Without the ability to properly photograph the items for that article, I was pretty much stuck. While I did order a new camera online, I didn't want to stop writing while I was waiting for it to arrive in the mail. But what can we do in the mean time? I didn't want to simply stop updating the site because of a dead camera but the nature of this beast requires that I take specific photos for pretty much everything I post.
What is a webmaster to do? I took a quick look forward into my ideas for later on in the year and found a piece I was planning for mid July.... but what the heck, let's throw out a curve ball and post it right now!
Today we're going to take a look at some 10 Summer Time TV Commercials! Most of these are things that I specifically had myself. Therefore everything is very rooted in the early to middle 1990's. An era so recent that most (who did not grow up during it!) probably do not realize just how different the times where back then.
Those people are fools. The 1990's is all about extreme, in your face, loud advertisements. Everything was extra hip and ultra cool. Michael Jordan was the man and the Ninja Turtles ruled toy isles around the world. This was the 1990's. It was my childhood and these are the commercials that best described what Summer Vacation was to me, in an era that is no more. I hope you all enjoy this cool blast down 1990's memory lane!
Kool-Aid and Yo-Yo Koosh (1994)
It's not officially summer until you've made a pitcher of Kool-Aid. While I realize that technically you can purchase the stuff year round, let's be honest here... nobody is drinking Kool-Aid in mid December. When I think of Kool-Aid, I think of hot July weather. Summertime picnics in the park. Fireworks at night. This specific commercial is brilliantly rooted in 90's advertising. Everything is way to hip, way to in your face, and very brightly colored. As for the Kool-Aid Man, this would be like his fourth or fifth incarnation. I will always prefer the live action "guy in a suit" over the later cartoon / CGI versions. The one thing I remember most about Kool-Aid Man in the 90's is that he was almost constantly skateboarding.
We had an odd obsession with skateboards in the mid 1990's. I believe ever kid was required to have one, it was a combination of the Ninja Turtles and Bart Simpson. Therefore I can half ass understand where that fad came from. The Yo-Yo's on the other hand... that is one of the stranger 90's fads for sure. I lived through it and cannot really tell you why they suddenly became the hot thing to own. Yo-Yo's had been around for ages and certainly were not anything new but for some reason made a huge comeback, I was in the fifth grade at the time and very distinctly remember the school putting a ban on Yo-Yo's. Here we see a brilliant cross promotion from Koosh. Never heard of Koosh you say? They were these odd little spongy balls that you threw as hard as you could at your friends face. More proof that we had better toys in the 1990's than kids do today. Koosh on there own were pretty cool but a Koosh Yo-Yo is one of those concepts that just simply does not work in execution. I should know, I owned one. The Yo-Yo string would get caught up in all the little Koosh fibers thus rendering the thing completely useless.
Picnic Panic (1992)
Picnic Panic is an old board game from 1992 that I have fond memories of. Well, maybe not fond memories. Not the kind reserved to scoring a Super Nintendo on Christmas morning or anything like that. But I did own one. Picnic Panic wasn't really that groundbreaking, it wasn't really well designed, and honestly it wasn't even that fun to play. What it did do was give you the ability to fling plastic ants all over floor. Even this is a fairly big design flaw for a toy whose target demographic is five year old children. You give a five year old a board game with that many flying pieces and after about two days worth of use every single one of those ants will have gone missing in action and never be heard from or seen again.
Super Soaker XP110 (1990's)
When having a water fight there are two very distinctive types of squirt guns The Super Soaker and everything else. If you were one of the unfortunate kids to be stuck without a Super Soaker, you might as well call it quits because your life is going to be miserable as hell for the next twenty minutes are so. Not only could your typical Super Soaker hold an insane amount of water but the ability to pump up and build pressure within the gun meant that you could actually squirt a stream of pressurized water capable of causing bodily harm.We had a very distinctive "no face rule" for anyone using a Super Soaker. Meaning that, under no circumstances, you were allowed to shoot another person in the face... because the goddamn things hurt. The 90's were awesome like that.
They also marketed like four hundred different types of Super Soakers at any given time. A new model with a strange new series of numbers seemed to come out ever year. And you had to have the latest model. They quickly evolved from your basic "fill with water; pump up and squirt" guns into these multi-chamber death devices capable of powerful streams of pressurized insanity. My favorite model of Super Soaker was the one that literally had a tank that strapped to your back which presumably carried seven trillion gallons of water. I had one, though nobody was ever able to use the thing with the tank completely full as it was just to heavy. Super Soakers seemed to have tamed down over the years, I'm guessing someone must have lost an eye playing with the original models that we had.
Skip It (1990's)
Skip It. No, don't skip reading this entry. That's the name product! I feel like nobody ever really asks for something like a Skip It yet somehow everyone ends up with one. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter... these are the Holidays in which you end up with a Skip It. Usually coming from that one distant relative who clearly doesn't know you'd rather have a Koosh Yo-Yo or Super Soaker. The point of the thing was to.... jump over it? And it counted? Thus basically making it a piece of land survey equipment painted hot pink or baby blue, depending on whether or not you have a penis or vagina. In the end its thanks to toys like Skip It we didn't have an obesity problem in the 90's. Trust me we ate just as much McDonalds, played just as many video games... but we had toys like Skip It to keep us from turning into fat fatty pants. And besides, when you got done playing Skip It properly, you could beat your friends upside the head with the ball and it would keep track of how many times you whacked them upside the head. I'm guessing someone must have lost an eye with one of these too.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Classic Toys (1990s)
I'm not going to lie. I really have no idea how this relates to "summer" ... but since we are basically talking about awesome 1990's toys here it would be a crime against nature not to mention the greatest line of action figures to ever be released. The original run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures! Unless you grew up in the 1990's it's impossible to explain just exactly how big of a deal the Turtles where back then. Toy isles didn't have a simple shelf or two dedicated to them, typically the entire isle was nothing but Turtles Toys. They showed up in action figures, movies, cartoons, breakfast cereals, blankets, clothing, pizza boxes, shoes, skateboards... I wouldn't be surprised if there where Shredder Condoms released back in the day. If you wanted it with Turtles on it, you could find it. To say they dominated the 1990's is a understatement, even after the show started to loose its popularity the toys still managed to stick around year after year. Even to this day, go down the Toy Isle in your local department store and I can almost guarantee you there will be something related to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You know the more I think about it these things are just as much summer toys as that damn Skip It thing was. Sure, you played with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles year round... but where they really shinned was outside in the elements. In the sandbox, at the park, in a tree. These are the places in which my Turtles toys staged great assaults on the evil Master Shredder. Sure sometimes one would get left behind and fall casualty to the lawnmower, but those just make for cool battle scars and an excuse to get more Turtles figures. I can remember burring them in the sand, leaving them outside, losing every single one of the accessories that came with them, but you know what those things were beyond durable. Not like the cheap crap they sell in stores today, where if you sneeze on it wrong they flakes to pieces. These Turtle figures could withstand being ran over by a car and come out mostly in tact. I know because I tried it. I salute you Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Bronto Beach Fruity Pebbles (1990's)
I do not remember the specific year that Bronto Beach Fruity Pebbles came out... but if memory serves me correctly it had to be in the middle to late 1990's. Bronto Beach Fruity Pebbles claim to fame is that they are "brighter and more in your face" than your standard fair Fruity Pebbles. You know as well as I do that they are the same goddamn thing as normal Fruity Pebbles, just in a different box. None of this matters though because you cannot tell any of this to a seven year old child who simply must have the Bronto Beach version of Fruity Pebbles. I really don't have a whole heck of a lot more to say about them, but I would like to note that its a shame that our country has gotten so fat that its actually illegal to advertise breakfast cereals with cartoon characters on them anymore. I miss the old days of Fred verbally abusing Barney over bowls of cereal. Some of my favorite commercials are the old Flintstones Christmas Fruity Pebbles adds. Which we are going to be covering come December time here at the Astro Lounge. As for Bronto Beach Fruity Pebbles... I'm just going to quote former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green and say: "they are who we thought they were!" and leave it at that.
Coppertone Kids Colorblock (1998)
Copportone Kids Colorblock is very clearly one of those products that kids beg the living hell out of there parents for, not realizing that its sunblock. The commercial almost blatantly lies about what it does. It's sunblock. It's sunblock. But its not just sunblock... its sunblock that gives you a slight blue or purple tent for a couple of seconds. If any of you are going into marketing just look at this commercial as a perfect example of how to sell kids on something without them even realizing what it is. The commercial very clearly fills impressionable childrens minds with thoughts of dancing through streets and city parks with neon blue or purple skin. I can totally imagine every kid at home thinking that the effects of this product will last all day long and then being severely disappointed when it fades away. Its really an evil ploy by the folks at Coppertone to sell a bunch of sunblock but this was the 1990s and things like this are perfectly acceptable.
Michael Jordan Coke Commercial (1990)
Is this a commercial for Air Jordans? Is this a Coca-Cola commercial? Is it both? Is it neither? I guess it's technically a coke advertisement but come on folks the star of this commercial is very clearly the obvious close up of the Air Jordan shoes. Just look at the expression of Mike's face, you know exactly what he is saying. "If you buy my shoes you'll fly." There was not a kid alive in 1990 who didn't firmly believe that Air Jordan shoes turned you into a super-hero. We used to have debates on the playground about it all the time. For it seemed like the kids that had Air Jordans ultimately did better than those of us without them. I remember my first pair of Air Jordan shoes, they were the red and black kids pair. I was so excited to go to school the next day because I was going to fly like Michael Jordan. As it turns out I still sucked at sports but damn it... I had Air Jordan shoes. It didn't matter because even though I still was horrible, I knew all the Air Jordan-less kids would be ubber jealous of my shoes.
The exact date on this old Honeycomb Cereal commercial is sort of... debatable. I think it originally started airing in the very late 1980's but Honeycomb continued to air it for a long, long time afterword... well into the 90's. For good reason too, it's Andre the Giant stealing Honeycomb cereal from some kids in a treehouse. Presumably from the ground he could reach the windows of said treehouse. After-all this is Andre the Giant we are talking about, the man was seven foot four and scary as hell. If Andre the Giant wants my Honeycomb cereal the man can have it! I also have to wonder just how many boxes of cereal he could eat in one sitting. And how many gallons of milk it would take on top of that. For those wondering this clearly relates to the summer months because the kids are in a treehouse. I win on a technicality on this one. If you disagree, Andre the Giant will break into your house and steal your breakfast cereal!
Hawaiian Punch (1992)
We started this article with Kool-Aid and we are going to end this article with Kool-Aid's number one rival, Hawaiian Punch. Hawaiian Punch was anything but new in the 1990s, as a matter of fact it dates all the way back to 1934 (though it started life out as an Ice Cream topping, it wouldn't turn into drink form until 1962). Hawaiian Punch had been around the block and had a nice little corner of the market but apparently this was not enough, as our airwaves suddenly became flooded with Hawaiian Punch commercials. You seriously could not avoid the product even if you tried. It was on our TV's, in the stores, on billboards, in magazines. It had tie-in associations with other products, such as Lunchables. Hawaiian Punch was determined to be the drink of choice for every kid come Summer Vacation.
There was one very important thing that they forgot, Kool-Aid is Kool-Aid and half the fun of Kool-Aid is making it. Hawaiian Punch came in predominately one flavor, red (though as you can see by this commercial they attempted to expand to other flavors) and was already a finished product. There was nothing outright wrong with Hawaiian Punch, as a matter of fact it is a fine drink to have on a hot summer day. But it never was and never will be Kool-Aid. No matter how much the Hawaiian Punch people tried to be number one... they will always be number two.
I've probably over dramatized the situation here. While I'd like to think that the Kool-Aid folk fought tooth and nail with the Hawaiian Punch people for global domination of the home beverage market, this is probably not the case. But in 1992... to a five year old, it sure felt like this is what was going on. And besides it makes for a more interesting discussion than "Hawaiian Punch now comes with four extra flavors" and toxic neon colored children. I wonder if they all used some of that Coppertone Kids Colorblock prior to this video shoot?