As you can tell from my bizarre devotion for such animated classics as "Creepy Crawlers: The Animated Series", I have the oddest love for commercials.
Those little snippets of time between my cartoons that are designed to sell something to me. Like the blissfully stupid cartoons that clearly depict characters that have their own action figures, they create a world of their own; a place that resembles my own dimension but is still somewhat alien to me on account there's one particular product that is made out to be the best damn thing you've ever seen, and if you don't buy it, you're either a loser or unhip or some other related adjective.
However, commercials are like a double-edged sword. If they do their job well, they can be really memorable and they might even make you more compelled to buy the product. If they're terrible or grotesque, well, then they tend to be the commercials that air with a really bizarre amount of frequency and make you want to stab the people responsible.
But I'm going to be nice today and point out some snack commercials that really did do their job.
Here were the rules that made this list:
1. The commercials had to be animated. This site is called Nothing But Cartoons and by god I'm going to stick to that name!
2. NO CEREAL COMMERCIALS. Cereal commercials are in a special, crazy league of their own and will be covered at another time. The Trix rabbit will have his day in the spotlight, mark my words.
3. The snacks had to be, in some way, bad for you. Only one of these foods has sort of nutritional value to be had from them (maybe two, if you're really stretching it), but come on. It's obvious that the best commercials were attached to the most sugary and salty of delights. Healthy food commercials usually carry with them an odd air of pretentiousness, like they know they're good for you and they're going to make fun of those lousy philistines for daring to have more calories than them, and because of that, they tend to be more annoying than snack commercials.
So with that being said, let corporate hypnotism wash over your brain and compel you to spend your money on their food, because this is...
1. Nabisco Ritz Bits Sandwiches
|If you hate these, you're subhuman. It's in one of the Ten Commandments.|
Probably the most beloved of the corporate snack crackers (their only competition being Kellogg's Cheez-Its, and those things are freaking nasty and taste like gross), Ritz Crackers and their smaller variety stuffed with fillings known as Ritz Bits Sandwiches are like little bite-sized morsels of deliciousness. These things were the staple of any schoolchild's lunch when I was growing up. I couldn't find a single colleague amongst my Pokemon card trading group that hated these things. Some preferred the ones with cheese filling, some preferred the peanut butter ones, and there was a more daring and odd variety of kid that honest to god liked the limited edition pizza Ritz Bits.
|I remember these things tasting a little like stomach acid and crushed dreams.|
But anyways, these snacks rule (save for the pizza flavor) and I wish I had a handful of them right now. They're basically the salty, cracker version of Oreos. And, like Oreos, my favorite part of eating a Ritz Bits Sandwich was pulling it apart and eating the filling first.
The commercials have a simple, tried-and-true concept that's existed in TV commercials since the advent of the medium. All they have to do is anthropomorphize some snack crackers, make them frolic and happily go about their bite-sized lives while looking suitably edible, and somehow work in the box so that children will have something to recognize and grab off the shelves for their parents to buy. That sounds like the simplest damn thing in the world, right?
Well, they went above and beyond the call of duty here, because in one commercial, the box is a goddamn spaceship. Who knew cardboard had thermal control strong enough to withstand transit through the Earth's stratosphere and is able to survive the merciless vacuum of space?
|Now I wonder if Ritz Bits had a space race with the Goldfish nation.|
|"Om nom nom nom natural resources are delicious!"|
Ladies and gentlemen, we have just witnessed an evolution of a snack species. At the risk of grossly overexaggerating the impact of this commercial, this is a moment as great as the dawning of man in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
|I demand that someone redub this commercial with the 2001: A Space Odyssey song.|
|If I saw this happening in my kitchen, I'd be calling an exorcist immediately.|
...and who the hell leaves a jar of nacho cheese just sitting out in the open?
Why this commercial is awesome
I started my list with this set of commercials because these are three of my personal favorite food commercials of all time. There's nothing to hate in any of these commercials, except for the fact that Nacho Cheese-flavored Ritz Bits don't exist anymore and that's a goddamn crime against humanity right there.
What makes all three of these commercials appealing to me is that the crackers in all of these commercials are pretty likeable for sodium-coated sandwiches. They react to their environments with child-like wonder. The Ritz Bits Sandwich society has not yet developed a system of language in order to properly communicate their happiness for discovering a cheese planet (beyond saying "Cheeeeese!") or a magical wonderland of dancing cacti, but they are able to squeak out happy little Whee's and Yay's while they gobble up cheese mountains or slide around in peanut butter.
It helps that they have really charming animation here and, unlike the creepy as hell M and M's, DON'T have scary human limbs or eyeballs attached to them. They're merely crackers and crackers they shall remain.
Sadly, they didn't go the dancing, happy Ritz Bits route with the Ritz Bits S'mores commercials, choosing to instead make it about sumo wrestlers slamming into one another.
|CRACKERS SHOULD NOT WEAR THONGS.|
2. Kellogg's Twistables
A now non-existent food (and it doesn't even have its own Wikipedia entry, that's how badly it bombed), Kellogg's Twistables were doomed from the start. They were essentially a twisty fruit snack in a world where Twizzlers exist and were already well-loved and cherished by most schoolchildren. They had to come up with something to make people buy their strange, fruit rope and they had to do it fast.
So they decided to get the guys responsible for Wallace and Gromit to make commercials where various fruits were in boot camp (Or should I say "fruit" camp), being repeatively chastised by an anthropomorphic Twistable.
...yeah, I guess that makes sense in some parallel dimension.
|Because I want to eat something that's stomping around in an arid desert environment |
and has teeth that will haunt my nightmares.
...oh wait, I think something like that already exists and it's called "Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island".
|This is how you sell a product.|
And why is the pineapple so freaking scary? Look at that smile! He's going to murder that orange in his sleep, I just know it!
Why this commercial is awesome
The commercials are more memorable than the actual product.
|Why Sergeant Twistable, I do believe you're trying to seduce me!|
In fact, "It's the fruit snack with the TWIIIIST!" is exactly what I punched into Google in order to actually remember the product's name. Yes, I seriously forgot these things existed until I did this post. I know plenty of people who remember the boot camp commercials, but no one could peg a product name to them. You can't deny it; these characters had actual charm to them. Their designs could get a little repulsive (that pineapple) but they're certainly more visually appealing that those crappy California Raisins, that's for sure.
Plus, you know, Aardman animated these things. Enough said.
3. Chips Ahoy Cookies
Okay, really? I have to describe Chips Ahoy! cookies as if there would exist a person who's never heard of them? Seriously?
Fine. Go to your supermarket. Go into the cookie aisle. They're going to be sitting next to the Oreos. Done.
Joking aside, I heard many, many, many people in my life say that these cookies are pretty terrible compared to homemade cookies. And they are, but since I currently live in a dorm, these corn syrup infused sweets serve as a suitable and affordable replacement for that cookie-deprived void in my life. And let me tell you, there are many, many things that happen to me that can only be cured through routine cookie injections. The sugar dulls the pain.
So basically, they're not the best cookies in the world, but they're certainly the cheapest and the most mass-produced.
With that kind of description, you'd be expecting some sort of monotonous commercial where kids or teenagers enjoy cookies at various locations, right? You know, like 80% of food commercials today.
No. Instead, the entire damn world is made out of cookies and milk, an exclamation mark turns into a hot air balloon that promises a thousand chocolate chips in every bag, there are chocolate chip tornadoes that manifest cookies at random, and there is big band music in the background while chocolate chips explode with more chocolate chips.
|What Cookie Monster pictures when he visualizes Nirvana.|
Huh, so this is what one pictures when they experiment with recreational drugs and eat cookies at the same time.
Why this commercial is awesome
It made a classic piece of music "The Chips Ahoy song" for a long period of time.
|For influencing an entire genre of music, his art will be used to promote chocolate chip cookies. Capitalism!|
But going back on the chocolate chip planet there because it's just too good of an idea to ignore. I'm pretty sure if we as a human race encountered a planet with giant oceans of milk (geez, how many cows would that even take and how foul would it smell?) and edible mountains made out of chocolate-y goodness, it'd be considered perfectly okay to completely subjugate and enslave the chip inhabitants and then consume their homeland.
...geez, like most of this list so far involves strange alien worlds that are somehow appetizing. This is like if the Star Wars Universe did a crossover with Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.
|Oh, good. It's an excellent source of calcium. That means it's perfectly healthy.|
Even though they've since cleaned up their act and actually made these things at least somewhat nutritious, Lunchables were at the peak of their popularity in the 90's and into the early 2000's, when they were just jam-packed with preservatives and sugars. When I was in 6th grade, my teacher actually made me read out all of the ingredients in my Ham and American Cracker Stackers to illustrate just how unhealthy we children of today are eating. And you know what? After that lecture was over, none of us gave a single crap, because by god, all that sodium and saturated fat was what made them tasted so good!
And little did my teacher know that later, they would release Lunchable Mega Packs with honest to god sodas packed inside. I wonder if there were a correlation between Lunchables and childhood obesity.
|In retrospect, I'm surprised they got away with selling these.|
There are many, many, many Lunchable commercials laden throughout the sands of time, but none were as cool as the pizza commercial in the early 90's, because it involves a bizarre and almost unique brand of logic from the people responsible for spawning this thirty seconds of weirdness.
But I'll get to that in a moment. The commercial starts with some kid, gloomily lit only by the soulless glow of his computer. Somehow, we're supposed to believe this is taking place during school hours instead of automatically assuming that the kid is staying up past one in the morning in order to grind for Leatherworking mats for his Rogue Dwarf alt he rolled on Proudmoore.
|"Man, I hate grinding for Darkmoon rep..."|
So, why wasn't he using this ungodly mutated speed to complete his schoolwork ahead of time, giving him more leisure time again?
|Way to waste the computer lab's ink, asshole!|
And is it me, or does this guy look like the teenaged version of Bends from Street Sharks? It would explain why he's suddenly taking orders from random pieces of paper falling from the sky.
|"Yeah, sure! Thank you for the information, mysterious flyer!"|
|Oh god, if that pizza turns into another Frosty the Snowman, I'm calling the police.|
Hey, surely you're familiar with the "spontaneously generate matter" option on a standard office copier, right?
|Well, they do taste kind of like paper...|
|And the delivery guy remains smiling, because he's so totally baked right now.|
I just hope everyone on planet Earth can tolerate frigid pizza sauce and tasteless cheese. Man those things were nasty...
Why this commercial is awesome
Because it made many kids vainly try to photocopy pizza boxes in hoping the copier would actually spit out Lunchables.
...or maybe I was just gullible. Either way, my mom was pissed.
5. Chips Ahoy Creamwiches
Another Chips Ahoy commercial? That's cheating!
Fear not, reader, for there is a method to my madness.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I saved the best for last. If you watched TV at all during a certain time frame, you will have this commercial deeply imbedded in your memory nodes of your brain. And you're going to hate me for digging this memory up. It's not too late to turn away while the song is still out of your head!
But before I begin, let me describe what goes on in this commercial. It's but a simple bus, commuting through the city. But, amongst the normal claymation-animated people, a pile of cream also rides. Looking like a large, sentient pile of splooge (meaning this bus is a lot like the bus I ride to my college) with oddly defined lips and eyeballs, no one comments on the strange, tasty being. Hey, just as long as he pays taxes and obeys the law, cream can become perfectly valued members of society just like the rest of us. Hell, one day, they might even elect a pile of cream as president!
|"I'm sitting in something wet."|
I also just noticed that neither of them paid. I understand that it would be hard for them to insert coins into the machine on account neither of them have any limbs, but it's still pretty rude.
|"Man, Phil. I tell ya. They really discriminate against Bakery Americans."|
Iiiiii'm squeeeeeeezed in the middle,
Smack dab in the middle!
Squeeeeeeeezed in the middle,
Smack dab in the middle!
Behold, a song that defined a generation.
Why this commercial is awesome
Really, nothing more can be said. I can't touch perfection and that's exactly what this commercial is.
And with those wise lyrics, I conclude my list of snack commercials. I may one day return to the land of commercials and once more talk about the snippets of animation that usually are forgotten by most cartoon gurus, but for now, I have actual shows that I need to talk about.
Because why talk about 30 seconds of commercial when I can talk about toy commercials that are over 20 minutes long?
Aw yeah, that's some good commercialism right there...