Fred, Old Boy – MTV Freddy Krueger Special (1988)

MTV’s support for 1998’s Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master was pretty intense. In addition to wallpapering their commercial breaks with movie ads, sponsorship tie-ins, and conveniently in-depth “MTV News” segments, the network also aired The Freddy Krueger Special, a one-hour block featuring Freddy himself. A mixture of somewhat on-theme music videos, less…

The Hogarth Guarantee – Lucid Dream Machine (1980s)

Lucid Dreaming is an attractive idea; the thought of being able to achieve consciousness in your dreams and unlock the ability to control what happens is pretty exciting. Normally it takes a lot of discipline and conditioning to even try to pull it off, so of course it was only a matter of time before…

Top Secret – Golgo 13 Commercial (NES) (1988)

As a kid I had no idea what Golgo 13 was, but the second issue of Nintendo Power sold me on it. I put it on my Christmas list, and Santa delivered. It was an early lesson in being careful what you wished for. Later on I learned that in Japan Duke Togo, Secret Agent…

Count Your Blessings – Rock Talk 1-900 number (1980s)

We can agree that the 900-number business is a shady industry across the board, right? If we agree on that – that there are no good 900-numbers – we can pick apart the nuance and determine that some 900-number ideas are better than others, some offerings more worthy of a phone call than others, some…

I Knew That – Pizza Hut Training Video (1980s)

We know the importance of Making it Great and our Fairy Dust recipe is on point, but there’s been something missing with the Pizza Hut training program up to this point. There’s a distinct lack of hokey-ness, that strange compulsion of the ’70s and ’80s to inject a narrative into situations that don’t really need…

Marry Me, Marie – Police Quest II (Japan) (1989)

In the mid-90s, Sierra On-Line and Pioneer Electric formed a joint venture which was uncreatively called Sierra Venture. In addition to the benefits of the acquisition of a handful of smaller developers, the venture allowed Sierra to distribute many of its signature titles in Japan for the first time. Most of these titles were localized…

Call Me Twice – Paula Abdul 900 Number (1980s)

One could argue that greed is just a fact of the 1-900 number life, that the entire business exists to give as little entertainment as possible for as much money as possible. There are no charitable 900 number services that I’ve found, no services that prioritize the customer’s experience over the prospect of a slow…….

A VJ on MTV – Where’s The Cap’n (1985)

In 1985, Cap’n Crunch disappeared. We – the cereal-eating populace – didn’t witness this departure in a commercial, the main way of keeping track of the lives of cereal mascots. Instead, we saw through those commercials that the departure had already happened. The hunt was on at that point, a million dollars at stake. Well,…

Skidmarks On Your Soul – Pole Position Atari 5200 Commercial (1982)

A typical approach when creating a commercial for a video game is to identify a clear target audience, identify the most appealing message you have to offer that audience, and communicate that message as uniquely as you can in a short amount of time. Actually, that’s a sound tactic for commercials of any product, not…

Get It, Not Eat It – Boglins 1-900 Number (1980s)

The mid ’80s saw a rush on dolls that “come to live with you.” Television ad space was filled with toys literally asking to be a part of your home. If Pound Puppies, Cabbage Patch Kids, or My Buddy were too cute for your taste, you could always adopt a Boglin. These grotesque rubber hand…