Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Old Ads Are the Best...

Probably not, actually, but I did spend a nostalgic evening recently looking at advertisements that took me back to my childhood, or teens. I know I've mentioned most of them before.

I wonder how many of these I watched, or heard, while I was playing with plastic soldiers or building blocks? Sadly, the television was our hearth. But it was better than being hearthless.

Nothing brings you back like ads, because they belong so totally to the moment. They're repeated often enough to sink into your memory, but then you never hear them again for years and decades. So it's not like songs from the era which you might have heard dozens of time since.

This 1986 ad for Bórd na Móna, a state company that sells peat briquettes, is probably my all-time favourite ad. It makes me dream of a path Ireland could have taken; modern and prosperous, but still traditional and romantic.

When this 1990 ad  for Tennant's beer was shown in Ireland, the words "my land" were substituted for "Caledonia". It's a neat little story, and it's rare that you see patriotism (in the literal sense "love of country") portrayed in advertisements. 

This ad (for Drifter chocolate bars, also from 1990) is funny and sweet. The character it portrays was probably hugely anachronistic even then. Despite it lingering in my memory for thirty years, I don't think I've ever had a Drifter bar.

Apparently the "cave-man" ads for Britvic fruit juice terrified me when I was young. I think I can kind of remember it. Here's one (the only one I can find) from 1983. It's hard to see what spooked me now. I remember them being visually a lot darker.

This 1984 ad about the dangers of domestic dogs savaging sheep (really) shows that Ireland was still an agricultural country back then. What kid would forget this one?

As the person who uploaded it says in the video description, everybody seems to remember this ad for the Electricity Supply Board from the 1980s.

The hardest thing to grasp about the past is that it happened one minute at a time, that it was as "thick" as the present. It's hard to realize that when we read history, but sometimes I find it hard to realize it even with my own memories. How often must I have seen each of these, for them to be so branded in my mind?


  1. I always bear in mind that the technology wasn't as advanced either, especially when considering music videos of that era, or was all harder to produce too

    1. That's true. On the other hand I'm often surprised by how good it is. I have a theory that production values dipped in the eighties after being excellent in the sixties and seventies.