Friday, January 27, 2012

Giga pets: I always killed them

Oh the Giga pet.  This was likely most 90's child's first experience of "responsibility" for lack of a better word.

Young and prosperous one day...dead the next.
I don't know about you, but I found these things impossible to take care of.  They were cute and fun to play with.  It's no wonder they were so popular with kids too.  Parents could either get a dog or a cat and spend hundreds of dollars on vet bills, food, litter, etc or they could spend 20 dollars on one of these to entertain the children.

They were pretty cool.

Except I couldn't keep them alive for more than a few days.  

The toys needed so much attention.  My first and only one was a dinosaur that you would raise from an egg up until about day four before it would die and the process would start all over again.  

They were interesting toys that taught children about death too.  If anything I think this scared me more than anything.  I figured all pets, electronic or real, only had a life span of a few days.  How horrific would that be?

I used to play hockey and remember some of the guys on my team would bring their giga pets to the bench with them.  Now that's commitment.  The bloody things needed food or a walk every two minutes anyway.  Hockey and Giga pets seemed to be a perfect fit since players were on and off the bench every few minutes anyway.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weddings: A blast to the past

My good friend is getting married this weekend.  For the first time in my life, I will be involved in a wedding party.  It's been a great experience so far and can't wait for the day to come.  I decided to dedicate this post to weddings from the 1990's.

Did you know Stephen Hawking was married?  Did you know he was married in 1995?  Bet you didn't.
Barbie and Ken were finally married in 1993.
The happy couple celebrating...before the groom breaks his leg.
Some stylish bridesmaid dresses from 1996.  Are straps still in?

As you might be able to tell, weddings look a little different from before.  That likely goes without saying, since fashions and styles do change faster than a blink of an eye.

So this Saturday I will go out and get my picture taken in a tuxedo.  I'll be sure to save some picture.  20 years from now, I'll bring the picture out, look at it and wonder "What the hell was I wearing?"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Warning: Things on TV aren't always as they seem.

Remember being a kid and watching the Saturday morning cartoons?  I would wake up, get out of bed, and go straight to the TV in the living room.  My eyes wouldn't have even adjusted to the light yet so whenever I turned on the TV, my eyes would hurt.  My pupils would dilate.  Soon enough all was well and it was just Bugs Bunny and myself.

Then there were the commercials.  We go through phases in life.  As children, we love commercials, as adults we hate them, and I imagine once we get older we're going to love commercials again.  After all, what senior ISN'T interested in a telephone with a large number pad?  Of course there might not even be commercials on TV fifty years from now.

But that's another story.

I loved Saturday morning commercials.  Everything from the toys to the fruit snacks, to the cereal were amazing.  I wanted it all.  Christmas time was ultra special because that was how I made up my Christmas list.

Here's the commercials we were faced with:

There you go.  You just saw everything from Barbie, to Hot Wheels, to Pokemon to Sock 'Em Boppers.  I can see why we wanted these things as kids.

The toys look ridiculously fun.

But have you ever gotten one of those toys, played with it for a bit and then realized "This sort of sucks."  Of course you have.

The advertisements show these kids having the time of their lives.  I always wanted Sock Em' Boppers so that my friend could put his on, cartwheel towards me and sock me in the face.  The only thing was, I didn't have a friend that could do a cartwheel.  So that's out.

The more I learn about advertising, the more I love it.  Kids must be such an easy sell.  You come up with a jingle, and it doesn't even have to be that good.  Example from Skip it (commercial #1 in the video), "But the very best thing of all, there's a counter on this ball.  So try and beat your very best score, see if you can jump a whole lot more."

Brilliant, right?

Next you show kids having a crap ton of fun, and they're sucked in.  It doesn't matter if the actual consumer will never use the toy the way it was shown in the commercials.  For example, if I got a Pokedex toy, I would not be renting out a building in the city so that hundreds of kids can line up outside the door just to ask me questions about Pokemon.  That's just stupid.  But as a kid, I probably would have thought that kid was the coolest because he had the Pokedex.

I know I said that there might not be advertising for kids on TV in fifty years, but if there still is, it'll be made exclusively for Saturday morning cartoons.

Who knew we were such targets as children.