Often I think back to childhood and am amazed at the number of commercials I can quote nearly verbatim. Recently I viewed quite a few on Youtube; I know I’m not the only one. Kid commercials from the 70s were usually on after school or during Saturday morning cartoons, and were mainly for toys (i.e., Rock-em, Sock-em Robots ), breakfast cereals, fast food restaurant chains, or beverages. Here are some of my favorites.
Beverages are the ones I remember the most. I’m sure the Kool-Aide guy would have scared someone if he had really appeared in real life, but what a hero he was. Those kids would have died without him. The Hawaiian Punch guy also made quite a scene, similar to the Three Stooges. In the 70’s, I was a Pepper . I think everyone was a Pepper. Don’t you? Although soda was a treat at our house, soda advertising was big in the 70’s with Dr. Pepper, Orange Crush (“Hold my crush, but don’t drink it.”) and Coca-Cola. Coke had at least two very memorable ads with Mean Joe Green (“Hey kid, catch”) and I’d like to buy the world a Coke .” I still say “Awww. That’s so nice.” when I see Mean Joe giving the boy his jersey.
Kid cereal commercials from the 70’s are famous for lots of characters, but the silly Rabbit ( Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids .”) and the little brother Mikey on the Life cereal ad ( He likes it! Hey Mikey!” ), take the prize here. I knew those lines, even though my favorite cereals were Captain Crunch and Count Chocula .
In the 1970’s fast food was becoming very popular and their advertising had some of the best jingles. The ” Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special order don’t upset us…Have it your way ” jingle for Burger King worked their way for many years. My dad tried that line once at Burger King. She asked “How would you like your burger?” He said “Free.” It was worth a try at least. I preferred McDonald’s jingle myself with “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun .” In those days, we only went there when we were traveling, which wasn’t often.
Lunch meat, however, was in our home, encased in either Wonderbread or Hillbilly bread. “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name it’s M-A-Y-E-R. Oh I love to eat it every day…and that’s just why I have to sayyyy….Cuz Oscar Mayer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a.” He was just the cutest little kid too. I think we all wanted to sing our hearts out that way.
Reminiscing about the 70’s kid commercials is fun for someone who grew up during that time, and advertising on television was and remains very profitable for many companies. One can’t help but wonder what we would have sung or ate without them. My friends and I were constantly quoting Mr. Lee from the Calgon water softener ad and the actors from Irish Spring soap commercial. What I’d like to know is how I found time to watch all that TV?
Sources: Videos from YouTube and related article that discusses where those child actors are today .