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Top 10 Commercials That Are Iconic to ‘90s Kids

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Warning - a nostalgia overdose is imminent. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Commercials That Are Iconic To ‘90s Kids. For this list, we’re looking at commercials aimed mostly at children that defined the decade of grunge and boy bands.

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Warning - a nostalgia overdose is imminent. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Commercials That Are Iconic To ‘90s Kids.

For this list, we’re looking at commercials aimed mostly at children that defined the decade of grunge and boy bands.

#10: Mouse Trap

Tom & Jerry: The Board Game. Published by Ideal, Mouse Trap has been around for a number of decades. Originally similar to Snakes and Ladders, the game was redesigned to allow children to actually implement their own strategies to try and capture their opponent's mouse. Nowadays, Mouse Trap is fondly remembered for its catchy commercials, which mixed live-action and animation, as an anthropomorphic cat taught children how to catch those pesky mice. While new editions of Mouse Trap are still coming out, the game will always be associated with these goofy ads.

#9: Hungry Hungry Hippos

Trends came and go, but dancing hippos are forever. In the late 70s, Hasbro launched Hungry Hungry Hippos as part of their "Elefun and Friends" line-up that included Mouse Trap and Gator Golf. The gameplay was pretty straightforward, as the player to gobble up the most marbles would be crowned as the winner. Hungry Hungry Hippos' best commercial involved four colored mascots as they danced in a conga line while singing the game's memorable theme song. There is no forgetting the sight of an animated hippo's shapely posterior.

#8: Fruity Pebbles’ Flintstones Christmas Commercial

Nothing screams the ‘90s like a ‘60s cartoon set in the stone age. Post Foods' Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles were actually kind of groundbreaking, as they were the first cereal created around a media personality. Since the very beginning, Flintstones were synonymous with the colorful cereal, providing the marketing team plenty of opportunities to get creative. Arguably, Fruity Pebbles' crowning achievement was their Holiday commercial, which showed Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble sharing a bowl of cereal with Saint Nicholas himself. In comparison to the brand's other commercials, this ad was sweet rather than funny.

#7: Super Smash Bros.

For a period, Nintendo could do no wrong. By the late ‘90s, the Japanese company had amassed an expansive array of iconic characters, and “Super Smash Bros.” promised to bring them together in a massive punch fest. To complement this monumental occasion, Nintendo delivered THE perfect commercial. Playing the Turtles’ “Happy Together,” Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi happily skip through a field before the plumber takes out the green dinosaur and instigates an all-out war. Cheesy but charming, Nintendo captured lightning in a bottle with this one.

#6: Easy-Bake Oven

Cooking for kids: the Easy-Bake Oven was marketed as an appliance for the pre-pubescent crowd, and the package came with cake mix. Introduced by Kenner Products – who hired Jim Henson to create a Muppet mascot – the company eventually became part of Hasbro, who launched a series of iconic Easy-Bake Oven commercials in the early 90s. Broadcast repeatedly on Nickelodeon, the ad focused on the meat of the product, with multiple girls baking their own chocolaty cupcakes. With no mascot in sight, these commercials actually sold the Easy-Bake Oven on its own merit.

#5: Operation

The step prior to medical school, Operation's silly and frantic commercials match the absurdity of the board game. The goal was for players to use tweezers to remove the patient's body parts, with a cash reward for a successful operation. Over the years, Milton Bradley and Hasbro have released tons of Operation ads, but the game was really popular in the 90s. Throwing in an addictive jingle and a ton of cartoons, Operation's commercial is simultaneously hilarious and kind of terrifying. Seriously, that red-nosed dude is crying out for help.

#4: Polly Pocket

There is such a thing as TOO precious. The original Polly Pocket was a portable playset that included a dollhouse and small figurines, although the toy's design was later changed by Mattel. The brand came with its own cartoon Polly, who whimsically opened the majority of these commercials. Besides Polly's animated cameo, Mattel's ads were accompanied by a fantastic jingle with an insanely simple but infectious chorus. Depending on the version of Polly Pocket being sold, Mattel updated the commercials accordingly and they never half-assed it.

#3: Hot Pockets

You know what, the diet can start tomorrow! Hot Pockets are a staple of American cuisine, and the microwavable food's ad campaign deserves most of the credit. Combining pizza and sandwiches – a match made in heaven – the commercials only needed to make Hot Pockets seem tasty, and they passed with flying colors. Focusing on the food's instantly ready nature, children only need to snap their fingers for a Hot Pocket to be in their hands. The brand's "what are you gonna pick" slogan ensured Hot Pockets would be flying off the shelves.

#2: Mentos: The Freshmaker

Turning campy into an art form, in the ‘90s, Mentos' “Freshmaker” commercials were numerous and inescapable. Whether you loved or hated them, this campaign was far-reaching enough to warrant a mention in 1995's “Clueless” and was parodied brilliantly by the Foo Fighters in their video for "Big Me." The commercials depicted people struggling to overcome small issues, before digesting a Mentos and figuring out a solution. The Freshmaker title refers to the passionately sung jingle, which can still pick at the heartstrings of the coldest viewer.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


Lego Maniac

Mr. Bucket

#1: Guess Who?

Sadly, the cards do not really come to life. Guess Who? is the perfect game to bring out someone's inner Sherlock, as the players try to figure out their opponent's chosen card. So, how do you sell such a simple concept? Obviously, using talking cartoon heads. Guess Who?'s ads depicted the characters coming to life as floating caricature. After achieving sentience, the cartoons would engage in some witty and kid-friendly banter. As icing on the cake, Guess Who?'s ads ended with a disclaimer pointing out that the cards do not actually talk.


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