30 Apr: Meet Mr Potato Head

Rerun: The advertising industry underwent a minor revolution on 30th April 1952 when Mr Potato Head starred in the first ever nationally televised ad campaign for a toy, unleashing the demon force of kiddie pester power on an unsuspecting world.

Unlike regular toy dolls, a Mr Potato Head wasn’t self-explanatory, so toy company Hasbro decided it was worth investing in TV ads for the product. The marketing decision is credited with helping sell more than a million Mr Potato Heads in the toy’s debut year. 

In this week’s Sunday episode, exclusively for members of 🌴 CLUB RETROSPECTORS 🌴, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why Mr Potato Head’s inventor George Lerner initially had trouble getting toy companies interested in his idea; discuss the pros and cons of using real fruit and vegetables as toys; and reveal the names of the entire Potato family… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The first Mr. Potato Head commercial hit the airwaves on this day in 1952’ (Boing Boing, 2022): https://boingboing.net/2022/04/30/the-first-mr-potato-head-commercial-hit-the-airwaves-on-this-day-in-1952.html 

• ‘Toy Story: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head’ (Screen Rant, 2020): https://screenrant.com/toy-story-pixar-unknown-facts-mr-potato-head/#mrs-potato-head-followed-in-1953 

• ‘Vintage Original Mr and Mrs Potato Head commercial 1960’s’ (Sky News, 2010): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICGrjmJouWA

This episode first premiered in 2023, for members of 🌴CLUB RETROSPECTORS🌴 – where you can also DITCH THE ADS and get weekly bonus bits, unlock over 70 bits of extra content and support our independent podcast. Join now via Apple Podcasts or Patreon. Thanks!