Who can forget the iconic jingles and colorful characters that dominated our television screens in the 80s? The era that gave us Pac-Man, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the rise of the personal computer also ushered in a new form of advertising through toy commercials. Though these ads were primarily intended to sell toys, they had a profound impact on modern advertising techniques, many of which we still see used today.
The Evolution of Toy Commercials in the 80s
The 80s was a time when toys were the ultimate status symbol for kids. From action figures like He-Man and G.I. Joe to board games like Monopoly and Scrabble, toy companies went all out to create memorable commercials that would stick in the minds of kids and their parents. These ads relied heavily on catchy jingles and bright visuals to appeal to their target audience.
However, as the decade progressed, toy commercials became more sophisticated. Companies such as Hasbro and Mattel began to use storytelling and animation to promote their toys. This is where the concept of creating “characters” around toys began to evolve. Take for example My Little Pony, which was essentially a line of plastic horses. Through a series of animated commercials, they were turned into beloved characters, not just a simple toy.
The Use of Celebrity Endorsements
The use of celebrity endorsements in toy commercials also began to gain momentum in the 80s. Big names such as Michael Jackson, Hulk Hogan, and Mr. T were all used to promote various action figures and board games. Toy companies believed that associating their products with well-known celebrities would help to increase their appeal.
However, the rise of celebrity endorsements came with its fair share of criticism as well. Many rightfully pointed out that using individuals with no real association to the toy being promoted was irrelevant and superficial. But this did not stop toy companies, as they continued to use celebrities to market their products.
The Impact of 80s Toy Commercials on Modern Advertising Techniques
The techniques used in 80s toy commercials have had a lasting impact on modern advertising. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which these commercials revolutionized the industry.
The Importance of Storytelling
The use of storytelling in toy commercials was a major breakthrough for advertising. By creating characters and narratives around their toys, toy companies were able to establish an emotional connection with their target audience. Kids were able to see themselves in these stories and imagine themselves in the same situations.
This emotional connection is still being used in advertising today, across multiple platforms. Companies focus on building a narrative around their brand, no matter how mundane the product they’re selling may be, in order to appeal to consumers on a deeper level.
The Use of Animation
The use of animation in toy commercials was another game-changer. By using cartoons to promote their products, toy companies were able to bring their toys to life in ways that live-action just couldn’t match. Cartoons also allowed for more creativity and imagination, which was perfect for promoting toys that encouraged these qualities. Today, animation is still used in advertising to create fun, memorable campaigns that capture the attention of consumers.
The Power of Nostalgia
The 80s were a time of innocence and wonder for many people. As such, the toys and commercials from that era hold a special place in the hearts of many. This is why so many companies today use nostalgia as a marketing tool. By referencing the 80s or even bringing back products from that era, companies can tap into that sense of nostalgia and use it to sell products to adults who were once children of the 80s.
The Legacy of 80s Toy Commercials
Overall, 80s toy commercials have had a lasting impact on the advertising industry. The techniques used in these ads, such as storytelling, animation, and celebrity endorsements, have become staples in modern advertising techniques. The emotional connection and power of nostalgia that these commercials were able to evoke are still being used today to sell products. While the 80s may be long gone, their influence lives on through the commercials that impacted a generation and continue to influence advertising today.
In conclusion, when we think of 80s toy commercials, we often only think of the toys themselves. But looking back, it’s clear that the commercials also played a significant role in shaping modern advertising. With their use of storytelling, animation, celebrity endorsements, and the power of nostalgia, these commercials were able to create a connection with their audience that still resonates today.
So, the next time you see a commercial that seems to tug at your heartstrings, just remember that it may have all started with a simple toy commercial from the 80s.
Now, don’t you want to go dig up your old My Little Pony collection and watch some old commercials again? We certainly do!