The Eagle Has Landed


The “Blinking Birdie” kept me and my sisters entertained for hours back in the day. Who needs stupid smartphones?

friday tvIn the mega-amalgamated conglomerate world of consumer products, many of the diverse things you use each day are probably helping to keep caviar on the plates of the same select few rich dudes.   This wide variety of wares under one business umbrella most often occurs when brands that first made their name under the leadership of some small fish in the business world get gobbled up by one of the corporate world’s black holes of name brands like Procter & Gamble or Google.  Chances are the same entity that processed the cottage cheese sitting in your icebox was also responsible for manufacturing  the bottle of douche in your bathroom.

You used the cottage cheese again, didn't you Jenny?

You used the cottage cheese again, didn’t you Jenny?

Sometimes, though, the big boys of Wall Street decide to set up a side market of their own in a consumer sector that isn’t quite their area of expertise.  Brewery giant Anheuser Busch was keeping the steins of the world full long before drunken driving was even invented.  At some point in the 80’s, America’s top brewmaster decided it wanted to make some spare change by selling something for people to down their Pisswassers Budweisers with… so they ventured into the salty snack business and Eagle Snacks was born.

Nothing like working your logo into the shape of the pretzels...

Nothing like working your logo into the shape of the pretzels…

When it came time to convince the beer drinking population that the same company who was destroying their liver could now do wonders for their heart as well, AB brought in the Odd Couple to help bring the Eagle brand into the spotlight…

There is something awesomely amusing about watching television’s favorite slob Oscar Madison play the classic Nintendo game Unicorn…. er, Duck Hunt…

Raise your hand if you knew Jack was a lefty.

Raise your hand if you knew Jack was a lefty.

While they don’t really revive the comic foil characters they made famous in the series of ads they did for Eagle Snacks in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the neurotic Tony Randall continues to get lovingly bitchslapped by man-of-the-people Jack Klugman because Randall shows that he can be incredibly annoying even when something as insignificant as fucking off-brand Doritos are concerned.  Dammit, Tony, leave the poor man alone and go make sure all of the burners on the stove are turned off again…

I think I'll play with this fire while PaPa is busy arguing about snacks.

I think I’ll play with this fire while PaPa is busy arguing about snacks.

While it was charming to see these two back together under the strange premise of advertising nacho chips made by a brewery, the Randall/Klugman ads weren’t really all that memorable.  Perhaps Eagle knew this campaign was doomed to mediocrity because in the mid 90’s, AB abruptly changed course in how it advertised its failing line of salty snacks and instead went with a gimmick that people would never be able to forget.  I don’t know if this is the result of desperation, or maybe just hiring an ad firm that spikes its breakroom coffee with LSD…. but this ad is just….. well, see for yourself if you dare:

Holy…… fucking……. shit.

Ceiling Face is watching you masturbate.

Ceiling Face is watching you masturbate.

Sure the mid 90’s were a crazy time when we thought beer should taste like Sprite and a double murder turned half of the SoCal population into media celebrities… but there is still absolutely no justification for why this batshit fucking insane Eagle commercial made it on the air.  Forget the small children… this ad gave adults fucking nightmares.  I mean, come on… how exactly should one be expected to watch a dismembered face fly around some guy’s house for thirty seconds without feeling the instinctive need to curl up in the fetal position on their couch and scream for Mommy.

This is why we will never send anyone to Mars.

This is also why we will never send an astronaut to Mars.

The “It’s What You Feed Your Face” ad made people want to go out and buy holy water and flamethrowers, not more potato chips.  So it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that shortly after this travesty aired, Anheuser Busch sold off its doomed Eagle Snacks brand to P&G in 1996.  But even the consumer product company that owns just about everything knew they’d received Face-damaged goods in the deal, so they in turn sold the Eagle line off to a company called River West Brands.

What exactly is River West Brands, you might ask?  Check out some of the other brand names they own the rights to…

I don't know whether they should put Tab or Sani Flush in the Alice spot on that grid.

I don’t know whether they should put Tab or Sani Flush in the Mega Man Alice spot on that grid.

River West is essentially an island of misfit brand names, where failed lines get sentenced to while they wait to see if Santa and Rudolph are going to come and pick them up this Christmas or not.  There’s Coleco, who fell on hard times after the bad karma of inflicting Cabbage Patch Kids on the world video game crash in the mid 80’s.  Who doesn’t remember Brim and Underalls ads airing on TV during their younger years?  It would be awesome to see some of these old brands come back into the marketplace.

Mostly, anyway...

Mostly, anyway…

Whether someone comes along and plucks Eagle Snacks out of River West purgatory or not probably depends on if the population under the age of 20 has managed to recover from the trauma of the infamous face commercial yet.  So long as in the mind of consumers eating Eagle Snacks goes hand in hand with having to share them with a creepy face peeled off the skull of some med school cadaver, nobody is ever going to want to purchase any bag that has the Eagle name on it.  I guess I’m not helping Eagle’s cause by refreshing these horrific repressed memories on my blog today…

Oh, and good luck sleeping tonight everyone.

Oh, and good luck sleeping tonight, everyone.

It’s perfectly fine to branch off your business so long as you actually know what you are doing… but if you accidentally creep the shit out of your customer base, you too could totally destroy an entire trademarked brand name and have to face the music of advertising failure.  For managing to segue from the Odd Couple to Face Off in one disastrous decade, we here at The Nest salute Eagle Snacks for managing to kill off our appetites while also falling face first on its own salty sword.  We don’t know if we’ll ever see you again on Mecca shelves next to the enema from Pharmacy some customer left on the chip counter, but if there ever is a triumphant return of the King of Fears, we hope this time Eagle will at least put its best face forward.

Drop the Eagle Snacks, Toad! Fast!!!

Drop the Eagle Snacks, Toad! Fast!!!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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23 Responses to The Eagle Has Landed

  1. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep for a week… not that ceiling face has anything amazing to watch, but a flying, disembodied face is about the LAST thing I want to think about when I need a snack. What were the ad-men thinking? Ugh!

    • I think it was more a case of what they were smoking, or dropping, or huffing. I refuse to believe Face was the product of anything other than some serious mind altering drugs!

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Best use of a Super Mario Brothers 2 screenshot that I have ever seen!

    So I had to look up Silkience, because I remember using it, and I find the company also makes Tame Creme Rinse Conditioner. I haven’t seen that since elementary school, when my mother would use it on my hair to keep it from getting tangled since it was so freaking long. Now I may have to go on an internet hunting mission…

    • Hey, I wonder if there’s some kind of award for that? I’d probably be disqualified for using such a scary reference, though…

      That was one of the defunct brands I actually hadn’t heard of before, so you should do a follow up report on them. I think I was more excited to discover that there’s actually an entity whose sole mission is to buy up and sell off no longer used brand names than I was when I found that the Face commercial was actually preserved by someone on YouTube. They list Nuprin as one of the brands they managed to successfully get put back on the market… I can barely even remember that being advertised on daytime TV when I was little, and had no idea it still existed…

      • NotAPunkRocker says:

        Um, I had no idea that Nuprin had been taken off the market. So I guess, between you and me, that balances out? 😀

  3. I do not remember the Eagle Snacks commercial thankfully! But now I will have nightmares! Gee thanks!! 😛

  4. “Almost Home” Baked Goods. That sounds like “almost good,” or “not quite as good as yours.” That would be a big marketing fail.

    I remember that face one. It just seemed stupid before but now it seems creepy. Not just the fact but the face that someone wakes up and finds some jerk in his house looking for food.

    • Ha! One of my former co-workers would use that word to describe anything off brand…. it’s Almost potato chips, Almost cola, Almost aspirin. I guess with Almost Home, you couldn’t legally complain if it didn’t taste just like homemade…

      Stupid faces, they’re such moochers. I guess they really didn’t stray too far from the Odd Couple theme when they switched campaigns…

      • This all reminds me about the time Microsoft used the Stones song “Start Me Up” while showing a child using a computer. DID THEY LISTEN TO THE LYRICS???? Uh, no. “You, you make a dead man…” oh well

      • LOL! That was the ad for Windows 95, I think. At the time I myself was completely oblivious to that lyric at the end of the song… it wasn’t until a DJ pointed it out about 10 years ago that I suddenly caught it… and now I can’t help but hear it every single time the song’s played.

  5. Trisha says:

    I vaguely remember Eagle snacks and that stupid/disturbing ceiling face ad. I agree that iidea had to be bong or needle inspired. I’m glad my children weren’t born yet to be traumatized by it! And maybe I should take back all the bad things I’ve said about millennials. They would have been about the right age to see it at an impressionable age…..

  6. So imagine my surprise when my mortgage — you know, all the money I owe on my house — was bought by General Motors. One day, they just tell you “Guess what? You’ve been sold!”

    And this is no substitute for Doritos. They are the Emperor of Chips. Accept NO substitutes.

    • I went through that with my bank. I opened my checking account right after I started work in 1998. By 2003, the bank had already changed hands THREE TIMES! At least that last one was the final change…. for now, at least….

  7. gentlestitches says:

    you have the BEST snacks and the scariest ceiling people. 😀

  8. markbialczak says:

    Yeah, Eagle Brands, sub-titling your foods Salty Snacks showed you didn’t have many folks on blood pressure meds on your marketing staff, did you? Same gang that came up with the floating face commercial, Bill. It reminds me of how the folks at Rich Foods must have squirmed at the name when the no-carbs Atkins Diet craze took flight, right? ‘Oh, no, we just paid 25 mill for the naming rights for Buffalo’s football stadium!’ ‘Don’t worry, everybody in Buffalo will keep eating chips and dip and cake!’

    • You gotta love the truth in advertising, though. Much more refreshing than when McDonalds calls their ketchup “fancy” or when Krazy Glue calls their product that doesn’t work an “adhesive”…

      • markbialczak says:

        One time I tried to use that Super Glue crap to fix the muffler pipe on my ’69 Chevy Nova, Bill, and the only things that stuck togetther were my index and middle fingers. My mother had to soak them in nail polish remover to separate them. I was not a pleased teenager.

  9. The Cutter says:

    When I first saw those Odd Couple commercials, I thought they were a rip off of Bartles and Jaymes

    • The only draft still lingering around in my blog’s archive is of a post I started on Bartles & Jaymes last year that I aborted since I couldn’t get past the first couple of paragraphs. I might have to revisit it… no retro ad collection is complete with their support.

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