Tag Archives: ads

YouTube Comment of the Week: Smurfs Pasta

Time was, you were nobody unless you got your own canned pasta. In the days of my kid-dom, every cartoon character was immortalized in semolina form by Chef Boyardee or Franco-American. Any resemblance between the pasta and the character(s) they were supposed to represent was purely coincidental; most of the shapes looked more like amoebas than anything else. They all tasted the same as well, industrial fake cheese and processed tomato sauce tang. I know because I ate every single one of these pastas at least once. I was a carb completist. (Although I feel that by calling these things “pasta,” I should have to apologize to some kindly old Italian grandmother somewhere. Perdonilo, nonna!)

The Smurfs received this tribute, of course, since they were on TV for roughly 73 years. Was the pasta blue? Of course not; such technology did not exist yet, and let’s pray it never does. The Pasta Smurfs looked and tasted exactly like the Pasta Pac-Man and the Pasta X-Men, which is to say carb-loaded blobs swimming in Campbell’s tomato soup. Uniqueness, verisimilitude, and taste were not the goals here. The goal was to make a canned pasta that you could put a cartoon label on so dumb kids (like me) would beg for it. Mission accomplished.

However, I do understand that the mere sight of these items have a nostalgic pull for folks of a certain age, myself included, which is why I found the comment you’ll see below this clip oddly endearing. And odd. Though no more odd than the commercial itself, in which Papa Smurf reacts to a Gargamel-induced food shortage by transforming a bunch of Smurf houses into Smurf pasta. Thanks, Papa Smurf! Now I’m no longer hungry but I have to sleep in a ditch!

Honorable mention for this comment that points out a continuity flaw in the ad copy:

Holiday Triumphs: Christmas Ads from 1985, Pt. 1

Let the record show I don’t hate everything about the holidays. When I was a kid, I had a VHS tape of holiday specials and other stuff recorded around Christmastime, 1985. I rediscovered it years later and loved to watch it over and over for the old ads, plus a truly awesome special about the 50th Anniversary of Loony Tunes.

This special featured various celebrities speaking about the beloved cartoon characters as if they were real people with whom they’d worked. It’s a bizarre panoply of famous folks, from Chevy Chase to Danny Thomas to David Bowie, who pretends to not know Bugs Bunny, then admits “we might be doing an album together”.

But the best clips come from Bill Murray, who, as always, was pure genius. I’ve actually made mp3s of some of his improv dialogue and put it on my iPod; whenever it pops up on shuffle, I am always delighted. You can view this special, in chunks, on the Loony Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2, but I just had to share a few of Mr. Murray’s best bits, even if it’s not the best quality video. In this first bit, Murray reveals a few behind the scene glimpses of the working relationship between Friz Freleng and Yosemite Sam.

In this second clip, Murray talks about the Loony Tunes characters he does and does not respect.

Billy Dee Williams also knows how to bring the funny. Here, he reveals the music he puts on when he wants to get a lady in just the right mood: Carl Stalling. His little gestures, as if saying, “ah yes, that’s lovely” as cacophanous cartoon music plays, are priceless.

Continue reading Holiday Triumphs: Christmas Ads from 1985, Pt. 1

Pointless Nostalgia Bonus: MTV Ads!

As I explained in a recent, similar post, I love commercials. There, I said it. Oh, that felt so liberating.

This latest bout of Pointless Ad Nostalgia comes courtesy of the episode of 120 Minutes from 1991 that contained a lengthy, uncomfortable interview with The Pixies. What’s different about these ads vis a vis the Steampipe Alley-era ads I just posted? Well, there’s the three years difference, a small eternity in ad-time.

More importantly, since these ads aired on MTV late at night, they’re pitched at a much older audience. A fashion-conscious audience that would be receptive to a commercial like this one for Cavaricci. That brand has all but disappeared, but when I was in junior high, everyone had to wear Cavaricci. If you had enough money to buy it, that is. If you were me, you wore generic jeans and whatever was on sale at Caldor’s that season.

Why was Cavaricci so popular? Why is anything so popular at any give time? But if this ad is to be believed, they made you very limber and a snazzy dancer.

Continue reading Pointless Nostalgia Bonus: MTV Ads!