Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More on those comic book ads

From X-entertainment, "There wasn't a small boy in the country unfamiliar with Olympic's "Prizes or Cash" ad, satiating our inner businessmen for generations. The deal was simple: sign on with Olympic, and sell their overpriced junky crap to your family and neighbors in trade for either a dollar per item or points earned towards one of Olympic's awesome prizes.

I'm actually a former member of this brazen cult, and lemme tell you, it never worked out quite like I'd envisioned. Check out that prize sheet -- they had everything a kid could want. Aside from the well-known widely released toys and action figures based on the cartoons we loved, there was all sorts of stuff kids never knew they wanted until the opportunity stared 'em in the face. Tents, giant trampolines, rafts -- there's even an electric organ, something I portrayed no interest in prior to seeing the ad, but fuck me if I didn't base my entire existence around owning one from that point forth. Video games were frequently listed, with children falsely believing that they were a mere modicum of effort away from nailing a free Atari or Nintendo game. While some of the items only "cost" a modest amount of points (you received one point for each item sold), others were a seeming fantasy: a bicycle, for example, required 75 items sold. Nearly impossible.

When I received my kit, I often wondered why anyone would pay such inflated rates (obvious to me even as a child, that's how jacked up the numbers were) for such low grade crap. It was all of these greeting cards and stationary kinda stuff. As a door-to-door salesman, peddling god damned greeting cards didn't make me a success. In fact, my experience with Olympic kicked off a lifelong hatred of certain neighbors, who rudely slammed door in my third grade face or were less than friendly in their refusals to buy buy buy. Of the three dozen or so houses I approached, no more than three or four folks bought anything. And only six of them didn't teach me dirty words.

Even with the aid of family purchases, I totaled in with a lousy thirteen points. The prizes for that amount were laughable -- a calligraphy marker set, a cheap watch, things of that sort. I ended up getting a "Bike Generator" light set (see in the ad above), which for about a week made my bike look girly before falling off and smashing into too many pieces for my elementary level math skills to count. On a second attempt months later, I scored a mere nine points and simply opted for the cash. Nine bucks. Not even enough for me to pay one of my classmates to throw shit at the teacher.

Actually, the best part of my Olympic experience happened before the sales kit even arrived. Looking at this ad and wondering which prizes I'd pick was a lot more fun than knocking on strange doors to sell bar mitzvah invitations.

And, as shitty of a superhero as "Captain O" was, I always got a kick out of the machine on his back. They never told us what it was for. I pictured great things."


Octopunk said...

I like the "ask for Brigitt" part in the corner. Was she wearing her little crown, working those 24/7 phones. What did she REALLY look like?

Octopunk said...

I recall another one of these ads in which there was a little strip, in which the friends of the oddly androgynous person thinking about joining the sales team scoffed at the idea, until s/he shows up with jumped-up fashion accessories and they're all agog. I think it ran in Archie comics, as it often fooled me into thinking this was another Archie comic until I realized I didn't recognize any of those jokers.