Experience Some Radical Rewind-Inclined Dreams Come True with LUNCHMEAT VHS FANTASY BLANKS! A Collection of Branded Promotional VHS Blanks That Should Have Been!

80s, 90s, 90s VHS, Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness, Cherry Coke, Doritos, Ecto Cooler, Fantasy VHS, Graphic Design, Jolt Cola, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Surge, VHS, VHS Collecting, VHS culture -

Experience Some Radical Rewind-Inclined Dreams Come True with LUNCHMEAT VHS FANTASY BLANKS! A Collection of Branded Promotional VHS Blanks That Should Have Been!

The wide world of video era promotional materials is as vast as it is exciting, Tapeheads. The nostalgic allure of promotional video store ephemera for the avid Tapehead is undeniable, and if you’ve peeked into our Analog-Tising feature in LUNCHMEAT #8, you might already be aware that Vestron Video was arguably at the top of the video era promo game, producing wondrous items like the outstanding sculpted pewter paperweight for the home video release of Re-Animator.




You didn’t think we’d mention it and not show you, did you, Tapeheads? We wouldn’t do that to you, dude. (Photo Courtesy of Tom RedRum)



The bulk of these items have since become coveted among select VHS Collectors and analog era enthusiasts, and surely make for fantastic display pieces peppered among your stacks and racks of black plastic slabs. With the popularity of the format throughout the 80s and its concrete ubiquity in the early 90s, the VHS tape then became a promotional item in itself, with heavy-hitting companies like cigarette manufacturing giant R.J. Reynolds creating promotional blank videocassettes for their brands Camel and Salem, which we uncovered and featured in a previous post here in Lunchmeat Land. Looking back, these are still radical and representative pieces of these-will-never-be-made-again nostalgia. Recently, fellow Tapehead Tyler Bell of OOP Video pointed out another branded blank out of the 90s from another major commercial company: PEPSI.




The Pepsi blank brought to our analog attention by Tyler Bell, found via Reddit. Dang, looks rad!



This branded promotional blank immediately grabbed my attention and captured my affection. So much so, that just for fun, I decided to create a branded blank for another classic cola and personal favorite: Cherry Coke. Pure fantasy. Pure fun. I then posted the Pepsi blank and the faux-Coke blank side by side via the Lunchmeat Instagram, and asked fellow Tapeheads to spot the fake. The reaction was surprisingly uneven in accuracy, and it inspired me: Why not create a bunch of these blanks, paying tribute to some of the most fan-favorite and iconic brands of the 90s.





Which blank is the real one? Many a Tapehead were fooled! That was half the fun, dudes.




So that’s just what I did. What follows is a collection of pure analog-driven imagination we affectionately call LUNCHMEAT VHS FANTASY BLANKS. They aren’t real. But we wish they were, man. And away we go!




Design credit: Josh Schafer


CHERRY COKE: This is the one that started it all, as explained above. It’s still one of my favorites for that reason. This one makes me thirsty.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



JOLT COLA: Packed with about a pound of caffeine and carrying a sort of “cool kid” status (at least, that’s how I always felt when I drank it), you could guzzle a couple bottles of this sugar-soaked soda around 9pm, and then have the power to stay up extra late, watch, and record that forbidden Midnight Movie with this here Jolt Cola tape. Man, that would have RULED.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



SURGE: The 90s just screams SURGE!! It actually did. I mean, you’ve seen the commercials, right? Why Surge never did an actual VHS promotion with a 12-pack, I have no idea. I guess they didn’t really need an extra push to get their product off the shelf, but it sure would have been one bodacious bonus. It would have also been useful to record all of those artsy Surge commercials.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



ECTO COOLER: If HI-C ever got into the complimentary videocassette game, you best bet that Slimer would be on the cover of that bad boy, supporting that iconic Ecto Cooler brand. Tie it in with The Real Ghostbusters cartoon that was running on ABC in the early 90s, and you’ve got a one radical rewind-inclined recipe for Saturday Morning Cartoons and classic 90s commercials captured on one of the coolest VHS blanks to ever (not) exist.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



DORITOS: And what’s a gaggle of sugary-sweet drinks without a little snack, man? I don’t know about you, but for me, Doritos is thee iconic snack chip of the 90s. Instant party, dude. And since your parents wouldn’t really want you plopping down in front of the tube and scarfing a whole regular-sized bag of Doritos while watching a stack of tapes, Doritos Big Grab bags were the best compromise. So why not unleash a branded Big Grab blank? Taping your favorite stuff from TV while eating an over-sized “single serving” of Doritos? Dig it.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



BURGER KING: So you’re ready for the main course, Tapeheads? How about paying a visit to the King and gettin’ yourself a dang Whopper! Burger King had to think of a groovy way to try and snatch up some of McDonald’s customers, so why not lure them in with a complimentary videocassette? It would have worked on me, man. Hail to the free home video King, baby.




Design Credit: Josh Schafer



PIZZA HUT: So burgers aren’t your thing? Nobody’s perfect. Plus, there’s always that never-fail love-it-or-leave party food: PIZZA. And though Domino’s and Little Caesar’s had their own presence in the 90s, Pizza Hut was it. Now it would have been easy to incorporate a TMNT promotion with this one (and I still might in a future installment!), but in the 90s, Pizza Hut was trying to up their carryout angle. They didn’t deliver, but they wanted to sell more pizzas outside of the restaurant. So, what better way to get people to take your pizza home than to give them a free HOME video with every purchase?! Take home a pizza, take home a video, and record whatever you want! This could have been huge.



Well, that’s it for now, Tapeheads! We hope you dug this first installment of LUNCHMEAT VHS FANTASY BLANKS! Let us know which blanks you enjoyed best, and which brands you’d like to see emblazoned on the next set of fantasy slab! VHShout it out in the comments below, and you just might see your fantasy come true through tape!


Groove and Groove and DO NOT ERASE.





Josh Schafer

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