Back before recordable DVDs and Sky+ came along, if you wanted to record a TV programme to watch later you had to use a videotape. Actually, I’m sure that many people still do use videotapes, but I heartily recommend you get hold of Sky+ or some other hard disk recorder as it beats all that faffing about waiting for tapes to rewind.
With that unpaid for advert for Sky out of the way, today I’m remembering the TV ads for one particularly brand of blank videotape – Scotch. Scotch videotapes were often one of the more expensive blank tapes you could buy, but they were supposed to be of a higher quality, or at least that’s what the adverts told us.
For many years Scotch used an animated skeleton to extol the virtues of their videotapes, with probably the following ad being the one most people will remember:-
The bit in particular that (unsurprisingly) sticks in my mind is the repeating phrase “re-record not fade away”.
Were the tapes any better than their rivals? I’m not sure, but the advert obviously had some kind of psychological effect on me as I did tend to trust any Scotch tapes I ended up with more than most. I’m certain I never had a Scotch videotape that ended up getting chewed up in the inner workings of my video recorder, but I have no evidence to vouch for the re-recordability factor.
Scotch themselves obviously had faith in their product though, claiming that “you can watch Scotch forever” and guaranteeing that if you should have a tape that started to fade, you could get it replaced. This was claimed as a lifetime guarantee, and apparently Scotch are still being true to their word, as this post from 2008 on the IanVisits blog shows – except amusingly they no longer make videotapes so the replacement one is made by BASF, meaning you technically can’t watch Scotch forever…
Watching the adverts today is quite amusing, especially this one, which shows the skeleton telling us all about a Scotch tape that he bought in 1983 which is presumably still going strong in 2021 as he watches that years Derby race. There’s Mr. Skeleton sat in his modern, plush apartment, which still has a video recorder… Mind you, kudos to them for realising that TV sets would one day be hung on the wall – they just needed to make it a little bigger is all.