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The Bison Sucks On His Orange: TSW Adverts, 1992

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Uploaded on Oct 23, 2011

Yay! More from the VHS vaults! I'm actually typing this with hands that feel like 1000 hatpins are trying to work their way out from inside, the result of lugging two boxes full of VHS tapes down from the fibreglass-tastic loft. This I do for you.

Anyway, this comes from a showing of Bedknobs and Broomsticks in, I believe, the spring of 1992. Easter time. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, like Song of the South, is one of those films that was always on bank holiday mornings between 1988 and 1996 or so, along with That Darn Cat! and One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, which disappointed the hell out of me by not including any dinosaurs at all.

Anyway, the adverts here start off with one for Skittles, featuring three London-ish teenagers asking rhetorical "teenage neurosis"-type questions in a surreal existential void, getting only great fruit flavour and hallucinations for answers. These days, they'd be thinking "why does my knife always pick up more blood than everyone else's?" and "why are the only trainers in my size always the ones covered in the most razor-sharp bits of window?" There's real fruit juice in 'em. Like a droplet of it.

Next there's a pair of static photos and a voiceover from David Fitzgerald announcing what is still almost certainly the most fun you will ever have at Shepton Mallet.

Then, Clothes Show host and poorly made Ian McShane action figure Jeff Banks shows up to plug Ariel Color. Not colour. Color. At times, the first half of the nineties seemed like an endless string of new detergents, punctuated by pictures of Princess Diana. Ariel were at the forefront of most of them, and with Ariel Color they brought the concept of detergents that don't fade your clothes to the UK.

Next there's another of those You Only Get a Woosh with a Wotsit" adverts which ensured the humble Wotsit's place as the kiddiwinks' favourite orange compacted starch abomination for several years. Previous campaigns had focused on slightly dizzying wordplay involving the word "What", or "Watt", or "Wot", which by 1992 they'd exhausted, so they turned instead to Captain Sensible and some manically surreal animation.

From the Damned to Roger de Courcey. He shows up in a brief spot for what was still known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, in which Nookie Bear dies of massive internal burns.

At this point, the sound has gone completely round the bend. Next up is a test case for the complete naked horribleness of advertising. This is a little-seen advert for Robinsons' fruit drinks, a little slice of cartoonish whimsy which stars several puppety animals on a bike, drinking fruit juice while someone sings a catchy, bouncy, descending tune about it. It's fun. Unfortunately this is 1992. A few months later, the adverts were replaced by redubbed versions with a completely new tune labelling them "THE ROBINSONS GANG!!!!!" and speed-written, semi-rapped lyrics that tried to make them seem COOL and FUNKY and the overall effect was the most depressing thing I had ever seen, because what they'd done was create a genuinely charming advertising campaign and then deliberately remove the charm and replace it with dead-eyed precision-targeted shit. Take a look at the redubbed version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd1Vl1... Notice that the basin makes no sense at all. There was another one on a bus. I've never found either version of that. It had a shark who, to be fair, was in sunglasses both times around.

Next, a route-one advert for a version of Barbie with massive hair. After that, a cut-down version of that famous Vidal Sassoon Wash & Go Launch Ad ("take two bottles into the shower? What are you, a loser?")

Then the young George Stobbart is back with a supplementary Skittles ad letting us know that the packs are bigger because there's more in 'em! TASTE THE RAINBOW, MOTHERFUCKER! And then we're back with the endearingly cobbled-together break caption. More follows shortly! Or not shortly.

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