Wacky, weird and downright nostalgic, the TV advertising of the past seems all the stranger for years gone by. Gone, maybe, but certainly not forgotten! Here are some of the best, oddest, most iconic or jarringly different TV food ads from the time. Some absolute classics here.

Campbell’s Meatballs
The World Snooker Championship is on just now. It’s always great viewing on the May bank holiday, but back in 1989 it was still in its heyday. So this advert from Campbell’s was a stroke of genius.

Heinz Sour Cream and Celery
Before the age of ‘It Has to Be Heinz,’ there was a man with bendy celery and sour cream. Just as homely and personal as today’s Heinz ads, it’s clear to see that these guys know people. And marketing. And condiments. They know a lot of stuff.

BirdsEye Potato Waffles
They’re waffly versatile. You can’t beat a good pun. And I can’t hear the word ‘waffles’ now without saying ‘waffly versatile’. The power of advertising mixed with a good jingle.

Country Life Butter
You’ll never put a better bit of butter on your knife, or so the saying goes. Four singing yellow Yorkshiremen promise it so, and who are you to doubt their catchy tune? I always had a soft spot for these ads.

Kellog’s Cornflakes + Sunglasses
The sunshine taste and crunch of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Cause enough to pull the summer specs out for breakfast. This one technically first came out in 1978 but I’m sure it spanned into the 80s. Cheesy, bouncy and family friendly, Kellogg’s brand as a wholesome morning meal goes way back. Slightly dull, perhaps, compared to some other cereals, but healthy, and they were arguably the main choice of cereal back in the early days. These days, however, I’m not sure how many people would reach for them – at least on a regular day to day basis. There are so many other options now with more flavour and more oomph on the market nowadays. When something like Deliveroo can serve you up a breakfast feast in minutes, the sunshine taste might seem a little dim now in comparison.

McDonald’s, Mother and Son
Sick of primary school life? Got a bowl cut you just can’t stand? Never fear, the Happy Meal is here. In a heartfelt story of mother and son, McDonald’s cheers everyone up with a happy jingle and the prospect of a few well-earned chicken nuggets. The epitome of the cheesy 80’s style. You’ve got to love it. Stay tuned for some more pics from my Happy Meal book soon.

Squares crisps with Lenny Henry
Lenny may be in the business of travel ads today, but back then it was all about the crisps. Well, more of a crunch really. Featuring a parrot turned emu and the legendary funny man himself back in his youthful heyday, this retro snack began its competition with Walkers way back in the day and is still going strong.

Cadbury’s Milk Tray Mountain Delivery
Nothing says ‘I love you’, quite like a daring escapade off the side of a mountain into shark-infested waters. On urgent delivery business, our black-clad crusader (who is most certainly not James Bond, thank you very much) dares life and limb to get some chocolate to his lady. A true gent.


Coca-Cola Piano
Coca-Cola is it. When you’re in need of a piano-lifting crew and possible love interest, just pick up a can of Coke and go. One of many featurettes from the 80’s, Coca-Cola can credit at least some of its unbridled success today to the ads of the past. Featuring yet another happy jingle, this home-move featurette brings the community together, through the power of a sugary, fizzy drink.