A newspaper life – pop culture ads from the defunct French Metronews

Metronews. Astérix. 24 Oct. 2013.

A TVTA special

One of the first jobs I did when I moved to France was working as a newspaper and advertising distributor. The newspaper in question was Metronews, which was launched 18 February 2002 as Metro then renamed Metronews in 2013 until it ceased print publication and moved online in 2015.

Metronews was hand-distributed on weekday mornings to commuters and students, and deposited in self-service racks in and outside of public buildings and city transport networks. The title was part of Metro International – a Swedish global media company since 1995 based in Luxembourg that publishes the range of Metro newspapers around the world. 

Metronews was a freesheet newspaper, and it gained the bulk of its revenues from advertising, which ultimately led to its 2015 demise due to the growing trend of advertisers and readers migrating to online services. As a consequence of the print title ending, I, and the rest of my distribution team, lost our jobs and were offered free government re-training packages.

I remember my last morning as a distributor; Friday, July the third, 2015, the day the print title ended, handing out that final ever edition with mixed emotions: it would be a relief not to have to work in the noise and bustle of one of France’s big cities full of traffic fumes and freezing wind in the winter, and to not have to wear the green T-shirt and baseball cap uniform!… but I was sure going to miss some of my daily acquaintances, the early morning chats and improving my French language skills. Plus, as a writer, there was always plenty of inspiration to be found by observing human nature and the dynamics of people when spending significant time in a big city.

TVTA never misses an opportunity to archive!

Being as my blog has always been about pop culture advertising, it was only natural during my time with Metronews I saved some of the issues – including that last ever edition I mentioned… funny to think that each of the covers you are about to see I personally handed out at one time, thinking to myself: hmm, I must remember to save one of these to post up on my blog one day…

Metronews. Grand Theft Auto V. 17 Sep. 2013.

Metronews Star Wars Rebels. 2014.

Metronews. Star Wars Rebels. 30 Sept 2014.

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Office Cat Tales: the back of the sofa and behind the fridge

Collage. Cat brooch from a late 1970s UK toy vending machine.

“O woe, bleak January, bringer of lean times to our editing house. Your wintry rap upon the door of our office does chill our fingers, paws and bones to the bit. The Vintage Toy Advertiser archives… ah, too grim a place to visit upon days such as these… with its hibernating vampires dangling from rafters, and frozen monsters awakening to thaw their claws and teeth in corners where sit our old photocopier and broken down time machines covered in dust. Hark! No post! No post! Our deliveries for new ads and catalogues held up by raging battles above rooftops, between dragons and banshees and mercenary raptor-bots. Grim times for office cats and editors, indeed!” 

“What an exciting story,” said Wooof. “Please tell more!”

“Crivens, cat!” I retorted. “This is no tale, this is but a reality! We have no ads nor catalogues to scan… I fear our vintage readers will go hungry this winter. As shall we!”

“Tooting scarpers!” said the cat. “There’s no need to paint such a stark picture. Do you want me to search down the back of the sofa and behind the fridge and such places? There are always a few stray ads to be found.”

“Good thinking,” said I. “I’ll go warm up the scanner.”

“Meow!”

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Saturday night at the movies


It’s time once again for some movie treats!

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of cinema and home media print ads and posters covering the years 1982 to 2019.

Enjoy your movie 🙂


2001: A Space Odyssey. Japanese chirashi poster.

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Latest ads – simple toys, simple times

Les Poupées de Lisette. France. 1960.

Congost toys. Spain. 1977.

Primo washing powder toys. France. 1960.

Things were simpler back then. A more innocent time?

TVTA takes a quick peek at some 1940s – 1980s print adverts from Spain, Denmark, France, the US, and the UK, featuring simple toys and ideas.

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Saturday night at the movies – Skywalker is Coming!

Star Wars. The Rise of Skywalker. 2019 chirashi. Japan. Front.

Star Wars. The Rise of Skywalker. 2019 chirashi. Japan. Back.

TVTA is very pleased to acquire its first Japanese chirashi movie poster for the upcoming Star Wars film The Rise of Skywalker which is due for its cinema release in December this year!

In addition to this simple yet elegant Star Wars chirashi, I picked up a sweet 4-sided poster for 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with chirashis for 2019 releases Spider-Man: Far From Home, Joker, and Toy Story 4.

Enjoy 🙂

Star Wars. The Force Awakens 4-sided chirashi movie poster. 2015. Japan. Side 1.

Star Wars. The Force Awakens 4-sided chirashi movie poster. 2015. Japan. Sides 2 and 3.

Star Wars. The Force Awakens 4-sided chirashi movie poster. 2015. Japan. Side 4.

Spider-Man: Far From Home chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Front.

Spider-Man: Far From Home chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Back.

Joker. Chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Front.

Joker. Chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Back.

Toy Story 4. Chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Front.

Toy Story 4. Chirashi movie poster. 2019. Japan. Back.


Enjoy your movie 🙂

Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc and other curiosities

Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc. US. 1982. I remember some jumping toys that were sold in the 80s and 90s – they were spring-loaded and you had to moisten a rubber suction cap then press it down onto its base. A few seconds later, the force of the spring would release the cap and the toy would jump. There were multiple variations of these toys featuring novelty animals and things, and I’m wondering if the Willy Wonka Magic Jumping Disc employed a similar method… or was it really Wonka magic at work?


Cube Lube

Cube Lube. US. 1982. Cleverly marketed on the back of the Rubik’s Cube craze yet not once mentioning the word ‘Rubik’ – possibly for fear of legal action. Cube Lube was deployed into being as a lubricant to increase your time at solving puzzles like… Rubik’s cube. The ad states the product’s greatness for other toys with moving parts, as well as the benefits for bikes and cycles. 


Triple-Flips by Takara

Takara Triple-Flips. US. 1982. Japanese toy company Takara had a number of successful toy hits it was proud to put its name to such as the Japanese license to sell Kenner Star Wars toys for the first Star Wars film; Microman (Transformers); Micronauts; Battle Beasts and Beyblade. Therefore I was surprised to see today’s Takara advert in all its low-tech and simple gadgetry – Triple-Flips – a humble travelling 3-in-1 pocket board game with magnetic playing pieces.


Hostess Cup Cakes – The Flash

Hostess Cup Cakes. The Flash. US. 1982. I’m always pleased to discover a Hostess advert I haven’t added to my collection yet, and this is my first ad for The Flash! Cup Cakes, Twinkies, and Fruit Pies products were advertised by Hostess in the pages of DC and Marvel comics in single page strips that starred famous superheroes allied with Hostess cakes to take down evil villains. There are hundreds of these quirky, bizarre and sometimes plain weird adverts to be found inside comics throughout the 1970s and 1980s. To date I have 44 in my collection, thanks to The Flash! 


The Jorvik Viking Centre, York

Jorvik Viking Centre Eagle comic competition. 1985. UK. Early print advert featuring the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, England. The advert is a prize-winning promotion in conjunction with Eagle comic in 1985. The Jorvik Viking Centre was opened in 1984 as a museum and visitor attraction on the excavated site of what was once the Viking city of Jorvik in the 10th century. The centre is still open to date and is one of the regions most popular visitor attractions.


Peter Pan Playthings Stunt Man Hang Glider

Stunt Man Hang Glider by Peter Pan Playthings. UK. 1983. Another promotion for the readers of Eagle comic with the chance to win a Stunt Man Hang Glider toy.


Worzel Gummidge – Scatterbrook Farm’s resident scarecrow since 1936 

Worzel Gummidge. Look-In N°15. 1979. UK. Worzel Gummidge was a massive TV show hit for children back in the 1980s. The title character was played by ex-Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee. Worzel Gummidge was first featured in children’s books in the 1930s and was written by author Barabara Euphan Todd. In 2018 it was announced that the BBC is planning to make a new TV series based on the Barbara Euphan Todd books, with Pirates of the Caribbean actor Mackenzie Crook playing the Scatterbrook Farm scarecrow. 


Capsela Construction Action Vehicles

Capsela construction. US. 1982. Snap-together interchangeable parts for building motorised land and water action vehicles. 


Four Monogram models adverts


Magnum 440 by Tyco

Tyco Magnum 440. US. 1982. Slot-car racing for use on Tyco and AFX racing tracks.  


Bubble Yum Sweepstakes

Bubble Yum Sweepstakes. US. 1982. Some superb prizes on offer in this Bubble Yum bubble gum sweepstakes promotion.


Thanks for looking 🙂

Latest ads – SSP, Solar Ball, Skittle Baseball, Sea-Monkeys and more!

Kenner SSP Racers. 1971. US.

Glow in the Dark Solar Ball. 1985. US.

Aurora Skittle Ball. Weird War Tales N°1. 1971.

Seamonkeys. 1977. US.

Space 1999 model kit by Centuri. 1976. US.

Doctor Who Records and Tapes. 1980. UK.

Sphere sci-fi books. 1989. UK.

Sizzlers Fat Track. 1971. US.

Aurora Powerslicks. 1971. US.

Fleer football cards. 1991. US.


Thanks for looking 🙂

Saturday night at the movies… in Japanese Chirashi!

Star Wars Caravan Of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. 1984. Japanese Chirashi.

Time for some more movie treats!  

Presenting: a selection of Japanese Chirashi film posters direct from the collection of TVTA!

Japanese Chirashi are printed mini-posters or flyers created to promote film releases in Japan. The size of a typical Chirashi is “B5” (approx 7 x 10 inch /18cm x 26cm). Most Chirashis are double-sided with an image from the film printed in colour on the front. Additional artwork and information printed in Japanese appears on the reverse. Chirashi posters are great fun to collect, and TVTA is pleased to add this latest batch to its growing collection

Enjoy your movie 🙂

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 2018 re-release. Japanese Chirashi.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 2018 re-release. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.

The Untouchables. 1987. Japanese Chirashi.

Dark Star: HR Giger’s World. 2014 Belinda Sallin documentary. Japanese Chirashi.

Dark Star: HR Giger’s World. 2014 Belinda Sallin documentary. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.

Captain Marvel. 2018. Japanese Chirashi.

Wonder Woman Japanese Chirashi poster. 2017. Front.

Wonder Woman. 2017. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.

The Monkey King. 2018. Japanese Chirashi.

The Monkey King. 2018. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.

DC Super Heroes vs. Eagle Talon. 2017. Japanese Chirashi.

DC Super Heroes vs. Eagle Talon. 2017. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 2016. Japanese Chirashi.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 2016. Japanese Chirashi. Reverse.


The end. Roll credits. Thanks for watching 🙂

Look out for another Saturday Night At The Movies with TVTA coming soon!

Saturday night at the movies

Champs-Elysées Film Festival. Premiere N°497, 2019, France.

It’s time once again for movie treats old and new!

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of cinema print adverts, magazine covers, features, and a DVD extra!

Enjoy your movie 🙂

Toy Story 4. 2019.

Toy Story 4. Cover, Premiere N°497, 2019.

1941. US. 1980.

Alien. The Best of Starlog. 1980. US.

The Innocents. 1961. British Film Institute DVD packaging, 2010.


Annie. Pif Gadget N°796. 1982. France.

Annecy Festival of Animated Film. Premiere N°497, 2019, France.


Thanks for watching 🙂

The Innocents. Images copyright belong to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., and the British Film Institute, DVD packaging and booklet, 2010.