The 90s were a fantastic time for pop culture in all facets of media and life.
We were spoiled by the new and exciting obsession with electronics that sprang from the 80s mixing so eloquently with music about not giving a shit about anything sprinkled with a generation of human beings raised on television by parents who always taught them how amazing they are.
It was the perfect time to be alive and growing up. It was also the perfect time for large corporations to blast us with advertising that we’d remember fondly into adulthood.
Although the concept of jingles goes back to the early days of radio, no one did it quite as well as brands in the 90s.
Like an icepick to the back of your head, these songs are memorable and viral and stick to your inner monologue like those sticky, little grocery store entrance goop hands on a string stick to carpet lint.
I’ve picked out 5 of my favorites:
“So kiss a little longer, snuggle up a little longer, hold tight a little longer, longer with Big Red. That Big Red freshness lasts right through it. Your fresh breath goes on and on while you chew it. Say goodbye a little longer. Make it last a little longer. Give your breath long-lasting freshness with Big Red!”
No, I’m not talking about the former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid (aka “Big Red”). I’m talking about the gum that looked more incredible in the commercial than it did in real life.
Why in the name of fucking Fruit Stripe did the real gum not look like that red-and-white-striped awesomeness they show in the commercial? Despite the fact that their gum made the inside of my cheeks raw, this was a case of flagrant false advertising.
The fact that I still remember all the words to the song speaks volumes about how effective this advertising campaign was, though.
“It’s fun getting into trouble! Trouble! Trouble! Popamatic Trouble!”
As simple and short as Trouble kept their advertising, it was effective. I remember humming this little ditty on the schoolyard and begging for the retail version for Christmas.
In contrast to many things I tantrum’d the fuck out of my Mom to buy me, this was something I actually used more than once before ignoring it.
My friends and I used to play this game fairly frequently, but no one would dare try to pick the red base before I could or I’d whack your balls with a snap bracelet.
“It doesn’t matter what comes, fresh goes better in life with Mentos fresh and full of life. Nothing gets to you, staying fresh staying cool, with Mentos fresh and full of life. Fresh goes better, Mentos freshness, fresh goes better with Mentos Fresh and full of life! Mentos: the freshmaker”
Mentos was one of the most memorable commercial songs from my childhood and, just like Big Red, I can still recite all of the words by heart.
For whatever reason, this “Wedding Crasher” version and the one where the guy gets paint on his suit and, like a motherfucking G, rolls around in it and makes a DIY pinstripe suit were the most heavily played versions during my youth.
Despite the lyrics of the song not making a single bit of fucking sense, I am deeply in love with it.
These days, I never hear Mentos mentioned in even passing conversation, so I think it may be time to dust this old girl off and bring her out of retirement.
“Crossfire, you’ll get caught up in the Crossfire. Crossfire, you’ll get caught up in the Crossfire! Crossfire, Crossfire, Crossfire!!!”
An easy choice due to its lasting popularity and Steel Panther cover, this still deserves a place toward the top of the list.
Not only is the song more bad ass than a tattooed rattlesnake, the commercial is a feast for the senses as well.
Lightning storms rage while 2 kids try to blast each other into oblivion with BBs while riding on spinning shapes.
While the real life game actually sucks, the commercial made every child in America beg on all fours for this piece of shit.
Today’s advertisers have a lot to learn about impressing kids from this legendary ad.
Nickelodeon Doo Wop Dinosaurs
“I’m here with my friends, Nickelodeon. The song never ends, Nickelodeon.”
Something about dinosaurs in high-top sneakers singing doo wop and wearing bright orange sunglasses just feels so wholesome.
The hours I spent watching Nickelodeon in the 90s would need a high-powered, Texas-Instruments-branded calculator to accurately determine, but this little bumper reminds me of each and every one of those moments.
Now that we’re in the dead of summer, it’s even more palpable as that’s the time of year when I did most of my watching of this big, orange, blimp of a network.
I can almost faintly hear the opening credits of Clarissa Explains It All, Hey, Dude!, or Wild N Crazy Kids in the background as this video draws to a close.
It’s pieces of my childhood happiness like these that hold my obsession with 90s pop culture at the forefront of my adult brain.