The Most Memorable TV Advertisements for Retro Toys

Dozens of retro toys have become quite popular in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and one of the most effective ways for toy companies to make their toys even more known among kids and their parents during those eras is by creating TV ads that would appear during commercial breaks for shows or movies. There have been thousands of different TV ads for toys that were produced over the years, but only a few are considered to be the best and most nostalgic. Here is a list of the most memorable TV ads for retro toys.


A very popular toy or gadget in the 90s is the Talkboy, a recording device that was first shown as a fictional toy in the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the 1992 sequel to the 1990 film Home Alone starring Macaulay Culkin. In the movie, Culkin’s character would often use the Talkboy to change his voice so that he would sound like he is his father or another person. The real-life Talkboy also did the same thing, as it featured a voice changer that can change the pitch of the audio you recorded on the device.

In a popular commercial for the Talkboy that first aired in 1994, a boy would ruin his sister’s time with his boyfriend by pre-recording an audio clip of her saying “Hey, stop drooling on me!” Then, he would use the voice changer of the device so that it would sound like his father is saying “Hi kids, we’re home early.”

Mr. Bucket

One of the most memorable TV commercials for toys in the 90s was the Mr. Bucket ad that first aired in 1992. This specific ad features a simple or typical scenario where kids are enjoying playing a game in a living room. In the commercial, the mechanics of the Mr. Bucket game was already shown, as the objective of the game is for players to place as many plastic balls as they can on the top opening of Mr. Bucket. However, Mr. Bucket would move around the floor and spit out plastic balls occasionally. So, playing Mr. Bucket can be quite chaotic, especially if it is played with groups of friends.

Mouse Trap

Another iconic toy commercial from the 90s was for the Mouse Trap board game. The toy commercial, which first aired in 1990, features a song that was sung by the Mouse Trap mascot, and the song featured lyrics that tell kids everything they need to know about how to play the game. The ad also featured quirky animations that are superimposed on a real-life setting where actual kids are playing the board game.

Cabbage Patch Kids

Cabbage Patch Kids

An incredibly popular toy line in the 1980s is the Cabbage Patch Kids, which is composed of dolls that are made of cloth and have birth certificates and adoption papers. The Cabbage Patch Kids became quite popular in the 1980s because of its effective marketing campaign that included TV ads that enticed kids and their parents to buy at least one doll. The Cabbage Patch Kids commercial in 1984 featured simple scenes where kids are taking good care of their cloth dolls while also taking them to different events or occasions. The ad also had a Cabbage Patch Kids theme song in the background.

Don’t Wake Daddy

Don’t Wake Daddy is a board game that was originally released by Parker Brothers (the publishers of popular board games like Monopoly and Clue) in 1992. There have been different names that were used for the board game, like “SSHH! Don’t Wake Dad!” and “Do Not Wake Daddy,” but its current name is what stuck for many years, even after it was published by other companies like Milton Bradley and Hasbro.

In the commercial for Don’t Wake Daddy that first aired in 1992, there are kids that woke up in a dream-like setting where they are in a giant version of the board game. So, they are doing their best to be as quiet as possible so that they don’t wake the man in the middle of the board. Unfortunately, they are not good at staying quiet, so they did wake up the man eventually. The dream-like setting is also accompanied by scenes where the kids are playing the actual regular-sized board game.


Lite-Brite is a toy board where you can insert translucent pegs that would light up once they are on the board. Then, you can use these pegs to create light-up art. Lite-Brite is one of the best toys in the 80s that allows kids to become creative, as they are free to create different artworks on the Lite-Brite board. However, Lite-Brite also includes a guide on how to make specific artworks so that beginners that don’t have an idea of what to create yet will have something to make on the board.

The commercial for the Lite-Brite toy that first aired in 1987 features a catchy theme song that explains what the toy does and how you can make different kinds of artwork with it. While the Lite-Brite has been around since the 60s, it was only in the 80s when the toy truly became a best-seller because of Hasbro’s marketing campaign that included the classic theme song and TV ad.

My Little Pony

My Little Pony Toy

My Little Pony is another toy line from the 80s that became well-known among kids because of its TV ads. One of the popular TV ads for My Little Pony first aired in 1989, and it featured three girls that are each taking care of a My Little Pony toy. These three girls would often meet up so that their pony toys can play with each other.

At the end of the TV ad, there is a short scene where all the available colors of My Little Pony toys from 1989 are shown, and viewers are encouraged to “collect them all.” Of course, the formula to making a TV ad memorable is by having a theme song in the background, so the My Little Pony TV ads in the 80s also had one.

If you want to get the My Little Pony toys from the 80s without paying for resale price, the original version of the toys has been re-released by Hasbro for the line’s 40th anniversary. Here are three of the most popular 40th anniversary My Little Pony toys to get:

And these are just some of the best and most memorable TV advertisements or commercials for retro toys. Fortunately, some of the toys we mentioned above are still available today, so if you are feeling nostalgic, you may want to get these toys again and relive your childhood.