In the mid 1990s screen savers were a popular digital item to buy. Here’s an ad for The Simpsons Screen Saver that included animations, music and Simpsons character voices. Back then, leaving your screen idle could be damaging to the monitors of the time. As the ad says, “When you leave your computer on but unattended, screen phosphor can be destroyed, permanently damaging the color balance of your monitor”.
The screen would continue to display a faint image of what was shown when the computer was left idle, often referred to as a ‘ghost image’ or ‘burn-in’. Screen savers existed to save the day… or, better yet, save the monitor by continually changing images on the screen to prevent burn-in.
Modern screens don’t require screen savers anymore (new tech can solve old problems, but can also create new ones!), but the trend of selling products by riding digital trends continues today. People sell services to create YouTube intros & outros, Gucci is selling digital sneakers to be worn in virtual or augmented platforms, and users can sell digital collectibles on Instagram.
The Simpsons Screen Saver ad appeared in Simpsons Comics, Issue #6, 1994.