CLASSIC ANIMATED ADVERTISING
June 21, 2014 posted by

Seein’ Psychedelic Spots

Psychedelic-7472749074-d

The Beatles animated movie Yellow Submarine may not have been the first animation to employ “Pop-Art” in it’s design, but it was an early and successful example. Despite it’s profitability at the box office, Yellow Submarine didn’t really start any trends in features. But it sure started some trends in advertising! While most cartoon movies and TV shows were becoming very tedious and literal, it seemed like a lot of the experimenting in mainstream American animation was happening in the commercials. What irony! Crass commercialism supporting the arts! Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about…

Beechnut Fancy Fruit

We don’t do a post like this without including something from Fred Mogubgub. What an iconoclast!


7-Up Sweepstakes

7-Up used to have some of most far out advertisements on TV. Unfortunately a lot of them seemed to have disappeared. Here’s one that didn’t.


F&F Throat Aids

Featuring the titanium tonsils of John Erwin!


Nesbitt’s Orange

Wonderful spot from Duck Soup Producktions. Our good pal and animator extraordinaire Mark Kausler worked on this spot and had this to say about it:

“Thanks for including an old Duck Soup Produckions spot in your ongoing commercial series. This copy is not the original version of the spot. It originally just started out with the kid and the bottle of soda. The dancing bird was added later. The polar bear in the lower left corner on the last scene was added later as well. This is also not the original track, it’s been re-recorded and reverb added. I did the first part of the spot from the kid drinking through the dog licking up the soda. I can’t remember who animated the pin ball machine, but Roger Chouinard did the layouts. Duane Crowther animated the conference room sequence with the bottles of soda discussing the commercial. I remember that Roger Chouinard directed this spot, could be wrong.”


Pepsi Drive-In

Bizarre and blatant example of the post Yellow Submarine school of advertising.


Bic Drive-In

Another drive-in advert, this one even more bizarre than the last. Those Bic lighters are lighting up something besides tobacco…


Levi’s Stranger

Rotoscoping meets psychedelic graphics. The brilliant Ken Nordine does the voiceover here. He manages to slyly invoke one of his Word-Jazz pieces at the end, adding a touch of irony to the proceedings.

34 Comments

  • It wasn’t just Yellow Submarine, but other trends Yellow Sub sampled. Peter Max designs (did he ever sue anybody?), 30s popular culture as filtered by pop art (and by products like “Batman”), imitations of Crumb riffing on the Fleischers, video techniques popularized by The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and of course rock concert posters (swirling type and/or eccentric collages).

    • Ectually, Peter Max was “inspired” (cough cough) by Yellow Submarine visuals designer Heinz Edelmann… 😉

    • Ectually, Peter Max was “inspired” (cough cough) by Yellow Submarine visuals designer Heinz Edelmann… 😉

      I went to one art show last year where a picture of the Beatles in their Yellow Sub designs was credited to Peter Max and I wasn’t sure what that was about but going by several websites, he was picked first to design the film, but since he was married at the time, he didn’t want to leave his home to go to London to finish the film at so they went with Edelmann instead, at least that’s what I’ve read anyway.

    • DBENSON wrote “… Crumb riffing on the Fleischers …” crumb has done quite a bit of riffing over the years (carl barks, walt Kelley, the usual gang of idiots at mad magazine, tons of commercial artists from the 1930s and earlier, etc.) but I don’t think the fleischers were high up on his rip-off … oops… I mean RIFF list.

    • Your psychedelic 7UP ad had a better soundtrack when it was first released…it was the “You’ve Got a Lot to Live” theme played on a Hammond organ. It complemented the crazy animation much better than the one here. Do you have that version?

  • Who did the voices for the Bic spot?

    PS: Superflick, HEEEEEEELLLP!

    • I’m guessing that it is Paul Dooley and Joan Rivers, because Dooley was head writer of “The Electric Company” and Rivers narrated “Letter Man.” It sounds like Dooley, who also voiced the Greedy in “Raggedy Ann and Andy.” Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s my best guess for now.

  • You should check this one

    • This was awesome.

  • I am reminded of the old Ki-ora advert (“just for me and my dawg”)… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB2xYdjt7bE&feature=kp

    • Thank Oscar Grillo for that one! He’s done quite a good deal of these ads over the years. This commercial though was produced around 1982 and was a little past the period highlighted here though I’m sure it’s after effects were felt in the 80’s too.

      Here’s one Richard Williams’ studio did for Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum that can be placed in the WTF category if it needs to be.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR7AG4yw_C8

  • Love the top-piece illustration! Looks like the perfect stereotype of an old-school studio animator.

    • Yeah that guy wouldn’t give two stones for what that young punk has to say for his work.

  • Here is one of my favorite “psychedelic” commercials: a 1970 commercial for Fujiya’s LOOK Chocolate, illustrated by Keiichi Tanaami, featuring music by Koichi Sugiyama (theme songs for RETURN OF ULTRAMAN, score for the GATCHAMAN compilation movie, GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE, etc.), and the model is the late Tina Lutz (AKA: Tina Chow).

  • 7-Up used to have some of most far out advertisements on TV. Unfortunately a lot of them seemed to have disappeared.

    Here’s 2 and a half (and my favorites)!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkaPrAGX4dQ

    Pepsi Drive-In
    Bizarre and blatant example of the post Yellow Submarine school of advertising.

    I love this spot, I wish cinemas were like his again. I went to a high school in the early 90’s that had the most impressive mural painted on it’s cafeteria wall I’ve ever seen in my life, yet I never thought to take a photograph of it during my Freshman year as it was painted over the next school year. It was painted by the Art Club of 1976 and stayed up on the wall until ’93. The best I can do here is show a slight section of the mural that was taken from some screengrabs of a yearbook video. Not perfect but you can get an idea of what they were doing.
    http://i.imgur.com/FYeax4g.jpg

    I was lucky enough to take photographs of the art wing mural otherwise, which wasn’t quite as snazzy as the cafeteria’s masterpiece but it comes close. The nude characters that always puzzled me at the start were said to be based on the Pillsbury Doughboy, even if it seemed pretty obvious they had to vary the fleshtone colors a little so it wasn’t just one type.
    http://i.imgur.com/ILP7lpn.jpg

    Here’s an ad for the grand opening of a new shopping mall in my town that is still standing today, though the fancy glass structure that use to be in the center of the complex was torn down once Aussie-based Westfield got it’s hands all over the place (and sold it later).
    http://vintagetoledotv.squarespace.com/other-vintage-print-ads/single-gallery/10521932

    Bic Drive-In
    Another drive-in advert, this one even more bizarre than the last. Those Bic lighters are lighting up something besides tobacco…

    The 2D portion of the film reminded me a bit of Sally Cruikshank’s work.

  • In Spain we also did psychedelic commercials in the early 70`s! Check his one for a brand of liquor made by the late, great Francisco Macián: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKCHpvin_sc

  • Can anybody, anywhere, please find and post “There are rainbows in the flavors of Good N Fruity Candies” ? I’ve found the audio track, which purportedly features the voice of Carly Simon, on YouTube – – but no visuals!

  • There was a WYLER’S drink mix ad with yellow-sub type animation, too..
    If I remember right, from the book INSIDE THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, Max was not only never involved with TYS, He was NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED for it in the first place.

  • One 7up ad I forgot to mention is this, a fancy spoof of the familiar Intermission tune we all know by heart! There use to be a copy on YouTube before the guy who had it up for years finally dropped his account, and the only other copy up there is a poor B&W recording with low audio. Best I can do here is link to a webpage maintain by one of the guys who worked on the 7up account at the time. It’s a decent WMV file at least. I suppose that’s Paul Frees announcing this too but I could be wrong.
    http://www.donch.com/images/Portfolio/AV/Lobby.wmv

    • Yes that’s Paul Frees. He did tons of VO’s for 7-Up in the late 60’s-Mid70’s

  • Mark Kausler’s work on nesbitt was fantastic! oh how I yearned to work at duck soup back in the day … what a lucky duck MK is!

  • The only psychedelic 7-Up TV spot I remember from my childhood is this one.

    There was also an animated spot for Yoo Hoo chocolate drink that is pure Yellow Submarine. It features a super hero, a damsel in distress and a villain. Like Beechnut gum, the drink is like LSD and conquers evil! Anyone remember it?

  • Uh, I’m having a flashback. Thorazine, anyone?

  • Another Pepsi ad similar to the one seen above featured cool organ-based rock and the jingle “You’ve got a lot to live, and Pepsi’s got a lot to give”. It used to be on YouTube and was part of a Something Weird Video compilation of ads and interstitials (“7 (minutes) to go…”) used in movie theatres back in the old days (like one series of a space alien visiting the refreshment stand) Yellow Submarine may have helped to inspire the visuals in Depatie Freleng’s Here Comes the Grump. Also re: Peter Max, I had a book years of 60s nostalgia called “60s!” and they had an ad from that decade for something called Peter Max’s “Ops and Pops” (as in Op Art, Pop Art)

    • “Another Pepsi ad similar to the one seen above featured cool organ-based rock and the jingle “You’ve got a lot to live, and Pepsi’s got a lot to give”. It used to be on YouTube and was part of a Something Weird Video compilation of ads and interstitials (“7 (minutes) to go…”) used in movie theatres back in the old days (like one series of a space alien visiting the refreshment stand)

      How I came to see it watching one of those tapes that was basically several intermission reels spliced together and gave you this cool experience of watching these things go by and the local ads to some businesses in Lancaster and Chillicothe, OH. Expected something from Toledo to show up and it didn’t. 🙁

      It is interesting they changed the music in that piece otherwise unless they wanted to stay current with whatever the newer campaign was that followed. I think the one with the organ came first. The music in the other felt slightly out of place yet it still sorta worked to evoke the madness inside of us. I just like how the music swells up and then it just quickly fades out into the wind. I want it back!

      This film has often been offered by several small outfits specializing in producing 35/16mm dupes of intermission/snack bar ads for all sorts of purposes.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz2O7mdjc68

      Too bad though I see they’ve just retired from that. So I’m sure these things’ll go up in value very quickly.
      http://www.drive-infilm.com/

      Yellow Submarine may have helped to inspire the visuals in Depatie Freleng’s Here Comes the Grump. Also re: Peter Max, I had a book years of 60s nostalgia called “60s!” and they had an ad from that decade for something called Peter Max’s “Ops and Pops” (as in Op Art, Pop Art)
      There was even a song called that too!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLTbUzk137c

      Though I see that stemmed from a line of pens PaperMate put out at the time of the same name.
      http://mysupplyroom.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-carded-papermate-ops-n-pops-pen.html

  • Just thought of one more. This one is for Coco Wheats from ’74.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdwmu4eiAkM

    And of course let’s not forget this little ditty courtesy of Vince Collins for our nation’s bicentennial…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ3EdI5mz08

  • One might say that Heinz Edleman took his cue from Winsor McCay. Is almost the “Chicken and the Egg” principle, isn’t it?

  • I recall a Bell Telephone animated ad from my childhood that would fit right into this series but so far have been unable to find it.

    • Don’t suppose you can remember what happens in it.

  • The other animator on the Nesbitt’s Orange ad is Gary Mooney.

Leave a Reply to Greg Ehrbar Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *