The decade of the 80s was a great time for toys, music, TV and even commercials. Kids had some of the best shows back then, and some of the best toys. Here are some of my most memorable kids TV commercials from the 80s.
I have good memories of Transformer commercials on Saturday morning TV. As the ultimate toy of the 80s, the original Transformers were great fun, and their commercials were excellent. Hasbro made some very clever ad spots, showing the transformations the action figures, robot/cars could make. The song went “Transformers, more than meets the eye….” and then a kid would speak in a robot voice, “Robots in disguise.” Cool memories.
Legos: Jack, the Lego Maniac
Lego really hit its stride in the late 80s, with lots of new Lego sets and building kits. Castles, space ships, dinosaurs, and a seemingly endless supply of building ideas came from the Lego people. The commercials featured Jack, the Lego Maniac, who was a teenage kid able to build the most amazing things out of Legos! “Building at the speed of light, Lego keeps him up all night… Jack, Jack, he’s a Lego-maniac!” Back in the 80s, I couldn’t get that jingle out of my head.
Milk – it does a body good.
This is the ad spot where a scrawny boy is being ignored by a hot girl. He says, “I’d like to meet you, but I bet you’re hoping for a hunk. All I’ve I’ve got to offer is sensitivity, intelligence and charm.” But he’s drinking his milk, and will grow up to be a football star (or male model, etc). He asked, “I’ll be drinking milk and working out, so when all my work is done … will you love me just for my body? I can live with that.”
Micro Machines were miniature cars and airplanes from Galoob. These ads features a fast-talking narrator who demonstrated all the great features of the micro machines and their gas stations, tracks, and carrying case. “Micro Machine man here with the micro men…” he always started, and then laid out the newest versions of the micro machines play sets. He talked fast, and that was the gimmick. These were cool toys, and the ad spots were memorable too.
Lite Brite, Lite Brite, turn on the magic of covered light! Milton Bradley hit a home run with a revitalized interest in Lite Brite in the 80s. This was the black paper screen with holes that kids could insert colored pegs into, to form a picture. Turn it on and – oolala. Nicely lighted painting, of sorts. This might be the most annoying commercial, but it’s also one of the most memorable. It got a lot of airtime. The two kids in the commercial seem to be having more fun than my sisters and I ever did with this gizmo.
Hungry Hippos Game
This was one of the most aggravating games to give a kid, but the commercials ran long and strong. “It’s hungry, hungry hippos!” The ad shows a groups of kids playing in wild excitement, each with a hippo gizmo that needs to capture or “eat” as many marbles as he can. Of course, when you bought the game, it never seemed to work quite right, but it gave the kids something to work on. These ad spots ran over and over… until we dreamed of hungry, hungry hippos in our sleep (aka nightmares).
Saturday morning TV had some of the best cereal commercials. Throughout the decades, cereal companies have given us some of the most memorable TV spots. Mr. T Cereal, Kookoo for Cocopuffs, the Honeynut Cheerios Bee, Golden Grahams super magic athletes, Cap’n Crunch (and Christmas Crunch!), Trix are for kids! … and Pac Man Cereal. There are too many to mention, but I remember all of these commercials with fondness.
A childhood smile comes back.