September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

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Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Ad Parodies

There's nothing new about drawing parodies of common logos and advertisements. The most popular thing to do these days is to satirize well known current movie logos and add a humourous political or social twist. The most recent parody I drew came when the mostly forgotten remake of that campy classic movie the Poseidon Adventure hit the theatres. With regard to ad parodies, off the top of my head I recall Osama de Toilette products, and East End Hamilton cereal.

I couldn't help but recall as I drew today's parody of Downy Fabric Softener some stickers that I vaguely remember as a kid growing up in the 70's. Until I did a Google search using keywords like 'sticker', 'ad', 'parody', and '1970's', I never even knew that the things I was recalling in the deep recesses of my childhood memories actually had a name: Wacky Packs. Here are some examples:

Yep, cheesey, gross, kinda dumb, but a nice introduction to innocent youthful rebellion against mass marketing in the 1970's. And there are hundreds of them, many of them created and drawn by an artist working for the Topps bubblegum company -- Art Spiegelman -- which quite frankly, is news to me.

From the website,, there's a reprint of an article in the Oct. 1, 1973 issue of New York magazine which best describes what Wacky Packs were all about. Here's an excerpt:

What are Wacky Packages?, you may well ask. Putting it simply - too simply in fact - they are a new twist on the classic bubble gum card, that hoary ruse created to sell the uneatable to the unbearable. They are also, in a time when polls show public belief in institutions at an all-time low, seedling skepticism in its purest form. If a stick-on bubble gum card can take an old faithful cereal like Cap'n Crunch, change it into Cap'n Crud, and become the Munchkin madness of the year, maybe somebody up there better take a long look at what's turning the kiddies on - and off.

In their minor art form, Wacky Packages are revolutionary. Gone are the jocks and rock stars, the traditional card ploys. Wacky Pack puns are the Mad magazine effect leaking sideways into the under-culture. Yet when they were tried out by the Topps Chewing Gum Company six years ago, under the guidance of former manager of product development Stan Hart (a regular contributor to Mad), they went nowhere. Now the times are obviously right. Watergatian Weltschmerz is nibbling the collective unconscious, and Wacky Packages are selling rampant with their put-downs of products that kids have had thrown at them and into them daily by TV and Mom. From air-ball breakfast cereals to dishwashing detergents that make ladies beautiful, familiarity seems finally to be breeding contempt - and a generation of gripers.

Be sure to checkout the many more examples of wacky packs / vintage ad parodies on the Internet.

Posted at 11:20 pm by Graeme_MacKay

A. Abbott
March 2, 2007   09:18 AM PST
Holy cow, Mr. Mackay, I didn't realize how much you have veered to the right.
Your accusations of Dion being "soft" on terrorism are the exact same perceptions of the opposition that Mr. Harper has been propagating ad nauseam. Not only are these perceptions extreme, but the imagery you have chosen in your cartoon is intensely personal and vile. You should join Ramirez, the neocon American editorial cartoonist, as an embedded mouthpiece for entrenched conservative policies.
No, I am not a Liberal.
March 6, 2007   09:48 AM PST
I used to skip lunch and buy wacky packs. Those were the days, I guess I had about 350 of them. Not including the ones I stuck on the walls, car, bikes, school hallways. bathrooms. They were great. Of course I bought the whole new set from an e-bay auction, they are still cute, but nothing can compare with opening a new pack of wackey packs hoping to complete the set.

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