The 80s was a decade of groundbreaking cultural changes. From the rise of neon fashions and big hair to the birth of MTV and video games, the 80s was undoubtedly one of the most memorable decades in American history. But one aspect of the popular culture of the 80s that stands out is its TV commercials. As we take a trip down memory lane, let’s explore the commercials that defined an era – the 80s TV commercials.
The Era of Iconic TV Commercials
The 80s was a golden era of TV advertising. The commercials were bigger, brighter, and more outrageous than ever before. Advertisers increasingly relied on creative and often bizarre pitches to catch viewers’ attention. The widespread use of humor, celebrity endorsements, and jingles became more common in 80s advertising campaigns.
The Top 5 80s TV Commercials
1. Pepsi “Choice of a New Generation” (1984)
One of the most iconic 80s TV commercials was Pepsi’s “Choice of a New Generation” ad. The commercial featured a young, fresh-faced Michael Jackson and his brothers dancing and singing about the refreshing taste of Pepsi. The ad was incredibly successful and helped to propel Pepsi to new heights in the soda wars.
2. Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” (1984)
Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” commercial was another classic from the 80s. The ad featured three elderly ladies examining a massive hamburger from one of Wendy’s competitors, only to find that there wasn’t much beef actually inside the bun. The now-famous catchphrase “Where’s the beef?” became a cultural sensation and was referenced in politics and pop culture for years to come.
3. Apple “1984” (1984)
The Apple “1984” commercial was a legendary ad that aired during the Super Bowl in 1984. The ad was a dystopian vision of the future, where conformity reigned supreme, and individuality was suppressed. The commercial ended with a woman throwing a sledgehammer at a giant screen displaying a Stalin-esque figure, breaking the chains of conformity and ushering in a new era of personal computing.
4. Coca-Cola “Mean Joe Greene” (1980)
The Coca-Cola “Mean Joe Greene” commercial is one of the most beloved ads of the 80s. The ad featured Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene limping off the field, thirsty and in a bad mood. A young fan offers him a Coke, which he begrudgingly accepts. As he drinks the soda, his mood lightens, and he tosses his Jersey to the young boy as a thank you. The commercial was a huge success, and the “Hey kid, catch!” line became legendary.
5. Budweiser “Whassup?” (1999)
Even though it technically aired in the 90s, the Budweiser “Whassup?” commercial is an 80s classic. The ad featured a group of friends greeting each other with a simple “Whassup?” The commercial was incredibly successful and became a cultural moment, with everyone from the President to talk show hosts referencing the ad.
The 80s was an incredible time for TV commercials, and these five ads help to define what made them so memorable. With the rise of big-name celebrities, outrageous stunts, and iconic catchphrases, 80s TV advertising brought an element of excitement that captivated viewers and still resonates today. From Michael Jackson dancing to the refreshing taste of Pepsi to Mean Joe Greene throwing his Jersey to a young fan, these commercials have become an enduring part of pop culture. So grab a can of Pepsi, a Wendy’s burger, and raise your Coca-Cola can to the unforgettable 80s TV commercials that defined an era.