Monday, May 14, 2007

Comic Book Ads #1: Comic Book Amway.

I bought this shirt from Threadless a couple of months ago because it reminded me of the classic "Earn Famous Prizes or Cash" comic book ad to the left (click to enlarge). I freakin' LOVED looking through these ads as a kid because I would try and figure out what I'd get if I got suckered into selling their products. Fortunately, I knew at an early age that I was a horrible salesman and avoided this scam, because if I did try and sell their "products", my Mom would still probably being using some of their stationary to this day because she would have had to buy all of the stuff I didn't sell. I stuggled mightly with those school fund raisers where you had to sell M&Ms or candy or whatever. My Dad was an electrician, so it's not like he could take that stuff to work and sell it for me like EVERYONE that I work with does. I swear I get hit up at least once a month with one of those order sheets. Selling stuff for your kids is lame, force them to go door-to-door like in the old days. Anyways, so if I was imagining what I would get if I was a kick-ass salesman, and if this was 1984 I would still be totally into my BMX bike, so I'd probably have go with the Bike Speedometer (sell 10 items), or the Bike Generator Light Set (sell 10 items) [I think a friend of mine actually had this exact set, it came with turn signals so you could let your friends know you were cutting down an alley or something, I really don't know why you'd need turnsignals on your bike, but it seemed totally rad at the time]. Also, the G.E. Walkie Talkie Set with Morse Code (sell 19 items) might have been a strong contender [I think we actually got these for Christmas one year and they sucked because the range was pretty much five feet]. And I would have had to have sold a ton of items, but the Tyco U-Turn Chase Race Set (sell 25 items) would have been my ultimate prize because I loved slot cars and always wanted one of these Tyco tracks, especially the "Gravity Defying" one where the track went up the wall. Sadly, young Tyler missed out on cool stuff like that.

I also loved the fact that all of the normal prizes have crazy names to get you excited about them. Like the Nomad Day Pack (sell 8 items) . Dude, it's just a crappy backpack. A close second, the Action Wallets (sell 7 items). I think the "action" comes from the velcro. Velcro wallets, I know some adults that still rock them.

I would say that this ad ran for a solid eight to ten years, with different prizes mixed in every once in awhile, but one thing always remained the same: Ask For Janet. Apparently, Janet was a very loyal employee to the Olympic Sales Club, Inc. because she was the only operator ever featured. At least that I can remember. Also, they were available 24/7 (even Sundays). Man, Janet must have been overworked. Also, the Operators can only take your name and address only? No questions? Yeah, this doesn't sound like a scam at all...

I also like that "Captain O" is a cross between Captain America and The Flash, so they were covering both sides of the comic book spectrum; Marvel and DC. Why does Captain O need a jetpack? Apparently he's not a real superhero. He's just some dude with a costume and a jetpack. Highly disappointing. I am working on a sequel to this, based on the Hostess ads that ran in the '70s and '80s. In the eighties, all you needed was some Hostess Cup Cakes or some Twinkies and you could solve any problem. More on that later. So, to wrap this up, call toll-free today!

::UPDATED:: I found this older version of the ad when I was flipping through some comics looking for Hostess ads. There's some pretty cool stuff in there. I also found another version that I forgot to scan in and that one had "Jill" listed as the operator. At least they kept it in the Js. This one was a business reply card that you had to send snail mail, it was before the 24/7 800 number. I like the group of kids where one guy is playing the guitar, the girl is singing, but obviously they're pretty bad because the third kid is sitting on the floor listening to his headphones.

I also found two other novelty item ads that I loved looking through. Fake Vampire blood! Police "Style" Handcuffs! Hercules Wrist Band! Midget Camera! Shock Book! Phoney Money! 1001 Insults Book! "Secret" Book Safe! There's some gold in both of these ads, peruse at your leisure: Fun Factory Super Gifts & Gimmicks, and Johnson Smith Company Novelties. Enjoy.

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