To commemorate the Sony Walkman's 30th birthday, here are the trippy ads Sony used to promote it in the '80s. Noble monkeys, off-key kids and sweet-toothed senseis—where's that f'd up sense of humor now, Sony?
Back in 1983, Sony declared the WM-10 Super Walkman the "world's smallest cassette player," and promoted it with ads that appealed to the dudes and to the ladies. There's the fantasy hardware building demonstration, 1 minute into the following ad compilation (here if you don't want to wade through Seth Green's Matchbox spot and the rockin' Simon hair-band ad):
And then there's the dancer who'd prefer a slenderer music player:
OK, maybe that second one appealed to anybody with a leotard fixation (which, in 1983, was pretty much everybody).
Most people in their 30s will hate me for bringing this one up: The 1986 My First Sony campaign was responsible for sticking the following song inside the heads of a generation of people who are just now able to forget it. Click at your own peril...
Here's one of the last cassette Walkman commercials, from 1990 or thereabouts, where a father grills his ridiculously dumb daughter on the pictures that appear on TV. She gets everything wrong—everything—but he let's her mistaken sighting of a Walkman slide, because Walkmen (Walkmans?) are so cool.
And about that noble monkey, his name was Choromatsu, and he died at the extremely ripe age of 29 back in 2007. Here's his 1988 spot, in which he grips a (Japan-only?) WM-501 and contemplates nature:
Before the zany TV commercials there were the fat-bucking-insane print ads. For instance, the small sampling below contains:
• A slick-looking posse of urbanites with nice shoes and likely heroin addictions
• A sensei sucking a lollipop while sitting next to a nipply lass 2X his height
• A lady perilously guiding a ten-speed at velocity while holding a Walkman
Special shoutout to Don the Intern for those mad researching skills. Hat tips to Pocket Calculator's Walkman Museum, to Tim and Nick Jarman's Walkman Central and to Bing's image search tool. Try it out—it's really quite different than Google's.