Wayback Wednesday: New York Mets Ad from 1986

by James Thompson

Every Wednesday AdForum features a notable ad from the past that in some way revolutionized advertising by profoundly impacting our industry, our culture, or the way our society interacts with commerce. 

Today AdForum's resident Mets fan and baseball guru, Jeff Finkle, breaks down the classic "Let's Go Mets" ad from 1986, the last year the New York Mets won the World Series:

With the World Series under way between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals, two teams that haven’t been to the World Series since 1985 and 1986, what better time than any to revisit the “totally awesome” and incredibly catchy 1986 Let’s Go Mets video. We dare you to watch this video just once, as it is not possible. As goofy as the video is, it’s just so loveably ‘80s and if you are a baseball fan (and especially a Mets fan) who grew up during the era of Prince, Ronald Reagan and the McDLT, this song and video is embedded back in the junior high pop culture portion of your brain along with Mikey eating Pop Rocks, Van Halen breaking up, and solving a Rubik's Cube by peeling off the stickers.

The 1986 Mets were the antithesis of the 2015 Mets in that as this Mets team is seen as a scrappy bunch of overachievers embodied by their captain David Wright and their flame-throwing young starting pitching staff, the 1986 Mets displayed the cocky attitude of a team who knew how good they were and the fans loved the energy and the fight they brought to each win. The 1986 Mets brand was as big as New York City and this video even has an assortment of NY celebrities singing along, like Mayor Ed Koch, Howard Stern and Hal Linden (TV’s Barney Miller), which gives it the feel of the 1984 video for the Ghostbusters song. This ad is so ‘80s, all that’s missing is Mr. T grunting that he pities the fool who doesn’t root for the Mets.

It opens with Mets stars Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and “The Kid” Gary Carter giving some baseball cards to a couple of boys trading cards outside of old Shea Stadium, which blends into a montage of highlights amid the chorus of “Let’s go. Mets go. Let’s go. Mets go.” There’s even an appearance by 1980’s SNL star Joe Piscopo and if the video was rebooted today, they would probably use comedian Jim Breuer who has documented his post-game recaps all year on Facebook. If there’s one thing the 2015 Mets have in common with the 1986 Mets, besides starting pitchers that deserve nicknames like Dr. K and The Dark Knight, it’s that they both “have the teamwork to make the dream work.” (We warned you this cheesy song will stick in your head for decades.)

The 1986 Mets became the subject of a book called “The Bad Guys Won” and seemed larger than life and they definitely played hard on the field while partying hard off it. They fit in so well with the excess of the Gordon Gecko/ Ferrari /over-the-top era of the ‘80s but even though they were brash and bold, like a Beastie Boys video of the time, their passion for winning stood out. The Yankees have a long history of winning championships and their teams of the 1990’s and 2000’s were a dynasty that became routine, but when the Mets make the playoffs it always seems special and fun, especially when the bad guys won. 

Previous Wayback Wednesday pieces:

Yogi Berrra orange juice ad from 1957

Oscar Mayer Wiener Ad from 1965

McDonald’s Breakfast ad from 1978

Mean Joe Greene Coca-Cola ad from 1979

New Coke ad from 1985

Apple Macintosh ad from 1984

Dumb Ways to Die ad from 2012