I wasn’t planning to go back to this well so soon, but I found a *really great* Gremlins 2 commercial, and that shit just can’t wait.
Every ad featured in this edition of Five Retro TV Commercials premiered in 1990. Most of ’em aired during the same blocks of weekday afternoon sitcom reruns. Enjoy!
Sunkist’s Gremlins 2 Promotion! (1990)
What begins only as a cheerful Sunkist commercial becomes the stuff of legend in its final moments, as no less than GIZMO HIMSELF makes an appearance.
Seems there was some Gremlins 2 sweepstakes connected to Sunkist, and I can’t believe I never knew that until this week. This ad must’ve had an extremely short flight, because I can’t even find a reference to it online, let alone another copy of the video.
Watching Gizmo go wide-eyed over a can of Diet Sunkist made my day in a way few things could.
Nintendo Game Genie! (1990)
This ad liberally borrowed from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which premiered just a year prior. It’s not me, is it? These kids were clearly doing Bill and Ted impressions. Goddamn, even the outfits looked infringing.
You’ll note that the commercial was produced by Galoob, not Nintendo. That’s why they had to make do with simulated video game footage. The graphics on Galoob’s fake games evoked direct-to-video cartoons from televangelists with cradle-to-grave stratagems, but I still kinda wanna play them.
(I don’t know how the Game Genie “reads” by 2017 standards, but holy shit, you would not believe how big of a deal it was back in 1990. Being able to fuck with our Nintendo carts to win more easily felt like an honest-to-goodness superpower.)
Darkman Movie Promo! (1990)
I love that a Darkman promo aired during an afternoon rerun of Laverne & Shirley. Horror movie TV spots were often a kid’s first exposure to the genre, and in 30 second chunks with all of the naughtiest bits cut out, they always seemed more manageable.
(Not that Darkman was a horror movie, mind you. Even though the titular hero mixed the Invisible Man with a better-natured Freddy Krueger. People also get their fingers chopped off.)
This wasn’t the only Darkman promo, but it sure was the friendliest. I know the movie had some intentional campiness, but I’ve always found it to be grim and aggressive, too. The way this commercial played it, Darkman felt like The Rocketeer with spit on it.
Corn Pops w/ Rescue Rangers Stampers! (1990)
Man, those cheap stampers got around! If you’re anywhere near my age, there’s no way you’ve never pulled one of ‘em out of a cereal box.
Aside from all of the Disney versions, there were stampers for several Hanna-Barbera characters, and heck, even Boglins. Kellogg’s loved the stamper concept more than you love your family.
Actually, I can see why they kept repeating it. For cereal prizes, these were fantastic. Each stamp came with its own tiny ink pad, and they worked just as well as advertised. (Even if you find one now, there’s a good chance that it’ll still work!)
Nestle Alpine White! (1990)
This ad remakes an ultra-famous ad jingle from the mid ‘80s, so if it sounds too much like an ‘80s song to be from 1990, that’s why.
This version of the sexy Nestle Alpine White theme is less popular than the original, but boy do I love it. It makes Alpine White sound like the moodiest candy bar on the planet. I wouldn’t know whether to eat it or secretly crush on it.
It’s Darlene Conner as a white wolf. But also somehow chocolate.
PS: I should’ve mentioned that these videos all have scratchy audio before we started, but I was afraid you’d get cold feet and hop to all of those other sites covering Darkman promos and Gadget Hackwrench stampers. Just keeping it real.