Classic Christmas Commercials, Volume 2!


I’ve been absent for a few days, because, as it turns out, December just isn’t my month!

Still, nothing can pull me out of a forced funk faster than a Friday the 13th happening during Christmastime. Thank you, Jason and Santa. Now my world is rosy again.

Here’s another batch of Classic Christmas Commercials, once again donated by Larry P. I guess reading Volume 1 isn’t mandatory, but I’ll say it is anyway.

Pepsi’s Nintendo Giveaway!

Pepsi’s “Nintendo Holiday Game” gave soda addicts the chance to win Nintendo systems and cartridges – or if they were really lucky, a brand spanking new Game Boy.

(I can attest to the brouhaha surrounding a Game Boy giveaway in 1989. When I didn’t get one for Christmas that year, I reacted as poorly as I hope I’ll ever react to anything.)

Ads like these always have money behind them, but this one had HEART. You can’t buy heart unless you’re willing to indulge the Wilson sisters with their ridiculous concert rider. Good luck finding 400 pens made out of peacock feathers. If I had an editor, paragraphs like this would never make it.

The ad mixed traditional animation with an 8-bit flavor to rave reviews, and if you’re not won over by the sight of Santa Mario treating a general store like Level 1-3, you’re horrible and there is no pleasing you.

Also, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a clean version of the Nintendo-style Christmas music heard under the voiceover. NOTHING I wouldn’t do. If you have a copy, we can get as filthy as you want. It needs to replace the triumphant circus music as my ringtone. (I don’t know why my new phone had “triumphant circus music” set as the default.)

The Simpsons Christmas Special Promo!

I’m old enough to have gotten hooked on The Simpsons during the Tracey Ullman era. The Simpsons Christmas Special (aka, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire) was the first “real” episode that aired, and in fact, until seeing it on TV, I had no idea that a regular series was in motion.

I can’t overstate how big of a deal this was. The Ullman shorts had already made The Simpsons the Best Possible Thing at my school, but this Christmas surprise signaled the real popularity boost. It wasn’t long before our principal was banning all Simpsons shirts from school, ostensibly because one of them had the word “hell” on it.

I can still vividly recall watching the episode during its original airing. I was blown away. It was funny and smart in ways that “shows meant for me” were never smart or funny. When you watch it now, it’ll seem mostly cheesy, but back in ’89, nothing was cooler.

Hershey’s Kisses “Elves” Commercial!

You know that commercial with the Hershey’s Kisses dancing around like bells, to the tune of We Wish You A Merry Christmas? You should. It was created a lifetime ago, but Hershey’s still buys TV time for it.

Less remembered is this somewhat-similar gem from ’87. Here, an elf has trouble keeping up with his chocolate assembly line, all thanks to Santa Claus’s grabby hands.

This ad is notable for its suggested scale. Elves had never been portrayed as being so tiny before. This one is barely as big as Santa’s fingernails! With the right mix of rum and tequila, watching this paves way for pleasant daydreams of a kaiju Santa.

I want that to be a movie. I want it almost as much as the Christmassy Nintendo music.

Batman Returns on Videocassette!

Batman Returns is my favorite Batman movie ever, and barring a big screen team-up with Amy from Congo, that ain’t changing.

This promo for the Batman Returns videocassette reminded me that, yes, technically, you could argue that it was a Christmas movie. (Not many Christmas movies open with Paul Reubens tossing his mutant son into a sewer, but uniqueness is rarely a flaw.)

The ad nicely captures the film’s icy gothic motif, but there is one thing that bothers me. That last line. “Wherever video is sold.” Wouldn’t “wherever videos are sold” make more sense? Wasn’t that the standard language in these commercials?

They must have been aware of this. Maybe the scriptwriter goofed, but goofed in a way that could be construed as intentional. Maybe it would’ve upped the budget an additional 5k to change the voiceover and graphics, so they decided that they were “just right enough.”

BUT IT STILL BOTHERS ME. It’s like a rancid cherry on top of an otherwise perfect sundae.

Maybe I’m just cranky.

Burger King Reindeer Dolls!

The previous ads were great, but this one is the most important. Because THIS is the commercial that will FINALLY explain where your weird reindeer doll came from.

Everyone has one. Even if you think you don’t… trust me, you do. There’s at least one of these beanbaggy reindeer dolls in every house. I can’t explain it; it’s just one of those things that IS.

Turns out, they were part of a Burger King promotion from 1987. The dolls were $1.99 with any purchase. Part of the profits went to local charities, and I love how the voiceover guy switched to his “endearing” inflection as he told us that.

…but what percentage, Burger King? How much of your cut went to Project Care? Silence can only lead to cynical assumptions. Was it like, three cents for every reindeer? Because that’s a glass ass brag.

Now, to celebrate what today is, here’s Jason Voorhees as Santa Claus.


I treat proportions like garbage.