Here are a few more memorable toy commercials from my childhood – some memorable for the product and others for the ad itself. Which is which? It’s a mystery!
1. Game Boy – The must-get present in 1989, I was lucky enough to find a Game Boy under my tree.
Now I’m not saying the Game Boy isn’t amazing, but it’s a pretty expensive Tetris box. I had a few other games, like Super Mario, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and F-1 Racer that were pretty memorable games, but really it was mostly a Tetris machine. And I loved it! The ad is pretty great: a Robocop-looking android summons a kid with a Game Boy already in his hand to a red planet (Mars?), challenges him to Tetris, and is subsequently defeated and then destroyed by the kid who presumably was stuck on that planet for the rest of his life.
2. Ewok Village Playset – Outside of The Ewok Adventure (for entirely different reasons), this playset is probably the best thing to come out of the invention of the Ewoks.
This thing had a working elevator, a net in which you could capture appropriately placed villains, and a rock that swung to knock over appropriately placed villans.
The kid in the ad does a pretty good C-3P0. You can tell he practiced.
3. Simon – Simon was kind of a jerk. Your ability was never good enough for Simon.
This kid, though, he’s like the golden child.
I love the fist pump he does at the end, like he knows exactly how awesome he is. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Simon!
4. Game Genie – In the late 80s, Galoob (I love the name of that company!) released an add-on that you attached to NES games to gain the ability to customize your playing experience.
You could tell the game to give you unlimited lives, unlimited firepower, invincibility, etc… In 8 cases out of 10, this usually meant glitching your game beyond all recognition or playability. Still, it was a pretty sought-after item. The ad reminds me of something, though. It’s a subtle homage. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I feel like it references some sort of Adventure. An Adventure that was Excellent….
5. Toys R Us – OK, this ad wasn’t for a specific toy; it was for Toys R Us itself, the mecca of all toys. In the 80s, Toys R Us pretty much had the market nailed – there were competitors, for sure, but Toys R Us was the real deal. Just being there made me feel special. Their catalog was a staple of Christmas-wishing. And the song in the ads was iconic and really said it all:
Featuring Jenny Lewis, Jaleel White, and Lindsay Price no less!
Here’s a bonus commercial – not for a toy, really, and it’s from the ’90s instead of the ’80s, but it’s so memorable!