MTV, iconic cola wars, neon, slap bracelets, Nintendo, and some insanely weird ads all bring you back to the 80s. For anyone that remembers watching TV in the 80s, the most memorable ads were a combination of weird, crazy, cool, and sometimes hilarious. And, when you run across them today, you’ll definitely know what decade they’re from. So, take a journey back in time with some of the weirdest ads from the 80s.
The 80s weren’t just about weird ads. The decade was filled with incredible movies, shows, music videos, and of course, anime. Make sure you check out these great 80s anime you can watch online.
Chewits – The Muncher Menace
Chewits began using Muncher, a Godzille-esque character, as their ad mascot in the 70s. However, the ads really started catching on in the 80s. For anyone who loved watching old sci-fi movies in the 50s and 60s, it’s hard not to love The Muncher Menace as he attacks London, looking for something tasty to chew on. His favorite snack – Chewits of course! It’s a mixture of cute, nostalgic, and mixes several decades into one classic memorable 80s ad.
Coca-Cola – Max Headroom
Coca-Cola and Pepsi ads were everywhere in the 80s. In fact, the two had some of the most iconic ads, including this weird ad featuring the AI character Max Headroom. Played by the amazing Matt Frewer, this ad helped introduce Coke’s new and improved recipe, aka the horrible tasting failure, New Coke. While New Coke lasted just a few months, the weird ad was hard not to watch when it came on. In a decade filled with shows and movies focused on a high-tech future, this ad fit in perfectly.
Apple – 1984 Superbowl Ad
When you’re releasing the first Macintosh computer, there’s no better event to premiere your ad than the Superbowl. To play on the 1984 release date, Apple based their entire ad around 1984 by George Orwell. While everyone else marches in, bland and boring, a woman runs in with a sledgehammer and smashes the voice on the screen, freeing everyone to think for themselves and escape Big Brother. What makes it even cooler? It was directed by the iconic Ridley Scott.
Kinder – Humpty Dumpty
Kinder may win for having one of the creepiest and weirdest ads from the 80s. While the classic fairytale character Humpty Dumpty usually isn’t considered scary in the least, this ad may give you nightmares. The creepy CGI character gives Humpty a human-like face, but definitely not a face you’d ever want to run into. As a kid, you might have loved Kinder’s surprise toys in the chocolate eggs, but I’m sure many kids probably ran away from the TV screaming after this ad.
Um Bongo – They Drink It In The Congo
The 80s had some of the best TV show themes and ad jingles of all time. They were catchy and had people singing them for months after they heard them. Um Bongo made sure everyone would remember to drink this particular fruit drink with the “They Drink It In The Congo” jingle. Colorful jungle animals, such as pythons and hippos, show how the juice is made. Just be warned, this may become an earworm for weeks after you hear it.
Nintendo – Legend of Zelda
The Zelda franchise has been a hit with Nintendo from the very beginning. Yet, Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda ad from the 80s might have made a few parents hesitate on buying the game for their kids. In a strange ad that has a hyperactive man running around a small room screaming out names of creatures from the game, it feels a bit like a weird 80s music video. Despite how strange it may be, you’ll have no trouble remembering the what the ad was for, which is exactly what Nintendo intended.
Trebor – Mr. Soft
Trebor’s Mr. Soft is one of the weirdest ads from the 80s. While not creepy like Kinder’s, you might find yourself doing a double-take with the dancing car, cat, and man. Everything’s made of a squishy, marshmallow type substance that’s supposed to represent the brand’s soft mints. If you’re a fan of the rock group Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, the jingle might feel familiar. While the song was written by them, new lyrics and another singer are used in the ad.
Diet Pepsi – Michael J. Fox
Want people to pay attention to your product? Grab Michael J. Fox for a truly cool ad that shows just how important Diet Pepsi can be for making a great first impression on the new neighbors. The entire ad feels like it would fit in great in Back to the Future, with Marty McFly eager to impress his very attractive next door neighbor by going above and beyond to get her a Diet Pepsi. While he’s not actually playing that character, it’s still a fun ode to 80s film, while making Pepsi stand out momentarily in the cola wars. Love this one? Check out another Fox Pepsi ad where he meets his clone.
Miller Lite – Tastes Great vs. Less Filling
Miller Lite created a tagline that people still recognize today. In an ad filled with celebrities on opposing softball teams, players battle it out to see who is really best – Tastes Great or Less Filling. Rodney Dangerfield drives in to help save the day for team Less Filling, while Loni Anderson tries to give Tastes Great a winning home run. There’s even an epic catch by the legendary John Madden. In a mixture of weird and cool, this ad instantly makes you think of all the spoof comedies of the 80s. Miller also did a similar ad in the 80s with a bowling league.
Image credit: Humpty dumpty toy by 123RF