Old comic books often act as a time capsule. They’re full of advertisements of products from long ago. Some are still with us, while others are not. I often like to crack open the pages of a long forgotten comic book and just browse the advertisements found inside with which to take a trip back in time to another era. Let’s open one of those time capsules here today.
The “time capsule” for this trip back in time is a copy of Iceman #1, from Marvel Comics in 1984. It was the first issue of his first mini-series, and I imagine this mini-series was created to capitalize on the character’s popularity from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon.
The first ad we come across is a real eye opener. It’s for the Mario Bothers home video game for the Atari 2600 system. It’s hard to think of a Mario game being on any system besides one from Nintendo, but this is from before Nintendo was launched in the USA and Mario took over the video gaming world. This version of the game for Atari was an arcade port to the home system.
This ad was from Best Buy that features 1996 computers, was posted online a few months ago. It really brought back a lot of memories. In 1996, I was lucky enough to have a 486 computer, but all of my serious computer friends had been talking about Pentiums since 1993. As you can see, three years later, and the Pentium was still the hot chip in all 1996 Computers. This ad would have been something I would stare at while eating my breakfast cereal. This was fantasy material for me, since most of these machines with their nearly $2000 plus price tag were well out of my reach.
When computers were advertised, they would put a price that would not include the monitor. Yet, they would display the monitor with some small text tell you it was not included. This drove me nuts. This ad’s prices include the whole caboodle. Accept the Mac of course, you can see the disclaimer in the very tiny fine print.
So lets take a look at these machines.
You have the 133MHz HP Pentium is a mere $1899.
For $100 more you could pick up a Packard-Bell with a 133MHz HP Pentium.
If you had all the money in the world, you could really splurge and get yourself a Mac. It will cost you nearly $3000 with the monitor included, but that is the price you pay to own Apple products. Some things have not changed much.
I bookmark a lot of websites. So many that it can take me months or even years to re-stumble upon something I thought I needed to share. In 2015 this 1994 Best Buy Ad was posted on Imgur. I drooled over it for about an hour back then, but moved on. This week I rediscovered it and thought I would dive into this gem. So let’s travel back to the nineties and explore the best items from this October of 1994 Best Buy Ad. I am sure it is filled with all sorts of electronic treats and Halloween references.
In 1994, I was still spending some of my time working at a video store. Disney Movies were a huge money-maker for us. Sales on these things were no joke and Best Buy is pushing hard on 4 Disney classics. The Return of Jafar might have the same clamshell box, but a classic it was not. That being said, it was very popular at our store. The first month we couldn’t keep it on the shelves.
That is a nice enough Packard Bell. I especially like that the monitor is included in this package. So many ads back then would mix and match monitor inclusion. It was often confusing and disappointing.
Odd, not leading with something related to Halloween.
Music? Can’t say many of the CDs would have caught my attention. But if you incline your head to the right, you will see the object of my affection, the Sega Genesis.
How are they enticing people to buy systems at Best Buy in 1994? A free backpack of course! From that photo, I would say that the backpack almost looks too small. Unless you only want to pack 1 or 2 games. I guess if one of those games is Shaq-Fu, that is all you need. We really seemed to be into Shaquille O’Neil in the 90s.
Hmm, wonder why no attempts at a Halloween or horror game.
Page 3 of the 1994 Best Buy Ad is the high-priced audio equipment. Everyone of these objects was out of my price range. Looking at them now, I am relieved I was cool with my sister’s hand me down equipment. That saved me a lot of money.
Yes! 31 inches of TV for a mere 800 bucks. That TV with no-name looks really familiar. If I am not mistaken it was the style of TV we used in our video store. Something about the sound grill looks familiar. I am not sure if Sound Grill is a real word, but if not, I am coining it. We had those going 24/7 and never had a problem with them. So if that is the TV we had, $800 might have been a good deal.
Just want to add, it’s like Halloween is not even happening in this circular.
More television, all of them showing Snow White, which was as a I mentioned, a big deal at the time. I would always peruse the TVs in the circulars, but what I was really interested at this point in time were those video camcorders. For reasons I can no longer recall, I really wanted an 8mm one.
Stop everything! 540MB Hard Drive for only 300 dollars? I wonder what the failure rate was on the Conner Drives? Some other items of note: 14.4 modems for those weirdos who do the online and Best Buy’s lab coat wearing computer techs. Was anyone out there a Best Buy computer tech back then? Did they really provide lab coats?
I would like to go as a Best Buy Halloween Tech for Halloween this year. Did they wear any special badges on their lab coats?
Look at all the computers! I would have done just about anything for any one of these machines in 1994. I would like to take this opportunity to focus on the use of free software to help sell the computer. For those who complain about your computer being filled with all sorts of nonsense when it was installed, I think this is where it got started. While some of this stuff might have been interesting to play with, for the most part it went on a shelf or in a box and was never opened. It was just noise. Bloatware you needed to install yourself.
20 free pieces of Stoneware with the purchase of most of these large appliances! Wow. How can they afford to do that?
While I had very little interest in these large appliance in 1994 or now. For some weird reason I have always found the Chest Freezer to be oddly compelling. Just think of all the ice pops and ice cream sandwiches you could buy on sale and keep cold with one of them.
They wait until the last page to post a pumpkin? Just a pumpkin?? This close to Halloween and this is all they could fit into the ad? That is disappointing. Oh well. Let’s take a look at the other stuff.
Almost $140 for a Discman! No wonder it took me nearly a decade to get one. That is not a terrible price for video tapes, but I could find them cheaper. As for the boomboxes, they lacked the style of their eighties ancestors. So I had no interest in them.
My family would keep circulars like these for years. It is a shame that at some point we cleaned house and threw them all away. Who knows what treasures we could be finding now. Still it is nice that someone is making an effort to share and preserve gems like this 1994 Best Buy Ad.
I almost hate to write this post, but the time has come. If you follow me on social media, you might notice that every once in a while I post an ad for Kraft Potato Fudge. It is one of my favorite ads to post and it also fake.
Why do I enjoy posting it? Primarily because I think it is a funny ad. But also because I want to live in a world where Potato Fudge is a real thing. An alternative history where parents were so desperate to get kids to eat spuds, they would slather them in fudge.
Alas, we do not live in that world. But each time I post this faux ad, I see people reacting and believing that we do.
This has usually made me smile, and I always figured what is the harm. But after some emails and messages with people during my last post, I started to realize how seriously people can take this misinformation. This is making me feel bad, so I am going to stop posting it.
I should not be surprised that the rest of the world also wants to believe in Potato Fudge. They will overlook details on the ad that are kind of jokey or just “off” looking. (That kid’s face is just a brilliant addition to the original ad!) Who can blame them really. The world would be a lot more magical if Kraft Potato Fudge were a real thing.
Now, I know I will get some emails from people asking me, how can I prove it is a fake. Well here is the original Cheez Whiz ad that this ad is a Photoshopped version of.
Cheez Whiz Ad Potato Fudge is based upon
For those of you out there who are saying, “No, potato fudge is real, I have had it.” You are probably referring to the fudge that is made with mashed potatoes. You can find lots of recipes for it online. From what I understand, it tastes just like regular old fudge. It just has a slightly different consistency. Here is an ad for the fudge I found online from C&H.
Recipe for REAL Potato Fudge
I hope I didn’t ruin many people’s day by posting this. We have had lots of crazy products over the years that actually existed to make us look back and laugh.
Also, I just want to add, this is the internet, and for some weird reason, I could be making this entire thing up as well.
Maybe Potato Fudge does exist, but I am just trying to throw you off its trail. Perhaps I am using it to popularize my fake C&H Potato Fudge recipe? Or what if my Mother was the inventor of it, and it has been a family shame or we are wrapped up in long-term court battle? Even better, maybe I am just trying to fool the world into thinking that something called “Cheez Whiz” actually existed.
Ah, Autumn in New York. Crisp air and beautiful changing leaves, who wouldn’t want to visit the Empire State this time of year? Oddly Enough, a lot of people. That is why New York ran its long-running, “Autumn in New York” ad campaign.
I remember it as an adjunct to the more famous, “I Love New York” campaign, but I found them equally compelling. The campaign can easily trace its roots to the popular song of the same name. “Autumn in New York” is a jazz standard composed by Vernon Duke. It was written for the 1934 Broadway musical Thumbs Up! While originally written for that musical, a ludicrous number of covers of it have been recorded over the years. Perhaps, most famous was this cover by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Autumn in New York covered by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
I went on a quest for the original Autumn in New York Ad Campaign commercials, but could not find it online. As a consolation prize, I was able to dig up the print ad you see above. The ad is a sneak peek of all the beautiful leaves you will find when you visit New York State in the autumn. While the ad is old, I bet you the leaves have not changed their shape.
So if you are headed to New York, or any other leafing destination, why not take it along. Everyone will marvel at how skilled you are with leaf identification. You will earn the nickname “Professor Leaf, and people will high-five you as your move through the colorful forests. Remember folks, at bars, “Professor Leaf” never has to pay for a drink. It is just one of the perks of being such an accomplished academic.
Want some retro ad campaign wonderfulness? I suggest the original “I Love New York” campaign (Broadway Edition). This one has Frank Langella as Dracula and lots of other Broadway luminaries in it!