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Throwback Thursday: Best Old School Children’s Toy Ads

Before I became interested in the advertising business but after I’d grown out of the demographic for children’s television networks, I flipped to Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon during a commercial break and was surprised when I realized that nearly every commercial shown on those networks was for a toy of some sort or another.

As a kid who probably viewed the world as revolving around me, I didn’t take much notice of it at the time, but after seeing other types of commercials for years, I realized how targeted those ads were. Even more shocking was that a few toys that I’d played with as a kid were still around and were airing the very same commercials to kids a generation beyond me.

This Throwback Thursday, we’re going to look at some of the best old school children’s toy ads that should take you back to the days when summer meant nothing to do but watch cartoons and play outside.

Skip It

One ad that I felt was played into the ground (that or I watched too much TV as a kid) was the Skip It commercial. As a young boy, I had zero interest in the product, but to this day I know the jingle by heart.

Game Boy Pocket



This Game Boy Pocket commercial stuck with me from the moment I saw it. If a kid were to imagine how they made the new Game Boy smaller than the old one, I think this is how it’d be. The squish and squash conveyor belt perfectly captures that childlike imagination raised on video games. And how cool is it that they drop the thing right into the oversized pocket on your ‘90s jeans?



Gak represents the culmination of all things slimy and remotely gross. It seemed like there was a trend back in the ‘90s for a lot of kids toys to use goops and slimes (I seem to recall several action figures that were loaded up with stuff in their guts). Nickelodeon capitalized on how popular the concept was by sliming everyone and their brother–ultimately becoming synonymous with the green goo. The highlight of this commercial might be the prim and proper adult who looked like an outdated caricature (even back then) who was completely disgusted by the stuff.

Guess Who



Here’s one more jingle that I can recite at a moment’s notice. I probably played this game a thousand times because the mechanism’s so simple but allows for so many combinations. But my favorite part of this commercial is the reassurance that the “cards do not actually talk.” Disappointing, but maybe a new version of Guess Who for a future generation will finally have this feature.

Cover Photo Source: Ian Muttoo via Flickr

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kaz is a Junior Executive at SJG. He earned BAs in English Writing and Business Marketing at Illinois Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing an MA in Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. Outside the office, Kaz consumes gobs of media including but not limited to books, magazines, music, movies and television.[/author_info] [/author]