Archive for the ‘food’ category

Pam Commercial’s Message Sticks

November 9th, 2013

Sometimes the best way to communicate a product’s benefits is to depict the disadvantages of not using the product.  The key is to do it in a way that doesn’t strike people as taking a cheap shot or being mean-spirited, and  this new TV commercial from Pam pulls this trick off very nicely.

The “residue” character’s cute, funny personality ensures that no one will be grossed out–no minor feat–and the script is clever.   (I particularly loved the reference to “poultrygeist.”)

Bottom line: a clever, simple piece of communication that gets its point across in an entertaining, memorable way.

Pretty slick, huh?

Latest Subway Ad a Real Turkey

January 21st, 2013

The only thing worse than not being clever is thinking you’re clever when you’re not.  Exhibit A:  this latest TV commercial for Subway, one of the least clever advertisers on the planet.

Do Subway’s executives, or their ad agency, actually think the phrase “Turkeytopia” is clever?  Worse yet, do they think their audience thinks it’s clever?

If we’re to believe this ad, Ndamukong Suh, one of the celebrity athletes featured in this spot, finds the phrase absolutely hysterical.  Then again, he thinks it’s fine to stomp on an and maim opposing players on the football field, so his judgment is suspect to say the least.

Speaking of questionable judgment, who thought it was a good idea to feature Suh–the NFL’s dirtiest player with numerous off-the-field mishaps as well –in this commercial?  Generally speaking, the rule of many hapless advertisers seems to be, “If you don’t have a creative idea, use a celebrity.”  As it is wont to do, Subway was so lacking in creativity that it decided to use three celebrities in this spot.  Thus, not only is the commercial totally lacking in cleverness, it’s also unnecessarily expensive.

I’ve always liked Subway as a provider of reasonably healthy and tasty fast food, but I’ve never understood why they can’t get it together from an advertising standpoint.

And if Subway doesn’t like the opinions I’m expressing, they can Suh me.

McDonald’s French Fries Commercial Is a Keeper

November 29th, 2011

When I was first starting out in the wonderful world of marketing, McDonald’s was one of the most creative and effective advertisers in the world.  For years their ads simultaneously tantalized your taste buds and tugged at your heartstrings, and they played a huge role in clearly elevating the brand far above all fast food competitors.  Sadly, it’s been at least 10 or 15 years since McDonald’s so consistently worked its marketing magic.

Recently, however, I’ve been seeing some signs that the old magic might be returning.  Perhaps the most encouraging example is their current  french fries commercial. This warmly-shot spot is charming in its simplicity, and the surprise ending makes me smile no matter how many times I see it.

This could have featured a customer saying “I love McDonald’s fries” or an announcer citing statistics documenting how McDonald’s fries are preferred over the competition’s at a statistically significant level of confidence.  Obviously, however, such flat-footed approaches couldn’t come close to the impact of having three kids running and riding full-speed off a dock in pursuit of a McDonald’s  french fry on the end of a fishing hook.

To me, this spot both reminds me of how delicious McDonald’s fries are and makes me like McDonald’s just a little bit more.  It’s highly entertaining yet almost believable. In short, it’s the ultimate fish story.

Cheez-It Advertising Shows Great Maturity

October 24th, 2010

As you might have deduced, I detest ads that are confusing, boring and afraid to tell you the name of the brand being advertised.  I also detest food advertising that doesn’t attempt to make your mouth water.  Refreshingly, this TV campaign from Cheez-It commits none of these sins; the ads are simple, entertaining and appetizing, and the Cheez-It brand is all over the place.  I especially like the fact that, unlike the typical light beer commercial, the humor isn’t gratuitous; it revolves around the product’s primary benefit–its big cheese taste.

As an extra bonus, this campaign doesn’t waste money on distracting big-budget special effects.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they produced five or six commercials in a single shoot.

There aren’t many in the team picture of campaigns that are able to find a simple, entertaining way to communicate both why the product is special and what the brand is.  But when they snap the photo, I hope the photographer tells everyone, “Say Cheez-It!”

It Doesn’t Get Better Than…Oscar Mayer’s New Ad Campaign

January 19th, 2010

Few food brands have a more impressive marketing legacy than Oscar Mayer. Their iconic “Weinermobile” was one of the first and most memorable marketing vehicles ever (literally). The company has been quite innovative over the years in the area of new product development. And the brand was supported by decades of Baby Boomer-pleasing advertising, including the classic “Oh, I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Weiner” campaign in the 1960s and the charming bologna commercial in 1973. Since then, however, the brand’s advertising hasn’t seemed nearly as memorable or provocative, perhaps in part because the brand was swallowed up by marketing monolith Kraft Foods decades ago.

Now, however, Oscar Mayer has just launched a very appealing television campaign that just might be the best thing the company has done in thirty-some years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the ad online, but I did find a link to its infectious song, called “It Doesn’t Get Better Than This” . The tune is also the theme song for Oscar Mayer’s Good Mood Mission Campaign, which admirably is donating huge quantities of food to non-profit Feeding America.

As regular readers know, one of my pet peeves is advertising agencies that are somehow ashamed to showcase the products that are paying their salaries. This campaign, however, shows numerous vignettes of people–mostly children–eating and having fun with a variety of Oscar Mayer products. This, coupled with the wise inclusion of the ever-popular Weinermobile, makes is impossible to miss the fact that Oscar Mayer is the brand making your eyes twinkle and your mouth water.

It’s also refreshing that the ad doesn’t plagiarize past Oscar Mayer ads. It is its own creation, and a very entertaining one at that. In fact, it was very much in its element when it debuted on “The Golden Globes,” and it will be an even better fit when–I can only assume–it airs on “The Oscars” next month.

Domino’s: “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us”

January 3rd, 2010

In past posts I’ve railed against advertisers who take potshots at their competitors, but this will be the first time I’ve criticized an advertiser for taking a potshot at itself.

I’m still shaking my head after seeing a Domino’s commercial in which Domino’s employees admit that their customers have complained that their crust “tasted like cardboard” and their sauce “was like ketchup”. At first I assumed this was a Pizza Hut or Papa John’s commercial–which would have been bad enough–but when I realized it was a Domino’s commercial, you could have knocked me over with a lukewarm Cheesy Bread. To make matters worse, the cavalier way the employees make their admissions conveys a sense of, “Can you believe the kind of crap we’ve been serving you all these years? What were we thinking?”

When the commercial goes on to claim that Domino’s has seen the error of its ways, I found myself thinking, “Uh, you’ve been knowingly lying to me all these years about how wonderful your pizza is, and now you want me to believe you when you say you’ve greatly improved your quality?”

To be fair, the ad does go on to put its money where its mouth is by offering a special low price and a money-back guarantee. But I’d be a lot more anxious to give their new pizza a try if the first part of the commercial showed real people credibly raving about the product, or used some clever, creative communications that made we think, “Wow, that must be one great-tasting pizza!”

This Domino’s commercial reinforces two major rules about marketing:
1. Don’t ever admit that your product stinks.
2. Don’t ever market a product that stinks.

The good news is that if you obey the second rule, you’ll never have to worry about the first one.

Surprised? Yeah.

January 10th, 2009

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I just saw an excellent commercial from a company I blasted in a recent posting:  Burger King.  The ad was for a new, apparently very hot-and-spicy sandwich called the “Angry Whopper”, and it’s superb.  First of all, I love the product’s name.  The word “angry” is unexpected, edgy, full of personality, and–to use my favorite word–provocative.  The visual shots of the product look very appetizing, and the end of the spot–featuring a customer who has just taken a bite of his Angry Whopper filling his mouth under the ice machine–is not just funny but strategic.  I love the fact that the last thing you see is a powerful reinforcement of the product’s #1 benefit.

The strategic superiority of this commercial to Burger King’s commercial showing hamburger “virgins” preferring the Whopper over McDonald’s Big Mac cannot be overstated.  The latter takes a cheap shot at a competitor that has cleaned Burger King’s clock in the marketplace for decades; the former sings the praises of a truly unique new product without calling attention to or insulting the competition.
I suspect that this Angry Whopper commercial will make Burger King management and stockholders very happy.