10 Definitively ’90s Commercials

1. The Clapper

Was I the only 70-year-old trapped in a lazy ass 8-year-old body asking for The Clapper every time a holiday or birthday rolled around? I’m still in the dark, so to speak, as to why I need to waste precious energy getting out of bed to turn my light on and off when the technology exists to get the job done in an efficient — and festive — manner. Because I’m able-bodied? Because the machines haven’t won yet? I don’t get it. Someone explain.

2. This Is Your Brain On Drugs

The OG version of this anti-drug PSA aired in ’87, but the ‘90s version starred a young Rachel Leigh Cook channeling a post-Johnny Winona Ryder who spaced on taking her meds. This is the type of scary ass commercial that made you hug your mom when she got home from work, and she was all, “Is everything all right?” and you were all, “Yeah, just glad you’re my mom. Please don’t cook a dinner that requires pots and pans tonight?” That, or you’d reenact the spot at your friend’s place after school.

3. Chia Pet

Another gift deferred. It’s like, Mom and Dad — I don’t want a goddamn coloring book. I don’t want a jump rope. I want to breed and raise my own family of grass teddy bears. Get with the program.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Drug PSA

This PSA would’ve been much more effective if Michelangelo wasn’t perpetually stoned.

5. Miss Cleo

Miss Cleo brought more shame to the Jamaican culture than the Rasta Monsta energy drink, Mr. Nice Guy weed delivery, and those beanie hats with dreadlocks sewn in combined. Still, I felt compelled to take action whenever this commercial came on — usually by changing the channel.

6. Yo Quiero Taco Bell

It seems like only yesterday that renowned dog-actress Gidget Chipperton (LOL, yeah, the Taco Bell dog’s name was Gidget Chipperton. Talk about blatant Hollywood whitewashing; no self-respecting Mexican Chihuahua would rep that moniker) broke language barriers and — if I’m speaking honestly — the collective heart of America with a graceful, relatable request for Taco Bell. I mean, haven’t we all been there? Specifically at 3 AM after a long night of drinking?

7. Life Call, aka ‘I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up’

The unintentionally hilarious “I’ve fallen — and I can’t get up!” actress pretty much made this spot. Whoever casted this commercial deserves to be retired in Boca Raton, livin’ life (in an upright position, no doubt).

8. Sunny Delight

Remember when juice was only like, 10% actual juice and 90% artificial flavor, color, and liquid? In a more conscious 2012, Sunny Delight has been relegated to the proverbial ‘purple stuff.’ We’ve come so far since the Clinton years!

9. Gap, Mellow Yellow

The only thing more distressing than Gap’s late ‘90s Pod People commercials is that I’d never heard Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” or Madonna’s “Dress You Up in My Love” before they aired. SHOWING MY AGE, AVERT YOUR EYES BEFORE YOU’RE BLINDED BY MY YOUTH.

10. Mentos

Or, the unbearable whiteness of white people. TC mark


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  • Anonymous

    Ha!  These almost make me wish I grew up in America.

  • Randi Baron

    Rashida Jones is in the Mellow Yellow commercial!!!!!!!!!!! Around 28 sec in. Crazy!

    • Anonymous

       was just about to say this but you beat me to it!

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

    Ahhh, my mom used to say ‘SUNNY D?  HEY, YOUR MOM’S COOL’ to me all the time

    Also: feeling vaguely threatened by the ‘everybody in cords.’ thing at the end of the mellow yellow commercial


    i’ve seen that commercial so many times but never noticed her! crazy! (i’ve seen it so many times bc the guy who sings about halfway through plays patrick on general hospital)

  • MP9090909

    “Whoever casted this commercial deserves to be retired in Boca Raton, livin’ life ” LOVE IT

  • Sarah

    I…I want to go back…

  • http://twitter.com/Incilin Insanul Ahmed

    Best post ever. Only replacement I’d go with the Mentos ad. There’s one that’s much worse where this dude has a suit on for his job interview and he sits on bench with wet paint….so rolls around on the bench and makes it a perfectly striped suit. Hahaha.

    • Guests


  • Kellye

    I remember all of these. I feel old.

  • alyssafirth

    Yes that is totally Rashida Jones! She is so 90s!!

  • PB

    Not going to lie,  I’m sort of turned on by this This Is Your Brain On Drugs commercial.

  • hugo

    What happened to Kit Kat Bars?!

  • Laura

    I love how the Chia Pet commercial is actually IN the Clapper commercial! Brings this whole experience to an ever deeper dimension

  • mellow yellow

    “They call me Caramellooo KOALA…I go with the flow” 

  • shannon

    i feel like the bagel bites commercial (“pizza in the mornin’, pizza in the evenin’, pizza at suppertime. when pizza’s on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime!” as if pizza isn’t actually a breakfast food…) had an important role in my adolesence but i’m not sure if that was from the 90’s or the early 2000’s when i was too old for bagel bites but still craved them ALL DAY LONG.

  • amy_rawren

    oh. my. gosh… i definitely just acted out their dialogue right along with them like it was 1998 all over again… thank you for posting! totally just reopened a tiny drawer in the back of my brain i hadn’t been aware of years :-)

    • Michael Simon Johnson

      I’ve been quoting lines from this commercial like an asshole for years.

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