19 totally '80s ads that will zap you back to the 1980s

It was all about lasers, hair and cassette tapes.

During the 1980s, the 1950s seemed so long ago. Oddly, the 1980s sometimes still feel like yesterday. Perhaps that's because sythesizers are on the radio, Ghostbusters and Star Wars are in theaters, MacGyver is on television and Nintendo quickly sold out of its NES Classic Edition. 

But not everything about the 1980s is back. Looking at the advertisements of the Reagan era, it's clear that we can still revive some trends — like perms and boomboxes. Let's set the dial for 1986 and get back in time!

1) You can't talk about the '80s without talking about Weird Al.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

The $29.98 video collection promised to "give meaning to your boring life." At the very least, it contained "Eat It."


2) Lou Reed was selling angular scooters.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

The Velvet Underground would reunite in the early-'90s, but in the '80s Lou was all about his little Honda.


3) If you couldn't get a real celebrity, you could get a Tom Cruise-alike.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

Rolling up your blazer sleeves for some air guitar was risky business.


4) If you couldn't even get a look-alike, you could airbrush a celebrity.

Image: Spy Magazine / Google Books

Wait, that's James Dean?

5) You probably don't remember just how huge boomboxes were.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

The number of cassette player ads was overwhelming.


6) Seriously, every other page seemingly had a boombox ad.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

People were pumping up their jams.


7) You have to match your jelly bracelets to your jelly earrings.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

Yup, more boomboxes.

8) Skateboarding exploded.

Image: Spy Magazine / Google Books

You even needed a second board for your boombox.

9) This was the basic look.

Image: Spy Magazine / Google Books

Clothes looked like graffiti. Every kid wanted some Ocean Pacific wear. 


10) Ads looked like David Lee Roth videos.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

Even sunscreen came in pastel colors.


11) How Dep was your love?

Image: Ladies Home Journal / Archive.org

Of course, the '80s were all about big hair. And there was no better way to hold those locks than Dep, especially a big bucket of neon green gel.


12) Swatch out!

Image: Ladies Home Journal / Archive.org

If you couldn't afford a Swatch, Timex was there with some colorful knockoffs.

13) Thanks to Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy, Jessica Tandy was a supermodel.

Image: Spy Magazine / Google Books

You didn't have to be young to be hip.


14) Back… to the Future.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

Sleek sports car? Check.


15) Every car was a Knight Rider.

Image: Spin Magazine / Google Books

Smoke machine? Check.


16) Nostalgia was alive.

Image: Ladies Home Journal / Archive.org

Hard to believe we just celebrated the 50th anniversary. But where were the painted Tribbles plates?

17) Laser technology was hot.

Image: Ladies Home Journal / Archive.org

Even smells came on CD.


18) Speaking of lasers…

Image: Ladies Home Journal / Archive.org

Lazer Tag was the must-have Christmas gift. And you needed a Teddy Ruxpin. It all comes back to cassettes and lasers.


19) This pretty much sums up the decade.

Image: Spy Magazine / Google Books

Neon colors, shades, big hair, airbrush… everything is there.

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