Fantastik! #JusJoJan

My buddy J-Dub, who blogs at J-Dub’s Grin And Bear It, came up with the next-to-last prompt for this year’s Just Jot It January.


Now, it would be easy to go to the dictionary and look up the meaning of the word, but let’s face it: I’ve never been one to color inside the lines, and I ain’t gonna start now. Let’s start with a commercial…

I grew up watching a lot of TV, as you probably already know, and my favorite shows were the game shows, like Jeopardy!, Wheel Of Fortune, The Price Is Right, Password, The Match Game, and Let’s Make A Deal. During the summer, I’d work my afternoon schedule around them, sometimes sitting in front of the TV, in my underwear, watching the morning game shows, getting dressed when the soap operas started, and getting back in front of the TV in time for the afternoon shows.

Now that I think of it, the game shows were little more than filler between commercials. In a typical thirty-minute game show, commercials took almost fifteen minutes, and of the rest of the time, descriptions of the products, including who manufactured them and from where they were obtained, took another five minutes. And if you’re talking The Price Is Right or Let’s Make A Deal, the whole damn show was commercials. Hey, the time was paid for by the household-product companies like Lever Brothers, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson Wax, Drackett, and Procter & Gamble, what did you expect? Those companies also sponsored the soap operas, which got their name how? By being sponsored by ther makers of Tide, Wisk, Dash, and the other laundry detergent companies.

Not that I minded. Watching the commercials was fun and kind of educational. I heard all about the latest trends in cleaning and about all the new packaged food items that were available. I went to the store for my mother almost daily, and I’d spend some of the time seeking out and reading the packages, boxes and cans for the products. What was really interesting was that, looking at the ingredients for the cleaning products, they were pretty much exactly the same. What differentiated them was the ad campaigns, the way the products were marketed. Why does someone buy Mr. Clean over Top Job or Janitor in a Drum, or Glo-Coat over AeroWax?

My business degree was in Production and Operations Management. I think I should have majored in Marketing. Chicago was where many of the advertising compamies were based. Hmmm….

By the way, Spiegel, where so many of the glamorous gifts given away by the game shows came from, is based in Chicago. There’s no Spiegel store, though; they sold everything through their glamorous catalog. Later in life, I met a guy who worked for Spiegel. Turns out Spiegel is a warehouse in the meat-packing area north of the Chicago Stockyards. Did you say you thought that blouse smelled funny?

19 thoughts on “Fantastik! #JusJoJan

  1. Very informative post John. I remember watching TV but not as much and now I hardly ever watch TV (football and sometimes a show catches my attention = Netflix). I think it’s interesting your TV viewing and ultimately your occupation and also the fact that you shopped with your mother and gave attention to those items you saw on TV. Sounds like you were a precocious child. 🙂


    1. Actually, I did the shopping. Mom would give me a list and I’d walk to the store and home with the goods, for which I was paid the princely sum of ten cents. There was a period there where I would do the shopping on Saturday and buy a week’s worth of groceries and have them delivered. I was about twelve or thirteen back then. Dad died when I was eleven, so we all kind of grew up in a hurry.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember that Fantastik commercial. TV hasn’t changed much. My husband complains all the time about how they add an extra hour to hour and a half of commercials to the movies on TV. And don’t get him started on the commercials themselves.


    1. TV has chaged to the extent that there few people at home during the day, making soap operas and game shows less of a draw than during the 60’s and 70’s. Daytime programming is aimed at the people who are still at home, who evidently like the talk shows and the pseudo-court shows and are the target market for trade schools and shysters. The vintage TV stations (MeTV, Cozi etc.) mainly advertise Medicare Advantage plans, incontinence supplies and catheters, and also the many “save the world for only $19 a month” schemes (Wounded Warrior Project, Humane Society, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, The Red Cross etc.).

      I always use the example of the afternoon movies, where they take a two-hour movie and cram it into a 90-minute timeslot, then add so many commercials that at best you get a synopsis of the movie they were allegedly showing. A lot of those have been replaced by news programs, since it’s cheaper to broadcast the news than it is to maintain a library of movies and reruns of old sitcoms.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A one-hour timeslot during primetime will generally have 14-16 minutes of commercials, and the commercials have gotten shorter to allow for more of them to be shown during a break. Forty years ago, commercials ran from 30-60 seconds; now they’re 15-30 seconds long. So yes, you’re seeing many more commercials now.


  3. I remember that commercial for Fantasik but I forgot it was Betty White. I wish there really was a tile cleaner that worked that well.
    I watched a lot of TV too. Let’s Make A Deal was a fave.
    Re: Spiegel my mother in law used to get those catalogs. She told me I could look but I couldn’t afford anything from there. Good thing I guess or I’d have gotten a beefy smelly blouse 😂.


    1. Or worse, gotten one that smelled like manure. 😝

      Texize probably hired Betty White, because she was in lots of commercials for them. The more I read, the more I believe that straight vinegar would probably do a better job.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched game shows but I wasn’t one to watch soap operas. The commercials were more fun back then. Now the commercials are more about the glitz and most are silly.


    1. The commercials now have to make a bigger impression in less time, and the silliness is an attempt to compress thirty seconds of funny into fifteen. Like I told Dan, the creatives have given way to the MBA’s.

      Liked by 1 person

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