By: Daniel Sweeney On: November 29, 2012 In: Advertising & Marketing Comments: 0

Growing up an archetypal husky youth in the 90s, there were only a handful of items that could help me compensate for my lack of savoir-faire in kickball and capture the flag. In 1993, a pair of BK Ratch Techs was the lifesaver I needed as I floundered in the 2nd grade sea of popularity.

The gimmick was simple enough – the common laces had been supplanted by, um, ratch technology – and, as far as I was concerned, this commercial completely sold me on the perceived coolness of the shoes

What better way to appeal to children in suburbia that show them a couple of street savvy teenagers buckling their BK Ratch Tech’s in a bustling downtown? Not only are the teens looking cool in their backwards hats and Ratch Techs, they’re causin’ a ruckus!

“Shhh!” remarks the elderly woman, clearly not a fan of the youths’ chicanery. Save it grandma! I’m not rocking Keds here, I’ve got Ratch Techs on.


Years before I thought a few pounds of excess body weight could be masked by a rad pair of kicks,  British Knights (BK) footwear made the trek across the pond to the States in the late 80s. Thanks to deals with the likes of MC Hammer ($138M!) and sponsorships of hit children’s television programs like Legends of the Hidden Temple, the brand’s popularity in the US reached fever pitch in the early 90s.

Despite being featured in music videos (remember those?) for acts like Public Enemy and Technotronic, BK’s Ratch Tech sneakers eventually went the way of the windsuit – the familiar ratcheting sound growing fainter and fainter with every flashing bulb in an L.A. Lights shoe.

The ad, along with the shoe’s niche gimmick, provide an excellent snapshot of fashion branding and marketing in the early 90s.

(H/T Retro Junk)