Archive for TV

Cola Wars: Awesome Vintage Pepsi commercials

Posted in 80s, advertising, commercials, Michael Jackson, Pepsi, pop culture, soda, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by Paxton


Pepsi and The Hoff

Shawn Robare over at Branded in the ’80s is reviewing his trip to the World of Coke in Atlanta and it got me thinking about the Cola Wars of the ’80s.  More specifically, soda commercials I loved during the Cola Wars.

I love the battle between Coke and Pepsi during the end of the last century.  So much awesome merchandising and memorabilia come out of that time period it’s mind boggling. Both Coke and Pepsi unleashed on our consciousness oodles of celebrities, pop songs, commercials and advertising that sculpted our current pop culture consciousness and is still remembered today.

Let’s take a look back at some of Pepsi’s best soda commercials.

Just this past weekend I watched Michael Jackson’s This Is It on Blu-Ray and loved it. The man new how to perform and he had SO MANY good songs. In the ’80s Michael was a pretty big spokesman for Pepsi and made several commercials (one in which he famously caught on fire). For me, one of the best, if not THE best, Pepsi commercial ever made was Jackson Street (clip above), which premiered on the 1983 Motown 25 TV Special. I still get goosebumps when I watch it. This commercial featured an unbelievably catchy jingle-version of Billie Jean. It also starred a young Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).  See another Pepsi commercial MJ made called The Chase.

Ray Charles’ “Uh-Huh” commercials were all over the place in the early ’90s. They had 6 or 7 versions of them including Ray in a courtroom and playing his twin brother, Irv. My favorite version came in 1993 which showed other celebrities (Charo, Tiny Tim, Bo Jackson, Jerry Lewis) auditioning for Ray’s singing part.

Around the time Michael Jackson was a Pepsi spokesman, another Michael (J. Fox) was also signed on.  Fox starred in several commercials, mainly for Diet Pepsi, that are considered classics.  The commercial above is one of his first featuring him in the library trying to be quiet while buying a Pepsi from a vending machine.  See another Pepsi classic called My New Neighbor here in which Fox tries desperately to find his hot, new neighbor a Diet Pepsi.

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ABC’s Awesome Saturday Morning Cartoon PSAs

Posted in cartoons, commercials, pop culture, TV with tags , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by Paxton

Saturdays_on_ABC_smallMost of us remember waking up as kids on Saturday morning around 6am just to watch cartoons.  It was a ritual.  I did it, and I loved it.  There were so many good cartoons when I was a kid.  But it wasn’t just cartoons shows I remember from my early Saturday morning viewings, I remember fun and musical public service announcements that would air during commercial breaks.  We’ve all seen them.  They have colorful characters, clever songs and wind up teaching us about our government, good eating habits or proper hygeine.  The most remembered and visible of these public service announcements were the Schoolhouse Rock shorts. Airing on the ABC network, Schoolhouse Rock taught kids the Preamble to the Constitution, how your nervous system works and how a bill becomes a law. But ABC produced more than just the Schoolhouse Rock shorts. ABC produced scores of other cartoon PSAs with catchy tunes and fun mascots that taught kids about healthy eating and how to get a job. Many times these PSAs are lumped into Schoolhouse Rock when we think back on them, but they were separately produced with different voice actors.

Let’s look at some of the other awesome cartoon PSAs produced by ABC in the ’70s and ’80s.  You will probably remember most of these, if not, your welcome for putting songs about nutty snack mix into your head for the next 12 hours.

Time for Timer – ABC starting producing these “Timer” commercials in the early ’70s. These are probably the most remembered shorts next to Schoolhouse Rock as they played well into the 1990s.  I actually didn’t realize this little guy’s name was Timer, even though I’ve seen the clips a thousand times and at the beginning of every one he says, “Time for Timer!”.  I’m not even sure I knew what that meant.  Now, I get it.  Timer was supposed to represent a person’s “biological clock”.  He carried around a giant stopwatch that went off whenever something was about to happen in the body (hunger, sleepiness, etc).  None of the Timer shorts have titles, they are known by their catchy songs.  His most famous is probably “Hanker for a Hunka Cheese!”.  Another favorite of mine is “Sunshine on a Stick” where Timer teaches us how to make ice pops using orange juice. I remember actually doing this several times.  I also love the “Eat Breakfast” short because the song is catchy (it actually reminds me of the songs in a Rankin-Bass Christmas Special).  There’s also “U Are What U Eat” which features cool animation of the “factory” in your body. Timer was so popular that he actually made an appearance on Family Guy.

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TV Technology to Prevent Skipping Commercials? Yes.

Posted in technology, TV with tags , on May 4, 2006 by Paxton


I was checking some tech/entertainment news this morning and this article caused me to do a spit take all over myself and my computer. After wiping up Full Throttle energy drink from my pants and in my cubicle, and then apologizing to the people around me, I got back to reading the article.  Apparently, Royal Phillips Company, also known as Phillips and one of the world’s leading electronics companies, has developed, and is trying to patent, a technology that would freeze the TV channel when commercials are airing.  This technology would reside either on the TV itself or in a set-top cable box and would force TV viewers to watch commercials.

Being a TiVo owner, I have come to loathe commercials like poison.  It’s so nice to be able to flip the fast forward button twice and get right back to the show.  After having done this for so long, the idea of being forced to watch commercials causes my banana and breakfast bar to make a return visit to my esophagus.  Every once in a while, my wife and I will watch a show live and have to sit through commercials.  It’s like water torture.  Not only are most commercials extremely irritating with fast-cut MTV editing, they are broadcast at least one and a half times louder than the show you are watching.  I do admit that there are some commercials I enjoy watching.  The Geico commercials are funny with the gecko and his limey accent.  I also enjoy the Burger King big-buckin’ chicken commercial.  Bud Light will always come up with some genius spots also (to check out the latest funny Bud Light commercials go here).

This technology, however maddening or close to patent it is, could never survive real life testing.  Consumer corporations like Sony and JVC may buy it and put it in their TVs, Motorola and Texas Instruments may buy it and put it in their cable boxes.  This is a technology you know the networks and ad executives can get behind.  And all of this can be implemented inside your hardware and not turned on.  As a matter of fact, this technology could be bundled with a larger service pack and the cable companies told they need it on their boxes to be able to capture the satellite signals.  It will then sit there until one of the companies gets the testicular fortitude to turn it on for a test audience.  The minute Joe Six-Pack can’t change the channel during commercials, he’ll flood the cable company with calls thinking his box is broken or malfunctioning.  The cable company may or may not know what is going on.  The technology will then be turned off and labeled a glitch in the system.  That’s how, in all likely-hood it should play out.

At least I hope so, because if I’m forced to watch commercials, the next logical step is staking out a small place of business and taking a hostage.  You can see me on the news, while being forced to watch the commercials.

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