Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 10 Retro TV Commercials & Jingles of My Childhood!

When I was a child in the 1970s and 80s, there was a plenitude of catchy commercials and singable jingles! My little friends and I would belt out these advertisements with the same fervour and conviction that we used to sing "The Ship Titanic" song! Many of these commercials had enough staying power to last a lifetime, and have been permanently imprinted on my memory. Here's a list of the best 10 commercials and jingles that I remember from my childhood, in no particular order.
1.Nair Who Wears Short Shorts? This commercial featured a singing group of young women who danced and pranced around with smooth, silky legs--thanks to Nair hair remover! Beauty still sells products, but you don't see the singing so much anymore! "Who Wears Short Shorts? We wear short shorts! If you dare wear short shorts, get Nair for short shorts!"
2.Faberge Organics I Told 2 Friends & They Told 2Friends - This was one of the earIiest commercials that I recall that featured the "screen-splitting" special effect. It started as a single frame of a beautiful woman on the screen, and her image kept splitting and multiplying into many of the same women. This woman liked Faberge Organics so much, that she told 2 friends about the product, then they told 2 friends, "and so on, and so on". Need I say that the commercial was parodied a great deal!
3.Be Very Careful Don't Cook Your Goose! Here's a child's game that I recently picked up again at a garage sale. The game was a cooking "pot" with a swinging board on which to balance little colored geese. The player who could keep their geese from falling into the pot was the winner. As the commercial panned to happy children playing the game, the jingle chirped "Be Very Careful Don't Cook Your Goose! Don't Cook Your Goose! Don't Cook Your Goose!"
4.Welch's Tired of Orange? Turn Purple! A bored little boy sat in an entirely orange kitchen. He wore an orange t-shirt, had an orange table napkin, orange kitchen fixtures all around him--and a tall glass of orange juice. "Tired of Orange?", a voice queried, "Turn Purple!" Suddenly all the elements in the commercial turned purple, including the little boy's t-shirt and his kitchen. Of course, the glass of orange juice transformed into a glass of Welch's Grape Juice--and the little boy's frown was corrected with a smile! Way to go, Welch's!

5.Eno: When Indigestion is the Burning Question - I was just a child, so obviously not taking antacid tablets, but I still remember the Eno commercial to this day. "When indigestion is the burning question, get fast relief with Eno! When your stomach says no, take Eno! Ahh! My friends and I took turns making the "Ahh" sound!

6.Alka-Seltzer - The market for indigestion products must have been really competitive when I was a child, because I also fondly remember one commercial for Alka-Seltzer. Various parodies also sprung from this one jingle. "Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!" The demonstrative nature of the commercial was also memorable: two white tablets were dropped into a glass of water and began fizzing impressively! I've always been a sucker for a demonstration! There were many different versions of this commercial, starting in the 1960s.

7.Zips Sneakers - I can still remember this commercial, although my parents refused to buy me these sneakers. Zips claimed that "they make your feet run faster". (Try that claim today without getting slapped with a class action lawsuit!) The commercial showed children wearing their Zips sneakers as they participated in various fun activities. The signature of Zips was a child drawing a big "Z" in the sand using their Zips sneakers! Oh, how many times did my friends and I draw that very same Z in our sandbox!
8.It's Slinky! Most everyone has heard of Slinky, the metal accordion toy! I remember watching the commercial with fascination as the Slinky slunk down an entire flight of stairs. Meanwhile the jingle goes something like this: "It's Slinky, It's Slinky! For fun it's a wonderful toy! Fun for a girl or a boy!"  Got to love the green shag carpet in the commercial!
9.Life Cereal: He Likes It, Hey Mikey! I had to look up the commercial to find out it was for Life cereal, but I do remember the rest of the commercial. Two young brothers sat at the breakfast table, and didn't want to try Life cereal because they heard it was good for them. So they decided to pawn it off on their little brother Mikey, who apparently hated everything. But surprise, Mikey immediately started eating and savouring the cereal! So one brother intoned in disbelief: "He likes it!  Hey Mikey!" Another widely parodied commercial.

10. My Little Pony Pretty Parlor - My Little Pony is still going strong to this day, but I remember when it was called My Pretty Pony. This commercial showed little girls playing with their My Little Ponies and dressing them and styling their hair in a "Pretty Parlour"--kind of like a plastic toy stable. Don't quote me, but the jingle goes something like this: "My Little Pony Pretty Parlor! You can pretty up your pony there! My Little Pony Pretty Parlor! My Little Pony has pretty hair!"

This blog post was written by me, Jenna Em, and also appears in the December 25th, 2012 issue of the Huffington Post!


  1. Those are to funny! I remember all of those!

  2. OMG, I remember so many of those. :) AWESOME.

  3. What a great flashback! I don't remember all of those, but I definitely remember some. I'll be singing that Nair one all day now!

  4. What a cool idea to do a collection of these old commercials. I don't remember them myself but my sisters have talked about them from time to time, especially the Mikey one.

    1. Thanks Kristen! It was definitely a walk down memory lane.

  5. Merida is a new favorite in our house (and lots of others it seems). But we call her "Brave" lol

  6. Eep my comment went on the wrong post... And now I'm watching commercials I missed lol

  7. I only remember the first one! But all the videos are hilarious!

  8. OMG!! I love you Jenna! I am going to forward this post to my brothers. My brother just taught my oldest the slinky song because my son found one of my old ones at my mom's last weekend. Now my son is running around singing the slinky song to everyone he knows.

  9. There are some odd and obscure ones from the 70's and 80's that are still stuck in my head. Anyone else remember...
    " 'Cause If you don't ask for Dad's, all you're gonna get is...root beer!"
    "Score Mustang 2, Boredom Zero"
    "Now there's a softer side of Sears."
    "Just listen to your kitty purr, you don't want nasty fleas to bother her..." (for Hartz Mountain cat collars)
    "So come on everybody, get up and discover your Ontario--oh---ohhh."
    ...and a terminally perky instrumental background used in the commercials for Our Own Hardware, a midwestern chain of hardware stores.

    1. The Dad's Root Beer one, for sure. That was a classic.

  10. I enjoyed the video and so did the kids

  11. Awe,looking at all these bring back many good memories


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