Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thursday Memories -- Old Comercials

When I was a child, it seems that comericals were different. They cost less to make and were simpler. And some of them have stuck with me.

Could you begin to picture a comercial that is simply a line drawing of Indians paddling a canoe singing "You wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent". I can still hear the jingle in my head but I haven't seen Pepsodent toothpaste since I was a kid. All I remember is the tube was white with a red banner. Of course there was also Ultra-brite which gave "your mouth sex (an elderly lady covers her mouth and gasps) Appeal", as it assured you that their toothpaste would land you the girl (or guy) of your dreams as they could not resist your sparkling teeth.

I am old enough to remember cigarette comercials on TV. In my mind I can still conjur up jingles such as "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!" or "You can take Salem out of the country but ... You can't take the Country out of Salem." I also remember Virginia Slims encouraging women to be independent by becoming hooked on Tobacco (You've got your own cigarette now, baby . . . you've come a long, long way!". I have seen documentaries showing cigarette comercials from before I was born where someone would tell how smoking would improve your health. How times have changed. Some Cigarette comercials, off the air for many years, can be seen here. (Go to the Home page on that site and look around. A lot of memories. -- but ignore the Internet Neutrality nonsense that is sprinkled through the site.)

Because comercials were cheaper to make and air, they existed for things you would never picture for today. For example:

Bar candy disappears in a few bites
Bag candy disappears in a few dumps
But . . . chewy chewy Tootsie Roll lasts a long time.

Could you imagine a comerical for Tootsie Roll today?

Or comercials for a chewing gum? You would see a cup of coffee that was slowly stretched as you were urged to "Stretch your coffee break, top it off with Juicy Fruit gum."

Of course the double meaning is nothing new; just listen to a sultry feminine voice saying:
All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all! (English Leather is an old brand of Aftershave.)

And for desperate men there was Hai Karate an aftershave that women found so irresistable that every bottle included martial arts instructions so that men could fight them off like the guys in the comercials had to. ("Wow! What's that aftershave you're wearing?" "Get back!!! HiiiiYaa!" "Get Hai Karate! Martial Arts instructions with every bottle!")

In the days before Nike there were the old PF Flyers, a tennis shoe that included an "action wedge" that allowed a boy to "run faster and jump higher" (and save his little sister who was being taken by kidnappers!) I don't know what the action wedge was but my guess is that it was nothing that would really work.

But some of the most memorable were for a product that still exists, namely Alka-Seltzer. I don't know who did their comericals but they were well thought out.

A guy sitting on the edge of the bed moaning miserably to his wife:
I can't believe I ate the whole thing. (You ate it Ralph).
I can't believe I ate the whole thing. (No Ralph I ate it)
I can't believe I ate the whole thing. (Ralph take two Alka-Seltzer!)
The guy now smiling cheerfully
Did you take your Alka Seltzer?
The whole thing.

Or a guy sitting in a Restaurant
The waitress brings me this dish saying "Try it! You'll like it!"
What is it? "Try it! You'll like it!"
But what is it? "Try it! You'll like it!"
So I tried it! . . . I didn't like it.
Took two Alka-Seltzers.
Try them! You'll like them!

There were so many others that have faded away. I remember Rice Krispies being served as the as the subject of an opera. There was Imperial Margarine that caused a crown to appear on your head when you first tried it. I don't know if this was local or nationwide, but there was From the valley of the Jolly (Ho! Ho! Ho!) Green Giant!" advertising Green Giant Vegetables.

The fact that I can remember these comercials 30 and 40 years later means that they were, in some way, successful in planting themselves in my mind. I guess that is the point of advertising.


Anonymous Roger Thornhill said...

Yes, the Valley of the 'Ho ho ho'is somewhere near Pasadena these days..

Remember the giant hammer and anvil in the black and white head? Pounding .. pounding..
Anacin! Then the tablet made it into the animated stomach from the mouth, got past the flapper valve (which rejected Bufferin --or was it the other way around?) and brought FAST FAST FAST relief.

Repetion is the key to success in the Ad game. And humor.

"9 out of ten Doctors prefer the mellow smoothness of Camel cigarettes."

Heh. If the actor wore a white coat, you assumed he has authority (once he removed his hornrimmed specs and stared you in the eye).

Examples of repetitive ads that work, although I hate them both, is the ultimately annoying "AFLACK" (Gilbert Gottfried) and Ned, the DiTech guy.

Awful, but effective advertising.

"Where's the beef?" --


2:59 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Someone sells a VHS tape and/or DVD of old commercials. I think they had an infomercial awhile back.

I had thought about buying it, still might if I run across it again, just for nostalgia's sake.

Remember -- "Brill Cream, a little dab'll do ya, Brill Cream, the gals will all pursue ya'." or "Let hertz put you in the driver's seat" where the guy descends from above to land behind the wheel of a moving convertible.


9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite TV commercial was the Indian Iron Eyes Cody and the tear he shed because of all the litter that was overtaking the country in the 1970's. Most influential for me.

11:09 PM  
Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

The voice over on the Keep America Beautiful spot was also great --William Conrad-- who later portrayed PI Frank Cannon.

An old-time Radio actor, Conrad portrayed Matt Dillon on radio's Gunsmoke program, in the late 40's and early 50's.

He had one of the best set of 'pipes' in the broadcasting business.

10:49 AM  
Blogger armed_and_christian said...

Not only do I remember the English Leather commercials, it is the only cologne I wear. Admittedly, it is getting a little more difficult to find every year, but it is a gift I look forward to receiving every Christmas.

Remember the Pepto...(insert footage of a pastel-colored person with their abdomen being stretched like silly putty) Bismol commercials?

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I found myself singing the (now considered utterly un-PC) "I am the Frito Bandito!" song the other day.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the, 'Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is' song for Alka Seltzer.

6:08 PM  
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