Hot Air, Helium, Huffing and Toys R Us

Once again, parents gripe to the media about a commercial instead of sitting down with their children and explaining things to them. Ad showing helium inhaling is criticized.

Watch the spot if you are a super adgrunt - the giraffe is not "sucking the helium". In the spot, he is in the basket of a hot air balloon, and when he raises his head to speak into a PA system, he is warned about the helium in the balloon, but it's too late - he starts talking in a helium voice. (Once again, it's a hot air balloon, but they stretch the logic a bit so that they can do the helium gag.)

Flawed as the concept for the commercial is, it is pretty obvious that Toys R Us is not promoting human helium intake, or breathing in any other form of gas, as some concerned and zealous parenting groups have insisted in their complaints to the media. If anything, it's playing with the fact that there are obstacles to being a talking anthropomorphic giraffe (with a really long neck) that lives in a world built for homo sapiens.

The primary dangers with breathing helium arise when helium is huffed out of a pressurized tank, not a balloon, but Toys R Us has responded to the complaints and the commercial is no longer running.

Related link: Huffing - DOC IN THE BOX

about the author

Comments (7)

  • adlib's picture

    "The ad sends a dangerous message to children." their own ignorance does.

    Nov 03, 2003
  • tlevitz's picture

    oh fer chrissakes... ohhh....

    First of all, who hasn't "accidentally" sucked a little helium at some point or another? Who...? Ok, I'll sit back down now.

    Gee, do you think these concerned-parent groups spend half as much time talking to their own children as they do the media? Anyway, breaking out my well-worn rant, if we're going to take the heat off our own pisspoor parenting skills by picking petty, petty battles ("wow, Mrs. Smith is so self-righteous, she must be a great mom"), lets not confine ourselves to commercials. There's decades and decades worth of film, television, theatre, books and other literature that promote helium sucking, keg parties, fast-driving, truancy and general all-around disrespect toward authority figures. Have at it parents, you've got a lot of work to do.

    Nov 04, 2003
  • claymore's picture

    I first learned of the helium balloon voice thing back in the late 70s from our youth leader at a church social. We called it "raising our voices to heaven."

    Nov 04, 2003
  • caffeinegoddess's picture

    They should me more concerned about huffing the least it would be more realistic. How a hot air balloon works would be useful information for those freaking out about this commercial. :)

    Nov 04, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture

    Those who think hot air balloons have anything to do with Helium have been IQ-shortchanged.
    They must have really stupid kids. ;)

    Nov 04, 2003
  • blabla's picture

    This is, without a doubt the dumbest ad complaint I have heard to date.
    That it wasn't laughed straight out of the newsroom is quite frightening.

    Nov 04, 2003
  • blabla's picture

    ha! Now I get it, no wonder they are complaining!

    Nov 04, 2003