2/18/13

The Boob Tube #37: The Top Commercials of the Seventies


This is that moment when the customer realizes the "ancient Chinese secret" is BS, and it's just a lousy box of Calgon. "Some Hotshot"

This is a list of the top seventies commercials.  Not the best - just the top.  The most memorable, iconic, oft repeated, stuck-in-my-head-until-the-day-I-die commercials.  I love them for their simplicity; a stark contrast to today's "irony" laden sensory explosions.




It wasn't hard to find the sexual undertones of the Charmin commercial.  Not only was the repressed homemaker doing something naughty by squeezing the Charmin (oh, so forbidden and illicit), but they also appeared to be a the point of climax before Mr. Whipple interrupted the ecstasy. 


So simplistic: a picky eater starts chowing down, while the older kids stare aghast.  He hates friggin' everything, yet he eats this cereal.  Who would've thought this commercial would gain such momentum?


I know the whole "plop plop fizz fizz" thing started in the sixties; however, it was the seventies where it latched onto the public consciousness with horrifying alacrity.  "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" was another Alka-Seltzer brain adhesive.


Madge was such a busybody bitch.  She's a manicurist who criticizes the hands of every one of her customers, shaming them.  Then, to add insult to injury, she tells them their fingers are soaking in dishwashing liquid.  Why Madge became such a TV legend (the likes of which Geico's Flo could only dream) is beyond me.  And yet there it is.


Commercials were so damn simple back then.  Bounty is the "quicker picker upper".  Done.  That's you're commercial.  No irony, no flashing seizure-inducing imagery, no indie-music.... just Rosie and her paper towels.


The Hilltop Singers with their hippie mantra spoke to the Boomers, I guess. It wasn't just carbonated high-fructose corn syrup, it was the solution to world peace.

To appreciate the genius of generating the catch phrase that just won't die - take for example the failed attempt by Noxema shaving cream - "great balls o' comfort".  They get points for trying, but it just wasn't going to happen.


The Norelco electric razor commercials may not be as memorable, but they were plenty effective back in the day.  The "movie trailer guy" (LaFontaine) narrates this gem with the same gusto as he did the blaxploitation previews.  When he said "Gotcha" it was like a kung-fu kick to the nads.


It always kind of bothered me that the owl ate that kid's Tootsie Pop.  I wonder why it never bothered me that the kid was stark naked.


"Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!' Over and over again the housewife is taunted by animals and inanimate objects proclaiming her failure as a homemaker.  Thank God Wisk will save her from her husband's disappointment (or wrath).

Honorable mentions:
"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" (Chiffon Margarine)
"Whatever it is I think I see becomes a Tootsie Roll to Me"
and, of course, Slinky - the biggest perpetrator of false advertising in TV history.  How they made it walk down stairs before CGI is beyond me.

58 comments:

  1. Throwing my own top picks, since that's what we do here.

    Nair "we wear short shorts." Lots of legs.
    Hanes "gentlemen prefer Hanes." Even more legs.
    L'eggs "nothing beats a great pair of L'eggs." You can see where I'm going.
    Folger's with Mrs. Olson. "It's mountain grown."
    Playtex 18-hour girdle "I forgot I had it on!" and the I Can't Believe It's a Girdle girdle.

    Coffee and women's underthings. I'd better throw in an Alka Seltzer "I can't believe I ate that whole thing" and "mama mia, that's a spicy meatball."

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  2. "Try it, you'll like it...so I tried it. Thought I was gonna die."

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  3. I love the UK attempt to pass powdered potato off as high-tech:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SAbJjktk7E

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  4. Great choices, all memorable. Not sure if this was just local or national, but every Wednesday I still think is Prince Spaghetti Day! Anthony!!!

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  5. No Juan Valdez? No "Hi, Guy!" fella poking his head through the bathroom mirror? No "Here comes the King! Here comes the King, here comes the Big Number 1!"? No Imperial "Crown" references? No "Butter...PARKAY!" references? FOR SHAME. I don't even remember the "Great Balls of Comfort" thing, and hated the "GOTCHA!" commercial. I liked the "Scrubbing Bubbles," the RAID insects, the Green Giant, and the commercial about "The DRY look...the WET look!" that featured classic superheroes in their secret identity, and then their superhero identity...just can't remember what the product was - I think it was Vitalis, but I'm not sure. And the Calgonite "Spot-maker" commercial freaked me out when I was a kid. The Koogle peanut butter character was weird, too, as were the FREAKIES cereal freaks who lived in that weird tree...

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    Replies
    1. The product which had a commercial with comic book heroes was called Dry Look. I've found a few of their commercials on You Tube but the comic book one is nowhere to be seen. They also had one where a chorus would sing "THE WET HEAD IS DEAD! THE WET HEAD IS DEAD" to the tune of Beethoven's 5th.

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  6. Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle, onion on a sesame seed bun. The Big Mac.

    Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us. Burger King.

    My Baloney has a first name, it O-S-C-A-R, my baloney has a second name... (My wife can sing the whole thing) This one is certainly a top 10 in my list.

    We will serve no wine before it's time. Although, that might have been early '80s, I'm not sure.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a heck of a lot Retro.
      Now I will be humming O-S-C-A-R all day!!!!

      That, and "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us. All we ask is that you let us service you way."

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    2. Anytime I can put an annoyance in someone's life, I will. Your welcome.

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  7. Oh yeah! The Iron Eyes Cody pollution commercial!

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    Replies
    1. Ditto on Iron Eyes Cody. That tear streaming down his face is priceless.

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    2. Yeah.. it's priceless because Iron Eyes was a Sicilian, who laughed his way all the way to the bank pretending to be an Indian. Google Iron Eyes Cody and see for yourself.

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  8. I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to a Pepper too?

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  9. When it's time to relax...... one beer stands clear, beer after beer.
    Miiiiiller tastes too good, to hurry through..... So when it's time to relax, one beer stands clear: Miller Beer!

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  10. Eugene Roche proclaiming "Ajax gets dishes so clean, they squeak!"

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  11. Who remembers....
    "when it says Libby's, Libby's, Libby's
    On the label, label, label....."

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    Replies
    1. They will like it, like it, like it
      on the table, table, table.

      Delete
  12. Hot dogs. Armour hot dogs. What kind of kids eat armour hot dogs ?
    America loves burgers, and we're America's Burger King.
    Mean Joe Greene downing a bottle of coke offered by a litte boy. "Hey kid. Catch !" Often ranked as one of the greatest commercials ever.

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    Replies
    1. Heck yeah! The Mean Joe Green commercial!

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  13. Doesn't anyone want to flick my Bic?

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    Replies
    1. "This room may be dark, but with the flick of my Bic I can see you're a hick." I laughed for an hour.

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  14. I remember a fake commercial on Saturday Night Live about a product that the husband and wife argued back and forth "It's a floor wax!", "It's a dessert topping!". I don't remember what this was a parody of. Then there was the Lark cigarette parody where they drive around town in a truck with a big sign that says "Show us your guns".

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    Replies
    1. Dave (in MA)February 28, 2013

      Razzles. First it's a candy, then it's a gum.

      Delete
  15. The Maytag Repairman and Peanuts Dolly Madison ads.
    I also recall a commercial for a Ford product that had a couple being surrounded by Secret Service and driven to The White House because the Secret Service mistook the car for a Mercedes and though the couple were foreign dignitaries.

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  16. In the late 60's, Calgon ran a great ad produced by George Romero and featuring several actors from Night of the Living Dead. It was a parody of Fantastic Voyage. They must have quit using it because they changed the design of the box.

    I also loved watching Avery Schiber cause earthquakes when he ate Dorritos.

    Also liked the Aqua Velva ads where someone would slap a guy with a handful of Aqua Velva. The person would then say, "Thanks, I needed that." That line was also used by Frankie on the Groovy Ghoulies.

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    Replies
    1. Pretty sure "Thanks, I needed that" was Skin Bracer...Aqua Velva had the "Aqua Velva Man"

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    2. You are right on that. Sorry, I got those mixed up. BTW, if anyone is interested here is a link to the Calgon ad I was referring to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUdV67CQXlE

      Delete
  17. Volkswagen had some great ads for their Bug - I liked the one with the funeral caravan, and the 1948 Auto Show with the VW unnoticed in a sea of big flashy DeSotos, Hudsons, Packards...

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  18. ♫ So alwaays loook forrrrr the yoonyun laaabelll...♪

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  19. Jeez, Gilligan. Look what you've started. :) It just goes to show that a creative (and usually simple) ad campaign will more than pay off. Today's TV advertisers have to face the fact that an ever increasing number of people are skipping past the commercials. Some have come full circle and are featuring the stars from the shows that the ads are appearing in. Like Amy Poehler. Just like the old days when The Andy Griffith Show's commercial break would show Andy the others enjoying Post Toasties or Maxwell House.

    Now excuse me while I fight off all the chicks coming on to me because of my Hai Karate aftershave.

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    Replies
    1. Be careful how you use it!!!

      Delete
  20. Ooey gooey rich and chewy inside.
    Golden flaky tender cakey outside.
    Wrap the inside in the outside is it good? Darn tootin!
    Doing the big fig newton!

    This may go back to the late 60's, but how many kids snatched their mom's pearl earrings and dropped them into a bottle of Prell shampoo?

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  21. I always got my Slinky to go down the stairs with no problem!

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  22. Who wants a pop? Who wants a Shasta?

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  23. No one has mentioned "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

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  24. One of my favorites from my early youth was the Levi's ad which is called the laughing Levi's commercial.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YZSG12-3Vg

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    Replies
    1. Levi's used to have some great commercials! Two of my favorites were the Levi's mine, which looked like an animated painting, and the "Trademark' where the camera walks the Levi's trademark like a dog through a surrealistic landscape.

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    2. The voiceovers on those was an announcer named Ken Nordine. He made several spoken word records in the 50s backed by a jazz band. Most of them were as surreal and freaky as Levi's ads.

      Delete
  25. "I like to take a ride very high in the sky with my... Three Musketeers". A classic. The shots of the hot air balloon made eating a Three Musketeers candy bar an adventure.

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  26. Here's to good friends, tonight is kinda special...Let it be Löwenbräu.

    Brush your breath, brush your breath, brush your breath with Dentyne!

    Sorry Charlie.

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  27. Not all from the 70's but just off the top of my head:

    It's the water, and a lot more.

    When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer.

    Ford has a better idea.

    GM, mark of excellence.

    Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?

    In the valley of the jolly, HO HO HO, Green Giant.

    Uh oh, Spaghetti-ohs!

    Fly the friendly skies, of United

    At Zenith, the quality goes in before the name goes on.

    Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    And isn't that a nice reflection on you

    Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee

    M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand

    You only go around once in life, so you've got to grab all the gusto you can

    We've replaced the coffee in this fine restaurant with Folger's Crystals…

    No one can eat just one

    Heinz Ketchup: "Anticipation"

    We make money the old fashioned way, we earn it

    Who wants gum? I do! I do!

    Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie & Chevrolet.

    Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz.

    Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it.


    I I find it sad that all that is clogging up my brain and I can't remember where I left my keys.

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  28. Oh, and if "Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz" AND "Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it", what happens if you put Blue Bonnet margarine on a Ritz cracker? Do they keep making each other better in an endless loop until the universe implodes?

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  29. "Mother please, I'd rather do it myself!" Anacin

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  30. I seem to remember an ad from back in those days where there was a guy with a battery on his shoulder, and he dared you to knock it off or something.

    I don't remember what it was for. Anyone remember this ad?

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    Replies
    1. Robert Conrad for Eveready batteries. It isn't that hard to google "knock battery off shoulder".

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    2. Well I answered my own question. Praise be to Google!

      There were ads for Eveready batteries from the 70s, starring the actor Robert Conrad.

      check it out right here:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-oLQgvcuk

      Delete
  31. "Take it off. Take it ALL off."

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  32. Choo Choo Charlie for President
    The kids will have a friend in government
    When Charlie wins then we'll have lots of fun
    and there'll be Good and Plenty candy for everyone.

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  33. Oh, yeah! Kool-Aid's here, bringin' ya fun. Kool-Aid's here; it's got thirst on the run. get a big, wide, happy ear-to-ear Kool-Aid smi-i-ile ...

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  34. It Ain't Fried, Daddy.. It's Shake "n Bake. An AH Helped!

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  35. Wendy's "Where's the Beef?!"

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  36. AnonymousFebruary 28, 2013

    Wendy's "Where's the Beef?!"


    Maybe that was the eighties. I'm so old, it all blends together. lol

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  37. "It always kind of bothered me that the owl ate that kid's Tootsie Pop. I wonder why it never bothered me that the kid was stark naked."

    DAMMIT. Thanks a lot.

    Seriously though, it is scary that the fifty or so of us can remember this nonsense but don't know the capital of Canada, how many amendments are in the US Constitution, causes of the Great Depression, or the names of at least three Supreme Court justices. Well played, television.



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  38. J. Bevington TaliaferroMarch 05, 2013

    I can remember a lot of commercials, but it's rare that I can date them within 20 years. There's one that I KNOW was on TV and was immensely popular. You'd hear people laughing about all the time just hanging around. It used to make my grandparents howl.

    It showed a crowd of people running across a sunny, grassy field being pursued by a big inflated germ. In the background a deep, scary voice was singing, "A summer cold is an UGLY ANIMAL; an UGLY ANIMAL OOOOOOO!!!!!!"

    I always mention this commercial to everyone I know once I know them well enough. NO ONE remembers it. It aired some time between 1965 and 1980.

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    Replies
    1. I remember it... even the music. It was for Contact Cold Capsules. "Contact" was represented as an appropriately labeled bi-plane (the traditional way of attacking giant monsters) and it would end with "...sniffles, sneezes, runny-nose...Don't let them get you down! Tame them with CONTACT! Tally-Ho! Contaaaact!"

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    2. AnonymousJuly 11, 2014

      This commercial was for Contact cold and allergy medicine. The initial lines were:
      A summer cold is a different animal,
      A summer cold is an ugly animal...........
      I'd love to see a copy of this you you ever locate one.

      Delete
  39. AnonymousJuly 14, 2014

    This one: http://www.bionicdisco.com/2013/02/27/daily-70s-spot-rc-cola-skater-girl-1978/

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  40. *Wanders by*

    No love for Enjoli? "I can bring home the bacon; fry it up in a pan. And never ever let you forget you're a man!" Loved the song (Peggy Lee take off I believe?) although I always thought the woman in the commercial got the wrong end of the deal...what was HIS role in all this I wonder...

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