Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Year's Worst, 1st Entry - Hillshire Farm

I firmly believe in arbitrary rankings, so I'd like to nominate this Hillshire Farm ad for the Worst Commercial of 2007.

This commercial is the advertising equivalent of Gwen Stefani's rock hop anthem "Hollaback Girl." Sometimes commercials try to show a consumer in their target audience being sold on their product. In this case, someone's already eating an Entrée Salad - so, no selling necessary. And yet, when she innocently begins using the product, people start annoying her with a cheer that would make a 5th grade pom squad blush. Some advertisers assume the consumer has a brain; others, including Hillshire Farm, think they speak in monosyllabic grunts:

That salad rocks, the best,
Make it easy at your desk

"Best" and "desk" do not rhyme. They barely near-rhyme. Can a copywriter please spend more than 5 seconds on a script occasionally?

It's second to none,
Just add lettuce and you're done

You know what I have lying around the office? Lettuce. Just bags of the stuff with my name on them in the fridge. If only there were a plastic package of cubed meat I could buy to mix it with....

You hungry, you hungry, yo mama says you hungry

There's nothing ol' Johnny Lunchbox thinks is funnier than white people saying "yo mama," right? This is classic material. Totally not dated, and totally inoffensive to general taste.

When I say Hillshire, you say Farm!
Hillshire! Farm! Go Meat!

When I say BRAND NAME, you say BRAND NAME!

It's catchy. Or something.

"Go Meat" is the central campaign for Hillshire Farm, and it's so bereft of any subtlety or art that it may very well have set back advertising several years. Why can't you portray your delicious meat products in an appealing way? Why can't you talk about your delicious meat products like an adult with a sense of taste and a high school-level vocabulary? Remember, you're (apparently) selling this to the 9-5 office worker - you're probably going to have to say more than just "Hillshire Farm -- MEAT! MEATY MEAT! BIG OL' MEAT! YO MAMA! LOL!"

But I do like to represent alternative opinions. For instance, what might the meat industry think of this campaign? Here's Hillshire Farm's VP Tim Roush:

There is no escaping the fact that Americans have an unabashed love of meat, and the poll results just reinforce that fact. We developed our 'GO MEAT!' campaign to celebrate and, in some instances, unleash the meat enthusiast in all of us.

Americans. Unabashed love of meat. Leashed meat enthusiasts. Fat, meat-gorging half-wits who love yo mama jokes and cheerleaders. The poll he's talking about? It said that 85% of Americans could not live without meat. Who conducted the poll? Who wrote that clearly misleading paid survey question? Hillshire Farm.

This is why this blog exists. Not only to point out when ads are bad, or when ads aren't doing their jobs, but also when ads operate under the pretense that we're all a huge lot of morons waiting for companies to drill false and sophomoric messages into our heads about shitty products. This is a campaign against bad ad campaigns. Let's send "GO MEAT!" and its like-minded marketing brethren back to the stone age where they belong.


Windier E. Megatons said...

I like their reference to "onlookers spontaneously chanting" as though this wasn't shot on a soundstage with actors. "Yeah, dude, we were making this commercial in a real office, and all the temps just started chanting! The unleashiness of enthusiastic meativores was rampant!"

Windier E. Megatons said...

Another lame thing about that Hillshire Farm campaign: isn't the whole "Meat = Good" thing usually more emblematic of big manly steaks and stuff, like slapping big slabs of beef on a sizzling grill? Not wimpy little pouches of ham cubes?

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Yeah, it's funny how excited the King of Queens lookalike gets about a meat cube pouch. He should go back to the Hungry Man ad he came from.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Nearly a 5-star rating, and as you read throught the comments, I challenge you to find a negative comment. Here are just a few examples of what "people" have written, "My softball team sang this for an hour once!""this commercial is so funny, the guy that pops out of the bottom of the desk is the funniest. i could not stop laughing. LOL" and "my bff quote this one all the time. we randomly shout 'go meat!' ... lol. i wish i had a video ipod! lol"

Do you believe this for even a second? Or is it FAR more likely that people at Hillshire Farm and Chiat/Day (agency responsible) signed up for YouTube accounts and left positive feedback? A lot of these users who've commented have viewed very few videos. I find this interesting, and if I'm wrong about the PR drive, then I'm horribly, horribly disappointed.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Also on YouTube are roughly half a dozen parodies and reenactments of this commercial (and others in the Hillshire Farm library). These videos are made exclusively by kids 12 or younger. Great job, Hillshire Farm, creating a commercial for ADULT LUNCH MEATS that children think are hilarious. I hope when kids play "office" they'll buy Entree Salads, unlike actual adult cubicle workers.

Windier E. Megatons said...

Yeah, it's hard to imagine any adult being motivated to eat meat - or really, do anything - by obnoxious cheerleading chants.

Anonymous said...

When I say Hillshire, you say Farm!

Chiat/Day rules.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Mmhmm. How about some data that shows that commercial, in and of itself, sold a ton of salad meat? And the data can't be compiled by Hillshire Farm, like that bogus survery was. If you have that kind of data, then Chiat/Day rules.