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…

Don’t Be Afraid – The Bugaloos (1970)

A bunch of kids who are actually bugs who know how to play instruments and write situational Beatles-esque music and live in a bizarre forest and have an even-more-bizarre foil? That’s Sid and Marty Krofft’s answer to The Monkees, a tab of orange sunshine in a kid’s TV landscape already drenched in psychadelia. The Bugaloos…

Listen To This – Fresh Prince 900-number (1990s)

It’s not exactly surprising, but it’s still pretty tacky. Few celebrities could resist the easy one-and-done money of the 900-number concept in the ’90s, that terrible consumer experience that stretched content delivery as thin as possible in order to grab a few more dollars per minute through the low-fidelity medium. But Will Smith? OUR Will…

Putt, Putt – Pizza Hut’s First Commercial (1965)

Pizza Hut’s first commercial effort was light on pizza and heavy on antics. A full minute long, this commercial takes place entirely in fast-motion and features a tall man riding an admittedly sweet Mustang Jr. through town to pick up his pizza order. In doing so he gently irritates the townspeople that he encounters which…

A Night’s Work – Shadowrun Promo (1990)

Here’s one of the few official promos, perhaps the only official promo produced for Shadowrun, the cyberpunk fantasy tabletop RPG. A four-minute short film produced for GenCon 1990, “A Night’s Work” is over-and-under-produced at the same time, and really something special. Set aside the side-hopping stealth, the terribly slow pacing, the high school drama club…

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…….

Short Circuit, Boom – Dead at 21 (1994)

Dead at 21 sits right at the fulcrum of MTV’s rise as a unique music industry powerhouse and its slope into scripted and reality basic cable normalcy. When the show premiered in 1994 the network had a healthy roster of not-music-video-related shows, but most of them were some form of comedy, game show, or animation….

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…