Thursday, February 17, 2011

...90s kids toy marketing was beyond effective...

Have you ever been up at that know that time...late at night were there is no longer anything worthwhile on TV? Where they blitz you with commercials for a bunch of shit you don't want, the kind of shit that you know would take a pile of coke the likes of which your middle class brain could not even comprehend or which only severe traumatic brain injury could inspire. You don't know who the fuck came up with the Shake Weight, the Pajamajeans, or god forbid, the Flirty Girl Fitness series of workout videos (feel free to youtube ANY of those if you don't know what they are, or if you already find me not funny), but you know that that fucking son of a bitch is a grade A moron for thinking that an intelligent individual such as yourself would EVER find anything of the sort at all appealing.

Well I am much the same way. But I always have to stop myself and think back to my younger days, back to the good old 90's. And yes I realize that saying "90's" to our generation of readers is something of a cop out blog topic reserved only for the unimaginative (or un-psychotic in the case of this blog) designed only to get one single nostalgic tug on the heartstrings before your readers realize that you actually suck and aren't worth pursuing any further. But trust me, I'm going somewhere with this. So anyways, the 90's, that mystical time that we all remember back to with such fond memories. Cartoons on a saturday morning (or in my case Taekwon Do training), bright green colored Hi-C (or in my case, soy milk) and running around falling off of jungle gyms and jumping off of swings (or in my case, Chinese school). You can probably tell that I'm a little bit bitter that I missed part of my childhood, but believe me when I tell you, I made up for it.

Back to the subject of advertising. When I finally got to watch cartoons after school, between the scenes of Batman or Jackie Chan kicking ninja ass (or watching Yugi from Yu Gi Oh go through every stage of puberty in a matter of seconds and NOBODY on screen batting an eyelash...or digimon....fucking digimon...nobody ACTUALLY liked Digimon...anyways...) there would be a long segment of ads for various things. Do you remember pogs? I'm sure you do. Do you remember how badly you loved pogs? And how badly you wanted more pogs? And how you had that one special slammer that would flip over an entire stack of pogs without ANY trouble? Yeah I do. And I was that kid, with that one magical slammer that could WRECK your pog stack in one throw. But looking back on it, do you remember what pogs were? Little discs of cardboard with some picture printed on it....that's it...that's all they were...there was nothing else to them...and yet, you had to have them. Like the rat with the direct injection like of heroin right into its brain with one foot on the button, you needed more.

Still not convinced? What about Crazy Bones? You would buy mystery packs of these fuckers, and you'd like them up across from your friend's Crazy Bones, and take turns flicking them at one another hoping to knock over crazy bone, getting you just that much closer to victory. Were they worth it? Were they worth fighting with your parents, telling them that you HAD to buy another booster pack just in case that ONE SPARKLY CRAZY BONE was inside of it? Was it worth arguing with your friends over which crazy bone was best (just so you know, Egghead fucking sucked...shitass could never stand up on its own)? Those little bits of plastic ended friendships, and all for what?

NONE of this shit is any better than the shakeweight, the pajamajeans or the flirty girl fitness DVDs (even typing that triggers my gag reflex...) In fact, one could make the argument that at least TWO of those three serve some marginally practical purpose. But what is the difference between the two (besides my personally turning into a shriveled hateful cynic that cannot stand anyone that doesn't reverently adore me and what I do) is that those people knew who they were selling to and how to sell that shit. And when you realize like I have, that someone actually spent time and money designing and producing the shakeweight where someone else thought "Hey, lets make a really simple game using one heavy bit of plastic and a bunch of light pieces of cardboard." "How will this shit sell?" this person's investors must have asked. "We'll print tiny bits of pop cultures on them! Cartoons and comics and shit!" "That's fucking brilliant!" And thus pogs were born, and to this day, likely reaped more financial success than any shakeweight style bullshit ever did.

...And that's what I learned today.

(PS they really should call the shakeweight "The Handjob-o-matic 2000" Because for one, everything sounds better with the number 2000 after it and for two, what else are you actually working out beyond the muscles it takes to jerk someone off?)


  1. Both my bosses are fitness nuts, as well as running an interesting "photography studio".
    So when I had to break down and recycle a shake-weight box, I was genuinely not sure if they bought it to use, or as a suggestive prop for the models... it really could have gone either way. XD

  2. Good lord...I OWNED at pogs! I had the biggest collection of pogs in my class.

    I watch advertisements today and I wonder what the manufacturers are thinking. Do people actually buy any of this stuff? Half the time when I'm watching a commercial on TV I can't figure out what they're trying to sell to me because the commercial is just stupid and have absolutely nothing to do with the product.