Ad Execs Pick Their Favorite Fake ‘Saturday Night Live’ Ads From Last 40 Years

“After five or ten fish, it gets to be quite a rush,” is a slogan more ads should employ.

“After five or ten fish, it gets to be quite a rush,” is a slogan more ads should employ.

This weekend, NBC’s Saturday Night Live will celebrate turning 40, which is incredibly depressing for some of us who have fuzzy childhood memories of sneaking downstairs to watch Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, John Belushi and others do things that we knew were hilarious even if we were too young to understand. So what better way to end the week than to look back at some of the best fake ads ever aired on SNL.

Bloomberg asked some real advertising executives to choose their favorite fictional ads from the late-night show’s lengthy run. Here are the ones that we agree with:

The Bass-O-Matic

Technically, it’s the Super Bass-O-Matic ’76, which puts an end to the “years of troublesome scaling, cutting and gutting” by letting you use the whole bass with “no fish waste.”

The beauty of this ad — which is really more of a progenitor of Billy Mays-style TV pitchmen — is that it’s just Dan Aykroyd in an amazing suit, pulverizing an actual fish in a typical kitchen blender… followed by a fake-out of Big Dan slurping on the liquefied bass (you’ll notice the convenient cutaway before he pours himself a glass).

The best part — it comes with a free booklet: “1,001 Ways to Harness Bass.”

Colon Blow

TV viewers of a younger generation may take for granted the fact that every other food commercial now emphasizes a product’s colon-related health benefits, but the health food trend was just beginning to cross over into mainstream acceptance when the late, beloved Phil Hartman sat down for bowl of Colon Blow.

“Sounds delicious,” he says of the cereal. “But is it really higher in fiber than my oat bran cereal?”

And when the narrator informs him that it would take more than 30,000 bowls of his current cereal to equal the fiber content of a single serving of Colon Blow, Hartman finds himself perched perilously atop a mountain of cereal bowls, screaming that “Colon Blow must be the highest fiber cereal on the market!”

The kicker is the delightful “Colon Blow and you-ooh-ooh… in the mornin'” jingle paired with the warning that the cereal “May cause intestinal distention. Consult a physician.”

First Citiwide Change Bank

As the Baby Boomer generation tried to figure out what to do with their disposable income in the ’80s and ’90s, a number of investment banks and other financial services aired incredibly earnest, self-serious ads featuring testimonials of both customers and helpful, handsome employees.

This classic ad skewers those commercials, applying that same “We’re here for you” approach to a bank that does nothing more than make change for its customers.

“We will work with the customer to give that customer the change that he or she needs,” explains one Citiwide staffer. “If you come to us with a $20 bill, we can give you two tens. We can give you four fives. We can give you a ten and two fives. We will work with you.”

The ad also mocked the new products that these established financial institutions were increasingly pushing on customers.

“With our experience, we’re gonna have ideas for change combinations that probably haven’t occurred to you,” says the employee. “If you have a $50 bill, we can give you 50 singles. We can give you 49 singles and ten dimes. We can give you 25 twos. Come talk to us.”

Bad Idea Jeans

Inexplicably, this one didn’t make the list of favorite ads from the ad execs, perhaps because this 2012 Verizon ad basically ripped off the SNL skit’s entire gimmick, but it has to be mentioned as a perfect piece of commentary on the “guys just doin’ stuff and bein’ guys ads” from the early ’90s, in particular the Dockers pants commercials.

In addition the infinitely quotable lines — “I don’t know the guy, but I’ve got two kidneys and he needs one,” or “Even though it’s over, I’m going to tell my wife about the affair” — it’s a chance to see a young Bob Odenkirk before his eventual transformation into Saul Goodman.

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