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Oh the 90’s. Cable television was actually on television, our president played a mean saxo-mo-phone on the Arsenio Hall Show, neon was where it was at, and we all got together to talk about it in AOL chat rooms. How we loved the 90’s… wait a minute… did we love the 90’s?
For all you nostalgic freaks out there, here’s a cold hard fact we all have to accept: the 90’s were 20 years ago. I know, right? I’m literally crying into my almost-finished box of Snackwell Devil’s Food Cake Cookies right now. Wait, they cause cancer? DAMN YOU 90’s!!!
Now that we think about it, the 90’s were a strange decade. We’re talking proto-digital revolution, where holdovers from our analogue life let out their death rattle before disappearing into obscurity (or Buzzfeed posts). And that goes for underwear too — though only 2 brands from our collection have gone the way of the dodo.
So, in honor of our 90’s Underwear Ad Campaigns Collection, we’ve decided to look at our 5 categories with a dark and cynical approach, Because if there is one thing the 90’s were, it was a time when it was still cool to be disenchanted and super-snarky.
Ever wonder why snark was born in the 90’s? Maybe it’s because the wholesome approach of ad-campaigns was beginning to wear a little thin. At least the underwear wasn’t.
Fruit of the Loom: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- Recipe for giving a generation a noticeable fetish: take weird clips from a Japanese TV series, cut them together with generically arranged United Colors of Benetton teen actors, and then print their pictures on little children’s underwear. Bake for 20 years.
Hanes: Wait Till We Get our Hanes On You
- Michael Jordan? Joe Montana? Weirdly homo-erotic arm wrestling?! What is this, the 90’s? …Oh, wait.
Fruit of The Loom: The Happiest Moments in Life
- All the notes of what makes America can be found in this one. Picnics on the farm. Ford trucks driving down dirt roads. A little red-headed kid engaging in bulimia. He’s just eating a hot dog? Whatever. Bulimia was a problem in the 90’s. Thanks a lot, Shannon Doherty.
Jockey: Genuine Jockey
- Wow, I’m having fun playing rugby! Oh no I’ve got water in my eyes and you took my towel! Hey you, get off that motorcycle! Oh no, you’ve covered my eyes and I can’t see! It’s so great to be alive! Where can I get underwear that makes me feel this good? “Only at Better Department and Specialty Stores.” What have I been doing shopping at Worse Department and Specialty Stores?
Fruit of the Loom: We Fit America
- Look at the cars! Look at the hair! And a jingle?! I’m sold.
Cotton: The Fabric Of Our Underwear
- I, like, totally remember which coffee house I was sitting in when I first saw this inspirational advertisement. You know, like cotton really is the fabric of our lives. That’s what my indie documentary is about. Lives. You know?
Apparently the dark sense of humor that was pervading the undercurrents of counter-culture had not really made it to mainstream Madison Avenue.
- I wonder why I’ve never heard of this underwear… maybe because this is a nickelodeon style advertisement on a station that was still actually cool. (‘Cause, MTV is not cool anymore. No really. It’s not).
Friends Underwear Spoof
- Ah, here are the Friends before they each got 1 million dollars an episode to pout, whine, and act all “eccentric” in a NYC that is like no NYC I’ve ever seen. At least they look good in underwear.
A Hard Copy Exclusive
- That’s right, Hard Copy, the finest news source the 90’s had ever known (take that Current Affair), showed us just what it would mean to provide constant-never-ending-all-the-time-sensationalistic-get-them-hooked “news stories.” WOOF! Did they just throw darts at a storyboard? SHEESH! Imagine if they had bottom screen scrolling ticker technology back then. YIKES! ugh.
Because, apparently, that is how we handled eroticism back in the 90’s.
Hanes: Boxers or Briefs
- Those ladies are literally dressed like they just came from their Mad About You auditions.
- Clearly this advertisement was inspired by the sudden awareness of foreign cinema. But for our money what makes this great is the magnetic tape problems, the VHS “play” and volume icons, and the clearly noticeable curve of a pre-flatscreen TV.
Marky Mark (without the Funky Bunch) for Calvin Klein
- Yes. We could write jokes, but Mr. Mark Wahlberg seems to be doing it for us. Though he does make a very salient point at the end. AIDS was an epidemic that needed to be addressed… in underwear ads.
Remember when the rest of the world felt like such a strange, foreign, and super-far away place? To combat (or amp up) our mounting xenophobia, FOX ran these laugh track collections of international ads. Here’s what those weirdos were doing with their adverts before we realized the rest of the world existed.
- Australia had Underdanks and we had Underoos. Kind of the same thing. And at least personally I travelled in my underoos all the time. What?
And now for your FREE 90’s UNDERWEAR GIFT:
Do you have memories of your favorite 90’s ads? Join in the snarky fun. Let us know with a comment below or by tweeting @underwearexpert.
Video Credit: YouTube