Retro Junk Food as Presented in Old Comic Book Ads

Chips Ahoy! Cookies (1987)

Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy! cookies have been around since 1963, but I believe it was in the ’80s that they truly started to see their star rise. The Chips Ahoy! brand started seeing new varieties added to the mix as evidenced in this ad. Not only could you get the regular old Chips Ahoy! cookies, but there was also Chewy Chips Ahoy!, and the favorite of kids everywhere, Striped Chips Ahoy!.

Back then, the Striped Chips Ahoy! were my personal favorites, and these days the chewy version is my go-to, but the nostalgic pick for me is always going to be the classic Chips Ahoy!. That’s because it was the cookie of choice for my grandmother to fill her cookie jar with. Any time you were at Grandma’s house, you could be sure there were plenty of cookies to get your hands on and stuff your face with. And keeping a well-stocked cookie jar was no small feat being as how there were thirteen of us grandkids to keep feeding those cookies to. I hate to think how big of a percentage of her grocery budget had to be allotted to just cookies on her grocery shopping trips.

Superman Peanut Butter (1984)

Peanut butter is a staple in most American homes.  You can find it cabinets, in lunch boxes, and in lunch pails all across this great country.  It’s patriotic….right behind apple pie. And you know what else is patriotic? Superman!  You slap Superman’s name and image on a jar of peanut butter, you have the ultimate weapon against communism.  

I’m not sure Superman peanut butter tasted any better than Skippy, Peter Pan, or Jif.  Actually, from what I’ve read online, Superman may have even been a cheaper variety than those others listed.  No matter the cost, that brand of peanut butter and its glass jar with Superman on the label is what I still identify as the epitome of peanut butter from my childhood, as it was the peanut butter that could be found in our pantry for years in the ’80s.

Cracker Jack (1991)

Are there people still in this world that eat Cracker Jack? I don’t ask that question as a knock on it, because I still enjoy it. It just seems like you never see anyone eating the stuff. Not even at baseball games. Or at least not at the minor league games I go to. Sorry, I had to get that question out of the way. The real draw to this ad for me is the miniature Topps baseball cards that came in the boxes of Cracker Jack at this time. 1991 was right in the middle of my trading card obsession, so any time I had a chance to get my hands on some, I was in. And if that meant I got a tasty box of Cracker Jack to go along with them, even better. I no longer possess any of these miniature cards, but I had quite a few of them back then. A quick check of eBay shows that I can get 63 assorted cards from 1991 for just $10. I might have to do that.

Quaker Kid’s Choice Oatmeal (1993)

Quaker’s Kid’s Choice oatmeal would hopefully please even the pickiest of us kids/pre-teens/ teens or whatever you were in 1993 since it featured not just one flavor of oatmeal, but four incredible taste bud tingling selections.

I’ve written of my love for bygone instant oatmeal in the past, and while I have always been a big fan of Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal, I don’t really remember this Kid’s Choice pack. It appears to be mostly just a variety pack that had been re-branded to appeal to a younger generation instead of the adults. A quick watch of a commercial for this oatmeal has enlightened me to the fact that at some point there was a “CinnaMagic’ flavor included that would change color instantly when water was added. I’m guessing that flavor came after the Cinnamon Graham Cookie that is featured on the box in this ad.

Above and beyond the cereal, check out the clothing on the models in this picture. You have the preppy kid up top in his khakis and sneakers, the cool street kid rocking the backward hat, sweatshirt, and sweat pants, and the best touch of all….the striped athletic socks with the sweat pants tucked into them! On the side, it appears we have another Zack Morris wannabe, and with a ‘Daddy’s little angel’ on the floor next to him. And the best is on the other side of the box. Corporate America’s vision of what a 13-year-old hippy chick would dress like.

Morning Funnies Cereal (1988)

Morning Funnies cereal was one of my favorites back in the day. It had a cool gimmick in that the back of the box had an extra panel that folded out and featured comic strips to read while you were eating your cereal. Other than that, it was basically just an overly-sweet, overly-neon-colored cereal that Ralston produced in much the same vein as their other cereals of the period.

Since I was an avid reader of the daily comic strips in my newspaper, Morning Funnies really struck a chord with me when I first saw the ads for it. I pestered my Mom until she bought a box. It didn’t take long for the flaw with this gimmick to hit me, and that was I would end up reading the same comics over and over again until the box was gone. But nevertheless, it still left a lasting impression on me.

So there you go. Some old comic book ads for junk food. Maybe you remember some of those junk foods and want to share memories. If you do, hit me up in the comments. And if old comic book ads are your thing, be sure to check out the awesome series here on The Retro Network that Gary has done where he covers a TON of them. You can find them all in the Check Out Those Ads! section. And if those are not enough, you can also go visit my Comic Book Ad Archive.

If you’ve got a junk food question, junk food memory, or just want to share an observation of your own, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]. And you can always find me on Twitter posting about both old and new junk food, as well as other random geeky stuff. Stop by there and say hello as well.

– Mickey

More of Mickey’s entries in The Junk Food Files…

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About Mickey Yarber 241 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

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