Whether you’re into Freddy Krueger, Universal Studios or KILLER ROBOT CABBAGE PATCH KIDS, this edition of Classic Creepy Commercials will satisfy your weird craving. Enjoy:
Freddy’s Holiday Party Contest! (1988)
Stay with me here, because it gets convoluted!
If you lived in Portland in 1988, you had the chance to win Freddy’s fabulous HOLIDAY PARTY KIT, which included everything from a Dream Master videotape to, wow, Freddy Krueger party hats.
To enter, “all” you had to watch Freddy’s Nightmares (Sundays at 6PM), write the name of the particular episode on a postcard, and then drop that postcard off at a participating video store.
Sounds like a major fuss, but how else were you gonna get your hands on official Freddy Krueger party invitations? I just hope KPDX 49 ran this spot frequently, because it took me five tries to understand the rules.
WPIX Filmation Ghostbusters Contest! (1986)
Oof, this contest was almost as confusing as Freddy’s!
I’m assuming this was an “added value” spot for WPIX’s existing pool of advertisers. Back when I worked in children’s television promos, we came up with similar contests all the time.
Like, say McDonald’s paid for a certain amount of ad time on your network. To make the deal a little sweeter for them, you’d also devise some sort of “contest spot” and claim it was sponsored by McDonald’s. Make sense?
In this case, they rewarded existing advertisers (and us viewers) with a Ghostbusters-themed giveaway. You’ll note that I’m talking about *Filmation’s* Ghostbusters, which had zero to do with Slimer, but made up for it with loads of Prime Evil.
While a computer was the top prize, I think kids would’ve been more interested in that Ghost Command playset. The toy was rare even when it was still new, but forget about it now. Last time I checked eBay, a boxed version was listed for 8000 dollars!
The Addams Family loves Honey Nut Cheerios! (1994)
This is such a fitting animation style for The Addams Family — it’s a shame it was limited to one single Honey Nut Cheerios commercial!
In 1994, Honey Nut Cheerios boxes came with special 3D Addams Family art on the backs. Cool and all, but I’m amazed they went through this much trouble to promote that. (For the record, the promotion had no formal ties to the live-action movies, let alone the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series.)
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that the commercial looked so good. Imagine you were an animator slated to work on a Cheerios spot, and then they told you that you’d get to draw Wednesday and Lurch, too. Opportunities like that don’t come by often, so they for damn sure would’ve brought their A-game.
Universal Studios Florida! (1990)
I get that a Universal Studios commercial doesn’t scream “creepy,” but check out those intense shots of Gozer, Jaws, Stay Puft and Brundlefly!
Some of you would know better than me: Were they overpromising, here? I’ve only been to Universal Studios once — the Hollywood version, in 1987. I had fun, but the experience wasn’t even close to what they pitched in this commercial, where you literally swam with Jaws and stood nose-to-nose with snarling Terror Dogs. Artistic license, or was this legit?
Whatever the case, both the Florida and Hollywood parks had many similar commercials — energetic to the point of frenetic — throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. If you bought into the possibly-romanticized pitches, they really did seem like the coolest places on Earth.
Monsters TV Series Promo! (1988)
Gonna go ahead and call this the most effective ten-second promo of all time. Even 30+ years later, how could anyone watch that and not want to immediately locate the episode? (I get that I’m particularly charmed by possessed dolls, but still.)
The episode, Holly’s House, is about the animatronic host of a children’s TV show who might actually be alive, and of course, EVIL. (I’m no Monsters expert, but from what I can tell, it’s considered one of the show’s better episodes.)
You might suspect that Holly was inspired by Chucky, but since Child’s Play debuted in theaters just one month before this episode hit television, that seems unlikely. Given Holly’s spaghetti-haired appearance, I think Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were the major influence.
Fun fact: That’s Michael J. Anderson — from Twin Peaks and Carnivale — in the suit!
Thanks for reading/watching. I have enough spots left to do *another* edition of Classic Creepy Commercials before October 31st, so if this is your jam, keep an eye out!