by Dave (Twitter: @80sReboot)
Welcome dear reader to your next installment of an 80's League cross over event. This month we got in our collective mind to talk about 1980's commercials. We discussed on the podcast, how in our modern lives we take full advantage of the technology afforded us with DVRs and will purposely record and start watching shows later than they originally aired for the sole purpose of fast forwarding through commercial interruptions. Back in our beloved 1980s, that technology wasn't available so we had to sit through and watch every painful commercial that was programmed in for us by the corporate giants that ruled the airways. But what do you say? Some of those commercials were really kinda cool and a staple of our childhood? Get back! Truth be told, there are some of those that have graduated to "beloved" status to this 80's child. This won't be a very long blog entry as I geeked out on 80's Commercials on the podcast with Rose and Scott and even gave a stirring rendition of the "Toys R' Us" jingle, so your job is listen to our podcast and check back with a comment below to let me know how I did. (Feel free to tell me to withdraw my application for The Voice.)
There is one advertising campaign that I did casually mention on the podcast and want to go on the record to say even though it was an epic failure for Burger King and I had read somewhere that the "Where's Herb" campaign is taught as a cautionary "don't do this" to future advertising executives, I was a fan of BK and Herb in the mid to late 80's. Here is why. Growing up as most kids, I had a very (somewhat annoying to my parents) limited acceptable menu that I would approve eating. The world has gotten even with me, as my youngest daughter is much like her old man at that age (going on the record now to say I am humbly very sorry Mom and Dad). A plain hamburger with fries from Burger King was one of the very few meals that I would choose to digest when the family would opt to dine out. The family would choose to go to the local pizzeria and along the way Mom forced Dad to run through the drive thru at Burger King for that plain hamburger and fries so that I could eat that while they enjoyed pizza, that's right I didn't even eat pizza back then (story for another time my friends).
So my burger tastes were definitely preferring the King over the Clown and everyone coveted the McDonald's offerings and we had an overload of campaign blitz from the wrong side of the tracks. Happy meals, McDLTs, and Big Macs ... how could my beloved Burger King compete against that? Enter a common man named Herb to stand up front and take on the power of the clown's empire. He had to succeed right? This was David against Goliath? Or better stated, Herb against Ronald and Clara Peller (Wendy's - Wheres the Beef campaign). I wanted Herb to be "epicly" triumph and stand up for those of us that have been Burger King devotees through the Hamburger Wars raging in the 1980s. But alas, Herb faded away into obscurity and while Burger King still exists there was not any thanks to my champion. As we have learned in this modern age, any "clown" can rise to power and once at the top it can be really hard to find a champion to dethrone him.
Let's take a look at few of those Herb advertisements and I dare someone to walk into a Burger King now and say "I am not Herb" and see if the kid at the counter has any clue what you are talking about, feel free to experiment with that and post the reaction you get in the comments below.