Awesome Ads

Part of my collection of classic goodies includes old videotapes. As a youngster, I took full advantage of our VCR’s recording capabilities and recorded tons of shows and movies. We still have a bunch of them and I’ve been able to digitize them from time to time.

What I’ve found, though, is that I’m usually erasing the actual show because it’s available in some other digital form. The commercials, however, are pure gold. Companies that no longer exist, celebrities popping up “before they were stars”.

I traded a bunch of random tapes from different parts of the country, so I will sometimes find stores or locations I’ve never heard of. What was looked at as a bathroom break at the time can be a great time capsule forty years later.

And thanks to YouTube, there are thousands more at our fingertips.

Today, I just want to share a few. I’ll start with one banned from the airwaves in the U.S.:

Since its original release in 1946, Song of the South has been the most controversial of Disney’s feature films. Many critics have called it racist and offensive. Surprisingly, Disney continued to re-release it for years. This commercial was from it’s 1980 release to honor Joel Chandler Harris’ original Uncle Remus stories.

The film was still being broadcast (minus the infamous Tar Baby scene) on the Disney Channel as late as 2001. Since then, however, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner announced that any further release of any kind in the U.S. would be unlikely.

Let’s lighten the mood a bit with some disco dancing by Toy’s R Us mascots Geoffrey and friends.

I understand that the people in the costumes need a way to see, but I’d think they could find a way to blend in the viewing box a bit better.

Looking at this now, it just seems like this whole family has the same giant square birthmark in the middle of their neck.

CELEBRITY SIGHTING! Fans of Beverly Hills 90210 or the Sharknado series may recognize Ian Ziering as the amazed spectator.

Also, couldn’t Parker Brothers have used slightly different tones for this game? As soon as I heard it, all I could think of was Simon. Same sounds.

I’m not sure what the relationship is between these two, but something seems a bit strange. They kind of look alike, so they may be brother and sister, but he’s watching her with a non-familial stare. Just a bit creepy.

He wants more than just that pottery

K-Tel ads were everywhere! They ran commercials during the day and night, seven days a week. You could find collections of hard rock, love songs, or 50’s tunes. And unlike many compilations that were 80% filler, these were full of great music.

The first record I remember buying was a K-Tel compilation. I think it was called 20 Original Hits and it had KC & the Sunshine Band and Alice Cooper on it. This was probably 1975. But it had the Edgar Winter Group, his song Frankenstein, and that just rocked my world. It totally changed my life. At that point, I just listened to AM radio with my mother, and was really into Helen Reddy and Carly Simon.

Then I heard Frankenstein and was like, ‘This is music’.

Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters frontman

The thing that bugs me about this commercial is their random use of fonts. They start off with a very 80’s futuristic look:

Then mid-stream, they switch to a plain look:

Then, on the same slide, they do something different yet again. It’s bold, with less shadow.

Thinking it may have been a fluke, I watched the rest of the commercial and they continued to do it!

That’s just sloppy.

But maybe it was just a bad day for this editor and this was an isolated incident.


Here’s an ABBA collection. Notice the differing fonts.

And here we are with different drop shadows again:

Why, K-Tel? WHY?!?

By the way, here’s that ABBA spot. Go ahead. You can watch it. You know you love them. It will be our secret:

Finally, I’d like to leave you with one of the greatest commercials from this generation. No commentary with this. Just enjoy it:

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