It’s kind of crazy to think about how much Super Soakers changed water guns. For most of my childhood, water guns were pistol shaped plastic pieces that required you to get the perfectly thin stream of water coming out of the faucet or hose to fill with even the remotest accuracy. They didn’t shoot very far and seemed far less fun than the classic water balloon. And then Super Soakers came along. I don’t think I ever had one, but they were so ubiquitous to my generation that I definitely put time in with them and had a blast. It felt so cool running around, pumping the pressure handle and being able to approximate the laser battles we’d seen in countless episodes of G.I. Joe. It helped that they looked so unique and vaguely sci-fi-ish. How could you not want a Super Soaker?
And this ad campaign helped a lot. Not only did it show off how cool of a toy you were dealing with, but it also not-so-subtly plays on the young boy’s desire to create mischief. While watching this clip, though, I thought to myself, “Are they really playing up on Reservoir Dogs for a kids toy?” but then I realized that the commercial was produced a year before that movie came out and actually looks a lot more like Blues Brothers drag.
That brings me to another interesting aspect of this commercial which is the transitional fashion of the whole thing. The thing came out in 1991 which still puts it over a decade after Blues Brothers, but it also has such a wild mix of what I’d consider separate 80s and 90s-ness. The boys look very 90s to me while the girl — whose name is Muffy or Buffy or something along those lines — looks and sounds like third generation Valley Girl. Clearly the defining moments of a generation don’t take place on New Year’s Day of a new decade, but it’s fun to be reminded of such things by odd little cultural artifacts like these.