While the 80’s were the most awesome of awesome decades, there were still a lot of dangers that threatened to kill us off faster than a sex-crazed Crystal Lake camp counselor. There was the possibility that we might get infected with AIDS from a gay mosquito, the Aqua Net smog cloud that was thick enough to choke our lungs with Extra Strong Hold, and the colorful fashion statements were a danger to short circuit the sensitive rods and cones of our eyes. As if that wasn’t enough to make you want to consider a pre-arranged funeral, the 80’s were the decade where cholesterol became our sworn enemy. Sure, our food was giving us life sustaining nutrients…. but it was also clogging up our arteries like two scooter riders trying to get down the same aisle at your local Mecca…
While the war on drugs may have been more popular, it was the war on cholesterol that more people paid attention to during the Reagan years. Suddenly, every shiller of fatty, goopy, heart attack inducing comestibles was scrambling to find a way to shake the evil cholesterol from its products without also making them taste like an ass sandwich. The butter industry found itself right in the crosshairs of the anti-cholesterol movement, since it’s gloppy moo-cow concoction is just loaded with vessel hardening cholesterol.
Vegetable-based margarine had existed since the 19th century and contained no cholesterol… but it had the same buttery taste as those paint chips you ate off of your nursery wall. Oh, if only they could make a margarine that actually tasted like those sticks of death from your grocer’s cooler.
In 1979, the Baltimore based J.H. Filbert Company came up with the best of both worlds and dubbed their butter-tinged margarine the truly clever “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” Mega-conglomerate Unilever hastily snatched up both the company and it’s unbelievable impostor product in 1986 and marketed it nationwide for health and safety of all citizens…
Don’t feel bad if you were the only one who thought that commercial made absolutely no fucking sense at all… I certainly wouldn’t have given it a Retro Ad Tuesday nod if it had.
Finding out the foods we craved in the 80’s were going to murder us from the inside with their drain clogging cholesterol may have caused a wide range of emotions to our fragile 80’s psyches, but I seriously doubt it ever forced the breakup of two lovers who now had no idea what the fuck to put on their toast. If you thought one of your previous relationships ended on a WTF note, you ain’t got nothing on these two star crossed butter churners.
Maybe there’s an ulterior motive here after all, since somehow our female half of this moronic couple has gotten a hold of some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!… and she taunts her ex with it as he attempts to chase down the train she is leaving on due to the fact that there is apparently some stipulation in the Actor’s Guild guidelines that girls have to get the hell out of town after a breakup. The taste of the shitty Amtrak muffin is so incredible, that our hero somehow leaps aboard the train while it’s in motion, makes his way past every old conductor wanting to know where his ticket is, and reunites with his
density destiny. I can’t believe it’s not Taster’s Choice…
Desperate to add more sex appeal and pop culture relevance to its ads, Unilever reworked their original idea in the 90’s to feature a stereotypical romance novel reading woman who gets more hot and bothered from Danielle Steele than her own husband, as she dreams of the day some hunk of a man will fulfill her wildest fantasy of bringing her a cholesterol free butter spray. I can’t believe they hired Fabio!
Fabio, being fucking Fabio, milks this ad for all it’s worth. No doubt oiled up in the very pseudo-buttery spray he’s being paid to hawk, Fabio’s heavily accented enunciation of the product’s name is so thoroughly layered in raw, unbridled sexiness that it’s a wonder this commercial wasn’t banned to Cinemax. Sure, they let Dennis Franz show his naked ass on network TV at the time… but he also didn’t have every being with estrogen falling at his overly muscled Italian feet.
Unfortunately, our damsel in distress will have to make do with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter…… spray! because the commercial cuts off before she can spread her own nonbutter on this studmuffin. Sorry ladies, but Fabio doesn’t just let any lips touch his own… especially if they may have last been on a vibrator. Thus, our modern day heroine homebody is denied the greater glory of a kiss with the world’s most famous cover model due to contractual obligations. Or maybe Fabio’s face was still recovering from the nosejob he got from the errant bird that had the gall to fly into his path on that roller coaster…
While it’s easy to mock the classic ads for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, I have two years worth of Retro TV Ad posts that say most commercials from the time were pretty fucked up. What truly makes I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! stand out is the name of the product itself. Not only is it an utter mouthful that you’d think would have been reduced to an acronym of some ignorant Kimye type textspeak by now, but the best thing about it is that exclamation point. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! is meant to be shouted at the top of one’s lungs, just like everyone’s favorite 80’s
group duo, Wham!
The naming geniuses behind I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! also inspired many hilariously named similar items sold in places out of the eyesight of professional kopykat lawyers who don’t realize that imitation is the sincerest form of uncreativity. Get out your best tofu waffles and prepare to make them even healthier with the following butter importor impostors…
You’d Think It’s Butter!
Butter It’s Not!
Wow! I Totally Thought It Was “Butter”
Could It Be Butter?
What, Not Butter!
Is It Butter?
And my absolute favorite… from Taiwan:
Unbelievable This Is Not Butter
A man who lives by the butter stick , dies by the butter stick. And since we crave that udderly butterly taste on top of our continental breakfasts, The Nest salutes the forgery experts who crafted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! to tickle our taste buds without narrowing our arteries. When it comes to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, we will accept no imitation imitations, and will only spread the real unreal deal that has more than earned it’s exclamation point on our tongue. In fact, it makes us want to get up and dance to a little I Can’t Believe it’s Not Hot Butter!
LOL! Of course I cannot comment further given who my employer is. 🙂
LOL, you work for Fabio? 😉
We buy this el cheapo imitation of an imitation’s imitation. I believe it is dubbed “Tastes Like Butter” and it almost does, if you have never actually tasted real butter. More accurately, it should be “tastes like upscale margarine which is trying to taste like butter.”
I wonder if “Tastes Like Upscale Margarine Which Is Trying To Taste Like Butter!” would fit on one of those little tubs? If it would, I would totally buy it for the name alone… I could give it to the cats, they don’t know what real butter is.
For fuck sake, just eat the damn butter already! It’s way healthier anyway. And Fabio is a shitstain. There, I said it.
LOL all the way around!
Nothing worse than an ass sandwich. I eat real butter….my arteries cannot lie, but my taste buds are happy campers.
I peel the wrapper off the stick and eat it like a banana. Yummy butter!
I go for the real deal. I know what they put in the fake ones. I’d rather die ‘naturally’, then with a bunch of chemicals in me…..
But the fake butter would leave you so well preserved, just like Fabio!
Goodness, you trying to give me nightmares?? LOL
My mom fell for that I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! shit. A tub of that plastic spread inside a plastic tub was in our fridge for many years. Me, I go for real butter, although I would buy Unbelievable This is not butter just so I could laugh at the name every time I opened the fridge.
Even though I don’t buy into the plastic is better than animal fat thing, those ads must have made some kind of impression on me because I remember them both really well. Weird, because I always found Fabio kind of creepy rather than sexy.
I have things that have been in my fridge for years, so I’d love to have a tub of Unbelievable This Is Not Butter as well just to use as a comedic doorstop. Fabio is plenty creepy… but he is fun to mock.
I had forgotten all about those Fabio commercials. They were the worst. As was [is?] the produce that he was shilling. I love all the names of knockoff brands of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Especially the Kroger one. Too funny.
I had no idea all of those existed! I was cracking up as I found all the images… I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has to be one of the most imitated brand names ever!
Real butter for this gal, too! Although I’m sure I spent my childhood eating the “I Can’t Believe It’s …” or “Could It Be” butter imitators.
Also, the one from Taiwan totally cracked me up. 😀
I need to see if they import it so I can laugh at the name every day!
You know, if they don’t import it, they really should. We could all use a good laugh every day! 😀
This rates a Ha! on several levels:
1. At this very moment there is a tub of Butter It’s Not! in my icebox (believe it or not….ha!).
2. Wham! Didn’t I just mention them on Monday? Wasn’t that enough Whamosity for one week? I did my due diligence, btw, and the Banana chick is Keren Somebody that I thought was married to Not George Michael aka The Other One. I could have sworn they were married but Wikipedia says that Keren resides in Cornwall with her long term boyfriend Andrew Ridgely. And Wiki’s always right, right? Of course, it also says her 30 year old son also lives with her, so who knows?
3. Hot Butter! You won’t believe (I) this, but I could have sworn one of those 70s bands like Frijid Pink or Hot Butter was from Holland so I checked it out Monday. Nope, Detroit and NYC. The more you know…..
Don’t even get me started on those damned scooter riders…..
Hooray for having the imitation imitation on hand!
That’s weird that you also thought Hot Butter might have been Dutch, because that thought occurred to me when I rounded up the video… that I’d missed a famous Dutch band to reel off in my Shocking Blue post. There has to be some kind of Netherlands connection with them if we both though that. I was purely going by memory of Krox’s all-Dutch band LS game when I ran off that list Monday…
Scooter riders eat real butter…. and lard.
I can’t believe anyone would eat that! Give me the real thing! Yay!
Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby!
Butter is full of fat = bad. Margarine is full of chemicals = bad to make it spreadable. Spreadable butter is full of both!
They should just make a spread called Fatty Chemicals and be done with it. I’ll bet it would sell like crazy! It’s good to be bad…
“Fatty Chemicals – tastes like shit, kills in seconds”. Ooh, I’ll take two family size tubs please, Mr Shopkeeper.
I wonder how many legal waivers you’d have to sign to buy a tub of Fatty Chemicals?
I never tried all that stuff… think fake butter is like a fake GuccY bag :o) Is the bird who smashed Fabio’s nose still alive? I would like to send him a bag of bird treats :o)
I don’t know… maybe it survived if it didn’t get crushed against Fabio’s plastic surgery chiseled face. It’s been about 15 years… I wonder how long birds live?
maybe it was a parrot they can live for 80 years or more :o)
Snorts with evil piggy laughter. At least you didn’t mention my ad that I got spread during this time period – “Eating bacon gives you cancer”. Yep, nods head. The secret is out now like butter – bwhabwha. XOXO – Bacon
That’s why they started making bacon out of turkeys… and it actually tastes better!
Amen for that! XOXO – Bacon
I will say my favorite tune and commercials are politically incorrect so now with disclaimer in place: I loved the ditty and fun with Benson and Hedges cigarettes. Next would be Let Mikey try it. That kid should have been in a sitcom or kids movie. The Fabio ones and cannot believe it’s not butter commercials were funny,ES.
I’m far too young to remember cigarette commercials, but I do remember Mikey! I think every school had a Mikey who would eat just about anything on a dare…
There is also “Utterly butterly” here in the UK.
And recent research has shown that actually, cholesterol isn’t as bad for you as they first thought, because guess what? It turns out that the body needs to have some fat for it to work. What isn’t so good for us is the amount of sugar that we’re merrily shoving into our cake holes… Hhmmn, cake….
I saw Utterly Butterly, but it wasn’t a clear ripoff of the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! brand name, so I didn’t include it. They score a point for actual creativity!
I just know there is good and bad cholesterol, and my bad numbers have always amazingly been low… despite the fact that I live on fried food. I’ve also eaten enough sugar to kill 100 people, yet somehow have not triggered the diabetes that runs in Dad’s side of the family. I’m apparently a very lucky unhealthy eater.
And then there was the gherkin-naming craze that fought off the kosher dill gang with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter!” Bill … No, but don’t you wish THAT had happened?
Gotta love those food labels. Yum. Gimme some vegetable oil spread on toast with an individually wrapped slice of pasteurized processed American Cheese Food, please and thank you.
That would have been worth it to see Fabio with a pickle in his mouth on TV…
Reading the list of “ingredients” of many food products can be highly entertaining. I’m glad to know there are about 12 versions of red dye out there…
And it’s listed under the food ingredients. Better off Red.