Nabisco Toastettes - What the filter?

In 1968, Nabisco had the idea to paint their toaster pastries with  melted sugar, banking on the proven idea that it's hard to go broke feeding people sugar. This made the top of the pastry shiny, which gave Nabisco the opportunity to call them "dazzling". But how to make it obvious in the product shot?
They could have shot the product really close-up and carefully lit the product to make the shinyess obvious, but then you'd just have a close-up of shiny dough. That makes for a lame ad. Solution - star filter!
A star filter is basically a rotatable glass filter with fine lines etched into it in such a way that bright areas in the image kind of "explode" in geometric patterns. They are available in lots of different styles. The one in this Nabisco ad is a standard cross filter, but they are available in lots of different styles that produce up to sixteen-pointed stars.

The History Team was unable to find out when star filters first became available, even after spending literally minutes Googling the question. However, my guess is that in 1968, they weren't quite as played out and silly as they are now. To the eye of Future-dwellers like us, the use of the star filter looks corny, but at the time this ad ran, the star filter still had the visual shit storm The Seventies and Eighties to look forward to. It still had a good run ahead of it. Almost any music video from The Eighties will remind you how people treasured their star filter effects.

The simplicity of these toaster pastries seems quaint. They're your basic dough jacket with fruit goop filling and a sugar varnish. They actually look pretty appetizing, especially if yo're a little hypoglycemic like me and benefit from a bit of sugar in the morning.
Toaster pastries have, uuh, "evolved" into cartoony monstrosities that give your eyes diabetes just from looking at the box. The word "tart" seems a little understated. The pink thin on the plate to your left is more like a "Pop-Skank". Yesterday I just managed to choke down the last in a box of generic Pop-Skanks that looked a lot like the ones to the left. Yes, I know they're marketed to kids, but they were on sale and I bought them to eat as a dessert. The filling was Strawberry in color only, and tasted like it had been made from congealed Nyquil. Much like Nyquil, it tested my gag reflex and I'm not exaggerating. So why didn't I just throw them away? Because I paid for them and I wasn't raised to waste food. The Pop-Skanks qualified as "food" in that they could be chewed and swallowed without obvious lethal effect.

The comparatively innocent Toastettes in today's ad seem to be overselling themselves with the trippy star effect and unnamed white powder, but having been softened up by the store brand Toaster Migraines, I think I could happily eat one of those retro pastries without the aid of any white powder to dull my senses.
Click for big.



Craig F. said...

I'm not sure there's anything worse than a generic Pop-Tart. Nasty, man. The last one I had was like someone wiped their shoe inside it.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

A SHOE you say? I say "feh!" to your shoe analogy! I say it tastes like it was wiped with a diaper filled with dinosaur puke! ... and strawberry Nyquil.

Thanks for reading!


Steve Miller said...

These star filters may not have been optical, but lithographic magic. (Anyone remember when litho prep required acres of orange carrier sheets and square moles of rubylith?) Would have been simple work to drag a brush loaded with india ink along a ruler's edge, turn the ruler 90° and repeat. Then the boys in the back would shoot a neg, composite it with the photo and presto! a star is born! Repeat as needed, er, desired.

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