION OF BATMAN RETURNS!"
Thank you for reading! You guys have to admit, commercials had major impacts on us personally. We all look at these classic commercials differently, and I'm glad you listened to my opinion! Also, I thank you guys for enjoying my pizza article, as I put a lot of work into it. Sorry if this article doesn't live up to that one, but my next one may.
Coming soon to RetroJunk: "You wanna rent a movie?"