Rare Marketing: 90’s Food Edition

2 min read

Five fine cuts. World-famous rub.

Hooked on Pops.

Nothing used to irk me more during Saturday morning cartoons than those Corn Pops spots with the Jaws music. They were on literally every commercial break. But I never realized how they made Corn Pops look worse than a potent speedball: Just one bowl can make you blackmail family members, convulse, or become a violent tweaker. Someone get me Nancy Reagan.

Too much cheese.

The Pizza Head Show was a Mr. Bill rip-off from Pizza Hut so shockingly lazy, it’s hard to believe it aired on national TV. The idea was to have someone carry around a piece of pizza dressed like a person and make it talk like Mickey Mouse. There’s something so unsettling about a piece of pizza wearing an eyepatch. What rotten little olive or anchovy lies beneath?

Lookin’ so fresh.

While most people couldn’t be happier about the whole cord-cutting thing, I tend to miss some of the more charming commercials of my youth. Take Mentos, for example. The vibe of their spots was always very 1970s, but featured people with hip, 1990s butt-cuts. It’s a striking juxtaposition that just works.

Take a gum trip.

I tried Fruit Stripe Gum sometime back in the early 1990s because of this commercial. The last third of the spot is so dense—and has such a shroomy, mind-exploding revelation—it needs its own 10-part prestige television miniseries to be explained. Why are cannibalistic aliens at war? How did Fruit Stripe Zebra get that Mission-Impossible-style body suit? Also, why does this gum taste like chalk?

It has healthy junk.

Sunny Delight’s late-century assault on grape-flavored beverages can be summed up in two words: purple stuff. The phrase has forever demoted a gallon of grape Kool-Aid to third-class swill, only suitable for kids who can’t afford roller blades and neon t-shirts. I’ll stick with the purple stuff, thank you.