I made up for the fact that we only had broadcast television growing up with the sheer volume of television I watched. Between morning cartoons and evening sitcoms, the breadth and depth of commercials I was exposed to was vast, and many stayed with me. These five featured below are some of the ones that I remember best from watching TV in the 1980s, but before we get into them here are a couple of bonus honorable mention commercials.
Time to Make the Donuts
The slogan for Dunkin’ Donuts was so catchy that I barely even noticed that there were no Dunkin’ Donuts in Northern Ohio. We didn’t get a Dunkin’ until around 2004, at which time this series of commercials had been airing for 13 years. The one thing that really stands out in these ads is how much Fred the Baker truly hates his job, which doesn’t say great things about Dunkin’ Donuts but it is an accurate preview of adult life for kids.
Keep the hot side hot and the cool side cool
Another commercial I loved for a product I didn’t eat! Unlike Dunkin’ Donuts at least we had the McDLT. I didn’t care much about keeping the hot side hot and the cold side cold, because as a child I didn’t eat lettuce and tomato. As an adult I still don’t eat tomato and I only barely eat lettuce. Besides, why would you get a burger without cheese? I was happy to stick with my variations on the cheeseburger. The Jason Alexander McDLT commercial is better known, but I included this one because it’s a more straightforward rendition of the slogan.
The taste is gonna move ya
Initially I had Doublemint Gum in this spot and I was going to talk about how twins are abominations because they’re each essentially half a person, but the Juicy Fruit jingle is honestly much better (here’s an article about the twins though if you’re interested). The gum itself was boring as hell for a kid. You couldn’t blow big bubbles with it, and the fruit flavor was too mild to get excited about. When Bubble Tape, Bubblicious, and Bubble Yum exists, so self-respecting 8-year-old was reaching for Juicy Fruit. Also the ads were vaguely weirdly sexual.
From you, alright? I learned it by watching you.
Look, let’s cut to the chase. That dad does not look like he parties. Also the kid makes it sound like he’s only getting high to punish his dad. What I’m saying is, apparently a lot of pot is being smoked in that house, and nobody’s enjoying it. Was it even pot? I assumed so, but it’s difficult to identify anything that’s going on in that cigar box. I of course loved Rachel Leigh Cook smashing up a kitchen in “this is your brain on drugs” as well, but this line pops into my head more often than that one.
Clap on Clap Off. The Clapper.
For as often as this commercial was repeated and parodied in popular culture, I’m not sure I ever met a single person who had the Clapper in his or her house, and I had nine aunts and uncles on my dad’s side alone. Between this and Life Alert, some of the most popular slogans were for products most people didn’t use. I admit I always liked the concept behind the Clapper. For a child, this was cutting edge technology. Despite nobody owning them, Clappers are still available for purchase today.
What were your favorite commercial slogans? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
There was a Dunkin Donuts on Leavitt Road right next to Mr. Hero for the duration of the ’90s until it moved into the combination Baskin-Robbins/DD.