We take a look at some of the world’s favourite TV adverts from the 70s, some of which have been so memorable that they’ve been revived in more recent years. How many do you recognise?
Pick up a Penguin Advert – McVities
Comical, colourful and engaging. This 1970s TV advert is all about the popular biscuit bar, Penguin. The “P…p…Pick up a Penguin” slogan is still one of the most well-known slogans in the UK. This advertising campaign has been running for many years and made a return in 2010 in association with WWF.
The penguin biscuit has encountered a lot of competition over the years, with the Tim Tam in Australia being based on the UK treat, and copy-cat versions such as Asda’s “Puffin” bar resulting in a court case. With the cheesy Penguin-themed jokes on the wrapping and remembering adverts such as the below 1970s version fondly, we hope the Penguin brand continues for a very long time.
Harmony Hairspray Advert – Is she? … Isn’t she?
In this classic 1970’s advert, a woman walks down a path with various onlookers debating “Is she, or isn’t she?” in reference to whether she’s wearing hairspray or not. This is to suggest that harmony hairspray does a great job of keeping your hairstyle in place, without it looking like the hair is clumped together or overly shiny.
Harmony has gone through a lot of changes since this advert. It has since changed ownership from Unilever to Lornamead, and the “Is she, isn’t she?” slogan was revived in 2004 in an attempt to recapture market share. Whilst remembered by some, this tagline perhaps isn’t as well-known as some of the ones featured in our TV advert slogan quiz.
“You deserve a break today” Advert – McDonald’s
Launched in 1971, the “you deserve a break today” advert from McDonald’s was created by Needham, Harper & Steers agency in Chicago. The advert was designed to address consumer research that people needed a break from their regular routines and needed a night off from chores around food shopping, cooking and doing the dishes.
Surprisingly, this advertisement was actually a backup plan. The original advertisement was based around the concept of “Come to the McDonald’s Islands”, but with a threat of legal action from a root-beer company, the idea had to be scrapped on the day of filming.
With a quick rewrite of the jingle and a different approach, the “You deserve a break today” campaign was launched.
“I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” – Band-Aid Advert
Featuring a very young John Travolta and Terry Garr, the Band-Aid Advert from the 70s features a catchy tune showing multiple scenarios where people are in baths and showers but their plasters are staying firmly on.
This jingle was surprisingly written by Barry Manilow before he reached fame as a singer. This award-winning catchy jingle makes the Band-Aid advert one of the most memorable in America.
“It’s the real thing” Advert – Coca-Cola
In an attempt to rectify the backlash experienced by the company by enforcing a number of changes over the years, the “it’s the real thing” marketing campaign focused on coca-cola being a staple choice for the masses. The aim here was to ensure coca-cola was still perceived as the original cola, helping to solidify its superiority against rivals such as Pepsi.
This 1972 advert is simple but effective, with a catchy jingle in the background, and images of classic fast food and happy groups of people alongside bottles of coca-cola, giving you an impression of a feel-good feeling that can only be achieved by treating yourself to a bottle. The overall theme of the advert comes across as very 1950s-themed, again solidifying the sense that coca-cola is just like the original version that people grew to love.
Smash Martians Advert
One of our more recognisable adverts on the list, the Smash Martians advert from Cadbury’s features aliens making fun of the way humans labour over the creation of mashed potato, whilst enjoying their instantly made alternative. This is then accompanied by the slogan “for mash get Smash”.
This advert has become one of the most iconic adverts in the UK, even voted TV advert of the century by Campaign magazine.
If you fancy testing friends and family to see if they can recognise the smash Martians advert, then show them our TV advert picture quiz here.
Hovis Bread Advert
An advert that is known to transport people back to their childhoods. The Hovis Bread Advert, known as “The Bike Ride” in 1973, has been such an iconic advertisement that it was relaunched again in 2019. Directed by Sir Ridley Scott, this advert features a young boy travelling up a steep hill in order to deliver bread, with the motivation that once he’s finished, he can speed back down the hill on his bike.
The commonly called “Hovis Hill” is really called Gold Hill, located in Shaftesbury in Dorset. It has an impressive incline of 16.09º, posing a challenge to both tourists and long-term residents. In 2018, the Hovis advert was awarded the nation’s favourite advert from the 1970s in an exclusive Marketing Week and YouGov Omnibus poll.
Chimpanzee PG Tips Advert
This series of PG Tips advertisements featuring much-loved chimpanzees were so adored that an entire documentary, Secrets of the Tea Chimps, was created for it in 2015. This series of advertisements featured a family of chimpanzees acting out a series of scenes dressed and voiced to act as humans.
At an initial look back at these ads, you may think of this as an example of poor treatment of animals, possibly with the use of inhumane tactics to get them to perform. However, these chimps were cared for by Molly Badham and Nat Evans, who actively rescued apes and chimpanzees who would otherwise be put down. Molly was known for her magical approach at training the chimpanzees, she could simply point and command and the chimpanzees would move or mimic talking as requested. With the money the chimpanzees earned through the advertisements, Twycross Zoo was opened, rescuing a larger range of animals, and creating a Zoo that’s still thriving today.
As the 70s progressed, the directors of the advertisements were trying to persuade Molly to teach the chimpanzees more eccentric tricks, to which Molly refused. As a result, different Chimps were brought in from Italy, who would perform tricks such as roller skating and ballet. This was a poor move as audiences did not respond well to this, and the last advert took place in 1978.
Raleigh Bikes Advert
An advert that screams the 1970s, this Raleigh advert showcases a range of their bikes, and a varied group of people, including men, women and children who can ride them. Showcasing classic bikes such as the Chopper, watching this advertisement now will surely take many people back to their childhood, back when not wearing a helmet was the norm!
Raleigh has come a long way since, providing electric bikes and cargo bikes for businesses. However, reflecting the nostalgia felt when watching this 1970s advertisement, the company also regularly brings back classic models, such as the Chopper, TI-Raleigh, and Propaganda.
Sugar Puffs Honey Monster Advert
Ending our list with one of our favourite 1970’s adverts, this Sugar Puffs advert was certain to engage the attention of young viewers as this bright yellow monster character dances to Sugar Sugar by the Archies. This advert is unlikely to be persuasive enough to parents now, due to decades of health and nutrition studies that followed.
Despite the obvious connections to high sugar content, the iconic Honey Monster and catchphrase of “Tell ’em about the honey, mummy” was revived in 2010, to advertise honey waffles.
Please do watch this one, even if it’s just to watch Henry McGee’s (most well known for his role in Benny Hill) expertly performed dance moves.