What makes us remember ’90s TV commercials so well 

I didn’t know what it was when they sent it to me on WhatsApp. Suddenly, I realized I knew the song like the back of my hand. Thanks for sending it! The person who sent it to me commented on it. It happened to everyone who commented on the original, whose memories from the 90s are also linked to the announcement. It’s from 1993, and although the kids who saw the TV then might not have been the target, they can now sing it without much trouble.

It’s quite likely that many of the TV ads from then would sound familiar to those who watched TV then, no matter how old they are now. We’re still able to sing the song from Todos contra el fuego or know that appealing to your Zumosol cousin is the best way to deal with a playground bully. As the ambassador’s parties demonstrate, Ferrero Rocher chocolates are the pinnacle of elegance. It’s an iconic campaign from the 90s that has a lot of cultural significance.

We don’t remember many other campaigns from the 90s – they wouldn’t be the ones we’d mention if someone asked us about ads from the 90s – but anything can bring them back, with the brands they were linked to. Why do we remember the ads of the 90s so well?

Memories from the 90s

The key to these strong memories of ’90s advertising isn’t so much in the creative – ads back then weren’t any better or more creative than they are now – but in the context.

Erika Fernández, coordinator of the Advertising degree at UNIR, explained a few months ago how a particular ad from that time is still remembered, Curro went to the Caribbean. Back then, media consumption was different: “we ate the ads.” People sat in front of the TV and watched those ads all day long. Consumers were exposed to each campaign much more than they are now.

Also, the competition was much less, so we remember slogans from decades ago better than those today. Everything was easier then, compared to the ultra-fragmented media landscape of today. Even on TV, everything was smaller. In some communities, Spaniards could watch four channels – La 1, La 2, Antena 3 and Telecinco – and one regional channel. Magazines, outdoor or cinema advertising, radio, newspapers, and magazines all existed, but there was no need to compete with the high – and highly fragmented – digital consumption.

We can’t forget nostalgia, which brands are now using in ads. It’s because we saw them 20 times and they had some catchy ditties at a time when getting attention wasn’t so hard, but we get excited about them on social media because we see them with a patina of nostalgia, of an optimistic era. Because of that, we get emotional about them.