This 1952 Mr. Potato Head spot was the first TV commercial targeted at kids

Originally published at: This 1952 Mr. Potato Head spot was the first TV commercial targeted at kids | Boing Boing

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Make that “Mrs” potato a yam and plump it up a bit and it would look just like you-know-who.

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Marc Rodriguez Lol GIF

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whhhy i’m so ancient i recall when using a real potato was the toy’s raison d’etre. So the various facial features had to be stabby and thus ended (via being stepped-upon and lawyers) the use of any but the pre-drilled potato shaped plastic blob (or PDPSPB). Oh for the halcyon days when children’s’ toys and risk of injury were added features.

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Yeah, it was kind of charming when it was just face pieces you stuck into a potato or “any fruit.” This kind of made sense to me as something fun for kids to do. Stick a nose and eyes on a turnip, maybe. Switching to a plastic potato makes no sense at all.

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Somehow growing up my mother found a few old Mr. Potatohead sets, some just in cardboard boxes, and one in a plastic potato. It made sense from a cleanup perspective, plus no starchy juices running into the shag carpet.

What doesn’t make sense is the thick, dull pegs now used. The do not easily enter a potato or stay there. My kids have a modern one and it is much less fun. Also now the variety of things to plug into the plastic body is so small. One would have to get more than one set to have meaningful varity.

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Back when toys actually required imagination. Lego and Meccano used to be a box of random bits that you could make anything from, now you go and buy a $300 Lego kit that makes a single thing.

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I … I guess it depends on who you call a TV commercial?

Nearly every commercial segment on, for example, SPACE PATROL or Tom Corbett Space Cadet (and almost certainly Captain Video, although we don’t have very many early examples of that to verify (see This Thing I wrote about that subject if you care)) is targeted directly at Kids, and most of them feature a cereal, or a toy you can only get by eating a cereal.

The Space Patrol Code Belt (see it on Archive.org) aired in October of 51, and features a commercial for the Space Patrol Code Belt directly targeted at kids at the end of the episode, and a commercial for Chex in the middle, also probably targeted at kids.

The argument could be made that these are “sponsorships” and not “commercials” but, I don’t think it holds much water.

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