Sip Ups

Do you remember Sip Ups?

As a kid, anything with sugar in it was alright with me. So I took to juice boxes and Capri Suns like a fish to water. Just hand me a tiny straw and container with some sweet fluid in it and I would attack it with gusto. This meant that when given the opportunity, I would pick up the newest flavors when they hit stores. Usually that was followed with discussions with my friends about which was our favorites. This was not the case with Sip Ups.

Sip Ups were flavored milk drink boxes. They made a splash with a wonderful commercial, but lasted barely a year. I got to try their Chocolate and Strawberry flavor and thought they were pretty good. Telling this to my friends, they all asked their parents for them. When they got their own Sip Ups, they did not have the same positive experience. They hated them. In my town, I was the only one who seemed to enjoy them. Not sure why that was. Perhaps my palate, is just not discerning enough?

ReadI Love Capri Sun!

I must have drank a few dozen Sip Ups during their run. We especially loaded up on them when they were being discontinued. Not making the association between the low price and their failure, I would look for them for months after it was obvious that they were gone to everyone else. Now as I mentioned, I had the chocolate and strawberry Sip Ups, but I could have sworn they also had vanilla and blueberry. This is probably some sort of phantom memory caused by some other product mix-ups, because I cannot find any proof of those flavors online.

Unlike other retro products, I doubt we will ever see Sip Ups again. Even though that is the case, we do have an amazing commercial with a catchy jingle, to keep their memory alive. It is basically just a group of kids musically yelling, “Where doing Sip Ups,” over and over again, but it works.

This earworm has been stuck in my head since the mid-eighties and every time I hit play it comes roaring back. While you might be transfixed by the music, also pay attention to the choreography. The best part is this kid in the front in the purple jacket. I feel like this is take 100 for the day and he is so over being in this commercial.

Sip Ups Kids

Sip Ups Kids

Enjoy this classic ad for Sip Ups

MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo

Remember the MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo?

When you think of Hawaii, what do you think of? Sandy beaches? Beautiful sunsets? Groundbreaking rock bands from Akron, OH? Not many people will think that last one, but thanks to a contest that MTV ran back in 1982, Devo and Hawaii are never far apart in mind. The MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo ran for a few months and was featured both in print and on MTV itself.

The winner would get 5 sunny day and 4 thrilling nights in Honolulu with the band. In addition they included a cool Walkman, DEVO albums, outfits, spending money and much more. Sadly it was a contest reserved for the 18 year and older crowd, so young spuds need not apply. As a guest of Devo, you would also get to go backstage at their concert. Which took place on February 22, 1982 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena in Honolulu, HI. Sadly no footage of that concert is online.

MTV seemed to be on a real contest kick back in 1982. My sister was always talking about the House Party contests that she wanted to win. I think that one took place right after the Devo contest. It was a real fun time to be watching MTV, I can only imagine how crazy it was working there.

This classic 1982 MTV promo for the MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo features Devo. Plus music video clips from Beautiful World, Whip It and Satisfaction. In the image above you can see JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn digging into the crate full of contest entries for a winner. I loved this version of MTV. Not only did they do fun contests, but they were also comically broad in their approach to things.

The winner of the contest was Dolli Markovich. Dolli, coincidentally hailed from the same town as Devo, Akron, OH. Looking online, I cannot find a Dolli Markovich. If you are out there Dolli, I would love to hear from you and know what winning this contest was like.

Watch the MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo promo

MCI Mail

MCI Mail wanted to be the nation’s new postal system

MCI Mail was a commercial email and messaging. It was operated by MCI Communications from 1983 to 2003. Started on September 23, 1983, it was ahead of its time. Naturally being one of the first commercial email services in the United States, it was met with confusion by many. The commercials they released for MCI Mail didn’t really answer what they were all about.

Commercial for MCI Mail from 1983

Even though it was confusing to the non-technical person, it was a clever ad. A father and son, with comically over-sized should-pads visit a museum in the future. There they see a letter from 1983. The son has never seen one before and even mispronounces the word. Then he asked what did it “let” people do. Hilarious!

The evolution of MCI Mail seems pretty logical and tried to piggyback on the technological expectations of the times. First you used it just like a closed email system. Access to the initial MCI Mail service was provided using up to a 5600 baud modem. Which you connected to a standard telephone land line. Then you would dial-in on the toll-free access number at (800)444-Mail.

Read A $339 PCMCIA Modem is a Lot Like an Oreo?

Later it would be expanded to allow you to communicate with non-MCI customers. While at the same time, you could use a hybrid service which sent electronic mails to distant areas. There they would be printed out and could be delivered in under 4 hours.

In 1994 MCI stopped supporting the product, but remarkably the service persisted for almost another decade. By 2003, e-mail and other forms of electronic communications were ubiquitous. MCI Mail just couldn’t compete. So at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30, 2003 it was officially decommissioned.

Want a more detailed breakdown of MCI Mail? This Promo video describes the MCI electronic mail process. It outlines the benefits and includes an overview of the prices associated with the service. It is a real gem.

Promotional Piece About MCI Mail

Before She Saved The Universe, Amanda Tapping Saved Product Placement!

And while Amanda Tapping was doing this, so was Scott Bakula!

Related: Before Scott Bakula Leaped Through Time, He Did Product Placements!

“The Woman From Stargate SG-1”

If you’re familiar with science fiction and have some passing knowledge of the Stargate franchise, then Amanda Tapping is a name you’ll know.

Known as Samantha “Sam” Carter, the second-in-command/astrophysicist/woman with all the technobabble is known for being the one to pave the way for all the woman who walked through the Stargate across three series and 14 years. From her beginnings as a Captain to her eventual promotion to Colonel, Samantha Carter saw her share of what the galaxy could throw at her. She also did it with a megawatt smile and a killer aim.

Uploaded by silvercomic

Bonus points if you can put Colonel O’Neill in his place via frustration. That always  means you are doing something right!

They All Make Commercials…

But before Amanda Tapping took on the role that undoubtedly pushed her career in the right direction, she appeared on different Canadian television series, and like most actors seeking out their big breaks, made commercials.

I know of three commercials in existence. One such advertisement actually aired in 1998 (after Stargate SG-1 premiered), but isn’t on You Tube anymore. However, two of those pre-SG-1 commercials are available, and yeah, they’re gold.

We All Are Tempted By Chocolate…

But does our chocolate talk to us?

Uploaded by RetroCapeBreton

It’s the unending battle of 3 pm chocolate cravings versus “Judy.” Except, in the real world, our chocolate doesn’t actually talk to us. Perhaps in our heads, but not…

Don’t judge me.

But before chocolate candy cravings, there was muffins. And Canadian doughnut shops.

And There Was That Time at Tim Horton’s…

I’m sure a few Stargate fans wanted to buy a muffin if Amanda Tapping sold it to them.

And in 1989, a delightfully Canadian man was lucky enough to!

Uploaded by robatsea2009

So much smiling and Canadian accents. And Oooht (not Oat) Bran!

I had Tim Horton’s when I was in Michigan last year, and proclaimed my status as an “Honorary Canadian.” Because why not?

Advil and a Smile

Of course, I’d love to show you the third commercial (for Advil Cold and Sinus), but it isn’t on You Tube anymore.

But that doesn’t mean screenshots of it aren’t circulating online!

She has to be the most chipper person to ever need Advil….unless this is a side effect. In that case, I’d want to know what’s in the stuff.

Everyone Starts Somewhere!

Actors pay their dues to get to the top of their craft, and if that means hocking medicine, chocolate, and Ooht Bran Muffins with a smile, then so be it.

Besides, she eventually wound up using that smile to her advantage…

I don’t think he always minded it either. Just sayin’.

Oh, and I totally met her in 2013. And that hair was inspired by her pixie cut from Stargate SG-1.

Again, don’t judge.

Nuttin Polly-O String Cheese Commercial

Art Direction in the Nuttin Polly-O String Cheese Commercial

I feel like we have revisited this famous Nuttin Polly-O String Cheese Commercial so often on the site that I could do a podcast on it. Why can’t I stop talking about it? It is one of the more memorable commercials from my youth for a few reasons. I loved pizza. The people in the ad kind of talked like people I knew. And it featured this amazing product that was sweeping the nation, string cheese.

Last night I was rewatching it yet again (maybe for a podcast) and I started noticing a few things that I wanted to share about the commercial’s art direction.

First the look of this pizza parlor. Pretty generic at first glance save for the neon sign, but some very interesting signage can be seen in almost every shot. Here you see a sign for “No Screaming.” This would have been a good sign to hang in our local pizzeria. We could get pretty obnoxious, especially if they had video games. We were constantly getting chastised by the people running the place. Also notice that guy in the corner. He appears in multiple shots and is completely unnecessary.

You can also see a little bit of pizza in this shot. To me, it does not look like very good pizza. At least not the type I grew up with. These kids are better off just ordering some cheese.

More details and more signage! Fred and Jimmy, the guys behind the counter, both have aprons with their names on them. Did they make those especially for this commercial? Did they name the characters after the aprons they had laying around? As for the signs, these are real gems. They are both sassy and believable for a pizza parlor. The one on the left says, “Be patient, meatball!” The one on the right offers “Week-Old Pizza Half Price.” Both are just throwaway gags in the background and are easy to miss. But as I continue to watch this commercial over the years, they have become my favorite part.

The final thing I want to comment on is this shot with the box of string cheese and Jimmy. I like they way they lay it out all lined up, but look to the right at Jimmy. It is a weird face right? Well, what makes it better is that he holds that pose for the entire shot. For that whole last shot that is how he looks for some reason. It is weird and short, but once you notice it, you will not be able to not see it.

I hope this short post gives you a greater appreciation for the Nuttin Polly-O String Cheese Commercial. Much like the cheese it advertises, you can continue to pull it apart and get more joy out of it. Now let’s watch it together in its entirety.

Watch the Famous Nuttin Polly-O String Cheese Commercial