We’re still stewing over the truly historic ComcastSam Houston ad campaign
, so much so that it got us reminiscing about the history of TV ads in the Houston market.
We set out looking for some that were as weird as that campaign, but ended up with a bunch that were just plain quaint. Usually.
And so here, in the sad absence of any of Father Amco’s explosion-laced, insurance-based espionage thrillers from about ten years ago, and with an eye toward avoiding overplayed classics from the likes of Mattress Mack and the Texas Hammer, are a few of the most, um, notable local TV ads ever to run in Houston. Or at least the most notable ones that happen to be on YouTube:
Since the park closed two years ago this week, we’ll start with this little hunk of unbridled nostalgia.
Del Taco, 1981
Man, Tex-Mex has come a long way in the last 27 years. You wouldn’t even get a sorry-looking burrito like that at a school cafeteria in Tyler now. (If that’s what they looked like on the commercial, I literally shudder to imagine what they looked like in real life, and also that I used to eat there.) And you sure as hell wouldn’t market it with a sub-Urban Cowboy jingle.
Whataburger, approx. 1985
On the other hand, Whataburger never changes, no matter what language you’re speaking, as Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuz proves.
Astrodome Thrill Show and Destruction Derby, 1982
SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!! DEATH, FIRE, STUNTS, TWIN-RAMP TERROR OVER 17 A.J. FOYT CHEVROLETS! CRASH-BANG-BOOM. We’ll give the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge of it!
Houston Post Classifieds, 1981
Ah yes, I remember afternoon papers, classified ads, K-Cars, and psychos scrawling random phone numbers in the shower too…
Enron “Bandwidth should be a commodity, like a pork belly” spot, circa 2001
If there ever was a company that dreaded people asking them questions, like “What is it you people do?”, it was Enron…
Magick Cauldron, circa 2003
I’m partial to hand-made commercials meself…
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Zest soap, featuring Roger Clemens, 1986
Don’t know where to begin with this one…First, I’m sure the Rocket’s teammates didn’t make fun of his prancing performance in this ad at all. Second, I wonder if during his steroids hearings all those years later, this jingle wasn’t knocking around somewhere in the recesses of his brain. “Should I tell the truth? I could come clean – zestfully clean! All this could end, and me and Andy could hang out around the pool some more. Nah, I’m just gonna stonewall. Fuck it.”
– John Nova Lomax