The 1980s not only gave us great movies, cartoons, and TV shows, but great commercials in general. This is a retrospective of the top 10 TV commercials of the 80's.
I can't remember the last advertisement that impressed me. I think it's because I don't see ads anymore. I rarely watch cable TV, and when I do it's on demand or DVR. The only thing I usually watch live is sports and I usually start the game late so I can work on commercials.
This is a difficult time for advertisers as it becomes increasingly difficult to get your message across to an advertiser.
In the 80's it was easy. With only three channels, television was all she had to focus on and there was a very good chance most of her viewers would be watching. Nowadays, advertisers aren't even sure where to go for people to see their ads. do you keep the tv In line? Try joining a streaming service, even the biggest, Netflix, is ad-free.
In the 80's there were no worries about that and you could focus mainly on TV. I think that's why some of the most iconic commercials of all time came out this decade. Since there really weren't any other forms of entertainment, television was all we had. And that meant there was a very good chance a lot of people would see your ad.
We got some really innovative, fun, and culturally significant TV ads in the 80's, and today I'm going to count down the top 10. Here we go.
10. Milk - "It's good for the body"
Damn, that was a great commercial in the 80's. Despite all the problems that can come with processed dairy, this commercial did a super effective job of conveying the benefits of milk. He connects with every kid who was a skinny, lanky teenager and gets them this idea of how he can change that with his product.
The boy in this commercial is trying to woo a supermodel, but by drinking milk he begins to mature physically.
This is just as effective as marketing as it pinpoints a pain point and how to overcome it with the specific product. It's weird to think of milk as a product, but it's that approach that led to it becoming one of the best TV commercials of the '80s, showing how important the message is, and with a solid premise: no blitz or flash required. Excess.
9. Kool-Aid – „Oh, Ela!“
The 6ft tall glass jar of Cherry Kool-Aid known as the "Kool-Aid Man" dates back to the 1950's when it was known as the "Pitcher Man". In 1974, thanks to advertising agency Gray Advertising, he became the Kool-Aid man we all love. He also started using the family catchphrase.
But it wasn't until the '80s that it reached pop culture status. It all started in 1979, when a simple and in the history of children's advertising really important effect was used: the mouth moved.
Until then, there were regulations on how advertising could be made for children, since cartoons used to confuse children when they were used in a commercial. Young children cannot tell the difference between a cartoon and a commercial, and the use of cartoons has been viewed as exploitative marketing.
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan repealed all of these regulations (read more about the importance ofthe 80s and deregulation on my blog here) and advertisers were now free to advertise to children. That's when Kool-Aid Man really took off.
8. Coca-Cola - "New Cola, ride the wave"
This is significant in the light of the recent New Coke disaster and deserves a spot in the top 10 television commercials of the '80s.
You can readThe whole story I wrote here. Aber New Coke wurde als Versuch angesehen, die jetzt wackelige Soda-Firma zu verjüngen und sie wie die neue Mode-Cola aussehen zu lassen, zu der Pepsi geworden war.
This meant turning to creatingMaximum heightIt was used to spread the word about the new MTV. New wave music was a huge movement in the '80s, and MTV and Max Headroom caught it all.
Coca-Cola found this to be a perfect fit to ensure their new drink is also seen in this new light.
But it did not work. That's mainly because they removed the original cola and everyone went nuts. The response to New Coke was so great that it was abandoned a few months later and the original recipe was brought back as the "Coca-Cola Classic".
This was a huge commercial in the 1980s as it created a new movement by changing the cultural landscape and deserves a spot for its historical significance.
7. Folgers - "The Best Part of Waking Up"
This jingle has probably been in your head every day since it first aired in 1984. Folgers has used this slogan for years, but it remains one of the most significant commercials of the 80's as it conveys the message of what this moment is all about... good. . Coffee has one of the best jingles ever written.
The jingle was sung by Leslie Pearl, a singer-songwriter who had a number of chart-topping songs. Then he started writing songs and later jingles. "The Best Part of Waking Up" was their biggest hit in 25 years and became one of the most-used jingles in commercial history.
6. Tootsie Pop – „Quantos-Licks?“
One of the most iconic commercials of the 80's and of all time. This incredibly simple ad had a catchphrase that's part of '80s kid culture. Dating back to 1982, the ad left us wondering for the rest of our lives how many licks does it really take to get center stage in a tootsie pop?
As a kid, I wanted one more than anything. Not necessarily to find out the exact number, but at least to be in the thick of it and be part of the conversation. The original commercial dates back to the 1970s and featured a turtle, a cow and a fox in addition to the owl.
It was 60 seconds long and deemed too long and later cut to 30 and 15 seconds featuring only the owl, which became the commercial you know from the 80's and one of the best of all time.
5. Pepsi – "Pepsi-Generation"
It's hard to believe now, but there was a time when Michael Jackson was the greatest thing imaginable. Pepsi was able to capitalize on its incredible popularity, leading to the rebranding as "cool coke".
This commercial dates back to 1984 and blew my mind. It's been two years since the release of Thriller and Michael Jackson has been pretty mythical. Pepsi is also responsible for nearly killing him in an ad featuring a concert and pyrotechnics setting Michael Jackson on fire.
The Pepsi Generation ad is also notable for featuring a young Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton Banks, from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
4. Miller Lite - "Flavours great!...Less filler!"
This '80s TV commercial was like the "What up!" In its day it was a classic call and response that could be heard everywhere from bars to sporting events. It's one of the most memorable quotes of all time and is considered one of the best advertising campaigns in historyRevista advertising age.
McCann EricksonHe put together the commercial, and if you know MadMen, he's the king of all ad agencies. AfterSterling-Cooper-Draper-Precio,Naturally…
The ad leveraged major sports stars like Bob Uecker and John Madden, and the general premise was a disagreement over the catchphrase that would usually lead to some sort of fight.
3. Wrigley's Mint Gum - "Twins"
It's hard not to cite Wrigley's Doublemint Gum as the best commercial of the '80s, but there's a couple that's a little better. However, this announcement created a lot of buzz behind the product. Something as simple as chewing gum was now seen as an accessory and a way to connect with others.
The commercial used upbeat music and a breezy approach, making it feel more like an episode of "Three's Company" than a corporate message.
Wrigley had been promoting the idea of the "dual flavor" of chewing gum since 1914. They had also used twins in their marketing since the 1930s, but the 1985 Doublemint commercial created a great snapshot of the years.
She had a flair for the "yuppie" movement and sported beautifully dyed hair and pastel colors. It also included another great jingle that sounded more like a song you'd hear on the radio than just a catchphrase.
2. Wendy's - "Where's the beef?"
There are buzzwords and slogans that are memorable, and there are those that enter the collective consciousness and take on a wider life. The phrase "Where's the meat?" entered the public lexicon in the 1980s and became synonymous with questioning the substance of everything.
This ad is unique because it was made in contrast to ads like Wrigley's Doublemint Chewing Gum. These ads were all bright and shiny, and the focus here was on changing how an ad looked. It all came down to Joe Sedelmaier casting regular people, not models, and that made the entire commercial far from brilliant.
Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" introduced 82-year-old Clara Peller, who wondered why other fast food companies (McDonald's in particular) skimped so much on the meat content of their burgers.
This '80s commercial was only supposed to air for a short time, but its popularity kept it on TV for 10 weeks. And the explosion of popularity of the phrase "Where's the meat?" must not be underestimated. It was copied across society, on late-night talk shows and even in the 1984 presidential election.
During the spring 1984 primary, Democratic candidate and former Vice President Walter Mondale used the phrase to summarize that opposition Gary Hart's proposed program guidelines lacked substance.
This was at the peak of the commercial's popularity, so it was a great way to grab audience attention through the use of a catchphrase that was also quite innovative.
Visit my blogall about this story of this monumental commercial.
1. Apple - "1984"
One of the best TV commercials not only of the 80's but of all marketing history. Apple's "1984" commercial changed the way marketing was done and changed the Super Bowl forever, too.
Apple was about to release their new Macintosh computer and Steve Jobs insisted they had to force it onto the market. Apple was trying to create a revolution with what computers could be, moving away from the drone-like mechanical existence of companies like IBM.
Their goal was to create "thunder" and show what a group of rebels they were. He wanted to be a pirate in the computer world. That meant bringing in advertising agency Chiat Day, who then recruited Ridley Scott to create a Blade Runner-like dystopian future.
They wanted to get this in front of as many eyes as possible and thought the Super Bowl would be the perfect time to release it. Super Bowl advertising wasn't what it is today in 1984, so regular ads were often shown.
In Super Bowl XVIII, the Oakland Raiders had just won 28-9 after scoring a touchdown early in the third quarter. Viewers waiting for a rerun saw their screens go blank. Ominous music began to play to reveal an army of drones marching towards the ad you've no doubt seen countless times.
This commercial caused a cultural earthquake, and after the game, more people talked about the commercial than the game itself. News channels later that night ran stories about the announcements. This thing went viral before it went viral.
It changed the way commercials were made. He started a movement that turned the Super Bowl into an advertising mecca and helped propel Apple — and the Macintosh — into the stratosphere. It's a #1 pick, worthy of the best TV commercial of the '80s.
I have a fullBlog that dives much deeper into the history of this iconic commercial.
These are the top 10 TV commercials of the 80's. It's hard to pick ten, but I think I've got all my bases covered. These types of commercials were funny, innovative, and most importantly, memorable.
Some of them grew so large that they surpassed the product's sales target and became important cultural moments. I think that's the goal of every advertising agency; They dream of this kind of advertising that creates a cultural change and fits into the fabric of society.
Today it's much more difficult, but in the 1980s it was more possible to attract advertising attention. I think that's why you've seen so many iconic ads when agencies fired on all guns to break with an ad that could become "cooler talk".
It's funny how we avoided ads like the plague when we were kids. But today I keep watching YouTube commercials from the 80s to go back to that golden age.