I have officially sent my request for free information back in time 25 years to the address at the end of a Just Say No PSA. I now keep constant vigil by the mailbox for precious information that may never come. Will I get a response? Stay tuned…
There’s nothing funny about Reye’s syndrome. Actually, I didn’t know what it was until I Goggled it a few minutes ago. Any disease article on Wikipedia that ends ‘Stage Five: Death’ is not a good one. That being said, there is something funny about this unbelievably cheesy PSA starring some unnamed, generic rock n roll star with a bad perm and even worse shirt — even by 80s standards — taking time out from his cable access show to warn his unsuspecting viewers about the dangers of taking aspirin with the flu. The whole production just seems sad; like the fine folks at the Food and Drug Administration couldn’t get a real celebrity to take up their cause, so they just made one up. The family isn’t sure how to take the news. Sort of solemn indifference. While he was at it, our bargain basement rocker should’ve warned that punk kid about the dangers of not using a coaster.
Does any other medium besides TV actually discourage people from using it in excess, like our latest PSA here does? Have you ever seen an ad on a website or in a magazine that says ‘Hey, you’ve been looking at this too long, why don’t you find something better to do?’ Me either. Who decided too much television was a bad thing, anyway? I credit my years of excessive TV watching for making me the person I am today… a guy who writes a blog about old TV ads. Not even the catchy tune and classic 80s feel of this ad can make me believe otherwise. Watch TV kids, watch lots of TV.
Today marks the launch of our sister website devoted to the educational shorts of Saturday mornings gone by, Saturday Morning Brain Food! In honor of this historic event, here’s just a small sampling of the nostalgia-coated awesomeness you’ll find there. Check it out, you’ll be glad you did.
Time for Timer: Hanker for a Hunka Cheese:
Mr. T with One to Grow On:
Exercise Your Choppers:
Water, the Best No-Calorie Drink:
Don’t Fear the Future Blob:
See much more at SatAMBrainfood.com!
Here’s a great anti-drinking PSA from Massachusetts. I was a bit taken aback by the bluntness of it, considering I found it on a recording of a Saturday morning cartoon broadcast. I don’t remember hearing the word ‘ass’ — or even the word ‘freaking’ for that matter — being thrown around too often between my Smurfs and Muppet Babies back in the day. Maybe they do things a little differently up in New England. But the ad definitely gets its point across: If you’re going to be an obnoxious lush, do it at home so you don’t ruin everyone else’s fun.
This spot is so 80′s it will make you want to dress up like Sonny Crockett and work Rubik’s Cubes. But one thing it won’t make you want to do is smoke. This catchy jingle, sung by a raspy-voiced (kind of ironic for anti-smoking spot, no?) Bonnie Tyler type tells us we’re sure to get more kisses, chicks, etc. without a cigarette between our lips. Unless your just naturally a loser, then whether you smoke or not is probably not going to affect your kiss quotent one way or the other. My favorite — or least favorite, I haven’t really decided yet — part of this spot is the random dude who could be Diedrich Bader of ‘Drew Carey Show’ fame wearing a swim mask with a fish inside. Yeah. What was the person smoking that threw that idea out there? Probably crack, it was the 80′s after all.
Very tense, dramatic 30 seconds of TV here. I must say, as far as PSAs go, there is some superb, superb acting going on here. I don’t know if they give Emmys for PSAs, but the ensemble from this spot would certainly have a table at the banquet if I were running the show, a couple of rows back from Crying Indian That Was Really an Italian Guy. Or maybe I’m just overreacting and stretching to fill up space when I really don’t have anything relevant to say. Who cares. Anyway, this is a spot from the Just Say No campaign which was chartered by 80s First Lady Nancy Reagan. I wonder if you can still get free information by writing to that address at the end. I think I’ll try it. Stay tuned, my four readers for the exciting results. I mean three readers, I forgot Aunt Agnes’ motherboard got fried.
Here’s one of the earliest spots featuring 1980′s crime-biting icon McGruff. In it, he warns us of the kidnapping threat lurking on our streets and playgrounds. McGruff, of course, is one of the most successful creations of the brilliant minds at the Ad Council. I don’t see him on TV so much anymore — in fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw him on TV. If he is still out there, dollars to donuts says he’s CGI now. Everything’s gotta be all fancy, smancy and computer animated these days. Makes me sick. Somebody should make a PSA about that. I prefer my Yoda in Muppet form, darn it! But I digress… Don’t get in that car, Jenny!
Here’s another of the more iconic spots from the ’80s, a very simple, straight-forward way to tell us ‘Don’t Drink and Drive.’ I remember being taken aback by the violent glass-crashing of this PSA as a youngster very well. In fact, this spot was probably a little too effecitve on my young, impressionable mind as I was convinced any drinking behind the wheel would result in certain death. Imagine the shock and terror I experienced at the sight of my father navigating our family vehicle down the highway with Pepsi Free in hand, completely shunning the TV narrator’s warning about the deadly results drinking and driving were sure to bring. ‘Why did the sadistic bastards at General Motors even put cup holders in their cars in the first place?’ I wondered. Were they trying to kill us all? Thankfully, after some clarification from my parents about good drinks and bad drinks — and several months of therapy — I better understood.