Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And for dessert, a triple bypass

This ad from Pizza Hut is probably a year old. But since they're still airing it, I thought I should post about it. About 5 or so years ago, Pizza Hut first launched the P'zone, a kind of amateurish, overly processed calzone stuffed with nasty pizza toppings. Windier and I were still in college at the time, and we kept seeing these Tommy Davidson commercials talking about the "P'zone revolution." Mildly intrigued, but mostly bored, we set out one night to track down a P'zone for ourselves (only Papa Johns delivered in town). When we finally got around to tasting the P'zone, I quickly decided that it would be the last new Pizza Hut product I'd ever try.

P'zone? We meet again:

Boys: Yo Mooch.

This guy is a such a pain that his nickname is "mooch"? You guys gotta get some new friends.

Mooch: What you boys got there?

Guy: It's a P'zone.

Mooch: It's huge.... so, uh...

Boys: No!

Even the description on the YouTube video said this was the "lamest commercial ever made." While I appreciate the enthusiasm, I've certainly seen some lamer comedy in commercials. But yes, this blows. This is just a sad, tired attempt at humor. Anyway, let's cut to the meat of this commercial....

Announcer: It's back, the Pizza Hut P'zone is yours alone. Over one pound -


- of melted cheese and tasty toppings baked in a pizza crust. A big eat for the tiny price of $5.99.

Over one pound! That's sick! Who needs a pound of food? They might as well package this with a flask of Everclear and a money-saving coupon for a carton of cigarettes.

How many of these could one person eat, you may find yourself asking. Luckily, Pizza Hut's figured that out for you. The answer is four and a half. And that record is set by the best competitive eater in the world. A guy who once ate 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. That ought to tell you something about these P'zones -- 1 P'zone=14.5 hot dogs. Of course, that doesn't stop Pizza Hut from inviting you to try to competitively eat your own P'zones, as it says on its website, "Think you can do better? Then order a P'zone or two right now and hold your own challenge!" What a fun home game for the kids!

And that brings up the question about how healthy it might be to stuff your face with one (or two!) big, meaty P'zone(s) (you know this can't be good):

1 Meaty P'zone -- Calories: 1380. Fat: 58g (90% of daily value.) Sodium: 3460 mg (142% of daily value.)

"Okay, so after I polish off my P'zone I can still have 10% of my daily fat intake left. Perfect. Just enough for a lowfat yogurt and some pita. But, I'll have to wait until mid-day tomorrow before I eat any salt. All in all, a small price to pay for enjoying what looks like a deflated football filled with sebaceous fluid."

Guy: Hey, Mooch, you want one?

Mooch: Yeah!

Guy: Order up! (tosses phone.)

Maybe the YouTube video description was right. This has brought lame comedy to a new.... whatever the superlative of lame comedy is. Doesn't leave me wanting more. Or any to begin with.


Dana said...

Well today I saw a rather "rotund" woman at Starbucks order an extra carmel frap w/ whipped cream drizzled in carmel. So, although you would think people would not host "challenges" to eat the most crap, I don't think the healthy, watching your weight memo has been completely circulated yet.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

I think the memo's been circulated, I just think most people choose to ignore it. I think Pizza Hut's going after a specific audience with this ad - what Burger King apparently calls the "Superfans" - college aged and mid-20-something males who just want a lot of cheap, greasy food, and fast.

It'll be interesting to see how long this kind of no-holds-barred, fatty fast food marketing lasts -- there are some interesting laws being passed in New York right now mandating more transparency with nutritional information and how you can advertise various food items. We may see some companies that have resisted the lo-cal/lo-fat push (Pizza Hut, Burger King, Taco Bell, to name just a few) start to jump on the healthy food bandwagon. Or we may not!

Windier E. Megatons said...

The Starbucks Frappuccino is one of those items that's killing the country because it's so fucking sneaky. People think "oh, I'm just having some coffee," and normal coffee doesn't have a lot of calories. But a venti caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream has 500 calories and 16 grams of fat, 10 saturated (?!?!?). You might as well be eating a banana split for breakfast. (Don't forget the 68 grams of sugar, also, which is more than a 20-ounce bottle of Coke.)

Okay, so maybe it's not sneaky per se - people ought to know better, they just don't (or they just don't care). But the very existence of such options at a mass scale is hugely problematic long term. If Starbucks were an ice cream place it'd be one thing, but coffee is presented as a daily fix, and the presence of stimulants makes it likely that anyone going daily is probably going more than once daily.

skeleton69 said...

Pizza Hut's always reinventing the pizza into some new fatty hybrid monstrosity. Check out this video about the Pizzadox:


definitely inedible. Oh and that guy who plays the CEO is on Last Comic Standing. Jeff Dye. Good luck to him.

skeleton69 said...

also, sorry for two comments. But I really like how advertisers portray the college party lifestyle as revolving around pizza parties and I guess generally bargain hunting.

It sort of reminds me of how Ninja Turtles tricked us all into thinking that a 'party dude' was a guy who just ate a lot of pizza, rather than a guy who blows his money on coke and strippers.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Yeah, I don't think eating pizza all the time in college is really perceived as "cool." If you eat enough P'zones, you're going to be like 300 pounds, and that definitely isn't cool.

But not all commercials shy away from showing the more risque side of "cool." On the other side of it, you have companies like Pepsico who think being a cool college kid is all about drunk hook ups and nursing a hangover with an AMP energy drink. I think my overall complaint to advertisers is: there isn't one particular aspect of the young American lifestyle that makes people "cool," and there isn't one product that defines it. It's way more complex than that, and trying to appeal to young people by showing pizza gorging or promiscuous sex just ends up looking short-sided and dumb.

Sorry for the long, boring response.