Before Netflix was a thing, and the possibilities of DVR had yet to even be considered, all we had was terrestrial TV and that meant that we had to watch commercials whether we liked it or not.
Although this sounds like a terrible thing now that we’re used to skipping commercials if we’re burdened by them at all, it wasn’t all bad, and there were a number of commercials that pretty much stole the show, and often became more popular than the programming they were being slotted into.
So, for nostalgia’s sake, let’s take a look at some of those great commercials that really di steal the show:
Apple – “1984”
This 1984 ad for Apple was a revolution in the world of TV commercials. When it first aired, you couldn’t stand around any water cooler anywhere in the US without hearing people talking about it.
Why was it go great? Well, for one thing it was directed by the brilliant Ridley Scott, so it looked great, and for another, it showed a hot woman fighting against a machine built to brainwash the masses in a callback to the classic George Orwell novel ‘1984.’
The society depicted in the commercial was leading the fightback against a life based on “Unification of Thoughts,” turning people into little more than mindless drones. Striking, daring, and totally on point for that period of pop culture, it was a winner and one of those ads no one ever wished they’d skipped.
ShamWow! – “Shamwow!”
You might not think that the world of late-night infomercials had much to offer in the way of actual entertainment, but if Vince Offer was on promoting the super-absorbent ShamWow! Towels, it was a different matter completely.
Why? Because that guy had personality in spades and more enthusiasm than you could ever imagine possible for the product he was promoting. His demonstrations of the products would somehow hypnotize you and draw you in, and pretty soon you were a ShamWow! Convert. It might not have been Ridley Scott, but it was pretty great in its own unique, late-night TV way.
Wendy’s – “Where’s the Beef?”
Another commercial from 1984 that managed to steal the show, this time because its signature catchphrase “Where’s the Beef?” was soon being repeated everywhere all of the time, Heck, it’s still mentioned in sitcoms and other forms of pop culture today. That’s just how much it has seeped into our universal unconscious. Most actual sitcom catchphrases don’t last that long!
Budweiser – “Whassup?!”
This is another commercial that is most famous for spawning its own catchphrase that again was used all over the palace all of the time, and even spoofed in the first outing of popular spoof movie franchise ‘Scary Movie.’ It was also a pretty good ad in terms of hitting its target market of young fun 20-something men perfectly. It seems like a shame streaming will prevent many of these catchphrases from gaining such momentum as they once did, But, then again they did get pretty annoying, didn’t they?
Which TV commercials did you love the most?