Oh, the 80s.
A decade of regrettable hairstyles, heartfelt anthems we love to belt out at wedding receptions, and, as it turns out, some pretty epic advertising.
When I was hunting around on YouTube not too long ago for the awesome new Michael Bolton Starburst commercials, I stumbled upon another Starburst ad from 1986 and it’s just terrible. And terribly entertaining. See for yourself:
See? Told you it was good. This gem of an ad inspired me to look into other commercials from the 1980s to see what other great stuff was out there. And — good news — I found some amazing work.
I quickly became aware of two main themes that seemed to be quite popular for TV ads in the 80s: incorporating a song about the featured product was, for some reason, vitally important and when it came to voice overs (the announcer who’s reading the script while the commercial is going on), it seemed that European was the way to go (though this second trend isn’t well-represented in the sample set below).
Also, is it just me or does the food included in commercials from this era look pretty gross in general? Oh, and please check out the wildly abundant (insert sarcasm here) representation of diversity. Geez.
Without further ado, I give you a quick sampling of some of my favorite commercials of the 80s:
I have very few words to describe this Taco Bell ad to you. I’m especially confused-slash-disgusted by the way the little girl in the spot was directed to eat her taco. I’ve never seen anyone do this, and hope to never see it again:
I mean, I’d definitely have bought some TAB cola in 1984 after seeing a convincing ad like this one:
Wow — I wish I’d been older in the 80s so I could have flown more. Who knew airports and plane rides could be this much fun (and feel so much like a cheesy sitcom)?:
Folks were driving in the lap of luxury in the 1987 Ford Aerostar. Check it:
Here’s a bit of a tearjerker from good ole McDonald’s. Because — let’s face it — what 80s kid DIDN’T grow up with McDonald’s?:
Celeb sighting in this Burger King ad! Take a look at fresh-faced Meg Ryan letting hungry people know about the “Aren’t you hungry for a Whopper?” game at BK:
Were people really not allowed to be shown drinking alcohol on commercials in the 80s? If that was the case, this is a pretty clever Foster’s ad:
Do any throw back ads come to mind for you? Please share in the comments if you have any great ones to pass along!