3 min read

Three Norwegian Ads from The Eighties

Some have aged better than others.

During the eighties, Donald Duck & Co. was by far Norway’s most popular comic book. It peaked in 1986 when, every Tuesday, 250,000 people would pick up the latest issue for a reasonable ¢65. The magazine, which debuted in 1948, is still around, albeit with a tepid 20,565 circulation.

What stuck out while scanning through my collection of eighties comics was the advertisements. Some weird, some questionable, all relics of a bygone era. And all very Norwegian.

Here are some of the more illustrative examples.


Rolv Wesenlund pulling off the label from a soda bottle

In 1980, Solo—an orange soda that has been around since 1934—came up with what must have seemed like a good idea: “Olos.” The concept was to put a joke on the backside of the label. Pull it off, read, and laugh.

It failed on all three counts.

First, seeing the manufacturer never changed the adhesive, it was impossible to remove the label. This left you to drink the soda and read the joke through the backside of the bottle, but as the print was so poor, you could barely make out the words. And the few times you could construe the jokes… Well, they weren’t exactly knee-slappers.

The model in the ad is Rolv Wesenlund, a Norwegian actor mostly known for his comedic roles. Early in his career, he also twice won the Norwegian Championship in jazz—the fact that there was a national jazz contest might be a topic best left alone.

Milk Shake

Lady shaking a carton of milk shake.
I’m fairly certain Tine was trying to reinvent itself as a “with it” dairy in 1984.

The milkshake made its way to the Norwegian market in 1984, courtesy of Tine, then known as Norske Meierier—”Norwegian Dairy.” ”Shake yourself a Milk Shake1 in 20 seconds,” read the blurb under what admittedly was a clever image.

The actual milkshake wasn’t particularly great and tasted more like milk roughly mixed with strawberry syrup. Shaking it didn’t do much to meld the flavors. Tine also had the advantage of being dairy monopoly, which meant there weren’t many alternatives. (I believe McDonald’s became the first real milkshake competitor.)

Hubba Bubba

Hubba Bubba comic strip

“Huge bubbles that don’t stick!”

So many questions about this series of ads: Setting aside the cowboy vs. indians trope, I don’t understand why one flavor of bubble gum is the hero and the other is the villain. Granted, the pink strawberry was objectively tastier than the blue licorice—at least to the six-year-old me—but they’re both Hubba Bubba. Did they not want to sell every variety?

And why was the licorice indians/wrappers blue? The gum was a gray-ish brown.

With all said, I recently tried Hubba Bubba for the first time in decades, and you can, indeed, blow huge bubbles that don’t stick. The flavor is what it is: Chemical-y and full of eighties nostalgia.

Web Sources

Solo (brus). (2023, July 10). In Wikipedia. no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solo_(brus)

Donald Duck & Co. (2023, March 17). In Wikipedia. no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Duck_%26_Co

Rolv Wesenlund. (2023, October 13). In Wikipedia. no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolv_Wesenlund

  1. I’m not sure why they split “milk” and “shake” into two words.