Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There's always room for creepiness

I've talked before about how much I hate it when advertisers of products that are really geared toward children try desperately to pitch them to adults instead. Well, it probably shouldn't surprise anyone to see this, since Jell-O is a Kraft brand.

First of all, dude, you're an adult. Buy a big tub of whatever brand of chocolate pudding strikes your fancy and eat out of it to your heart's content. By no means are you confined to eating from tiny little two-ounce or whatever pudding cups.

Second of all, "pudding face" is goddamn horrifying and I can't believe Jell-O built an entire campaign around it in the hopes that this would move product. I first came into contact with this campaign via their series of horrible billboards which, I assure you, are like 500 times creepier than this ad is.

These things are fucking terrifying. This is apparently supposed to represent happiness? Unrestrained joy? Guess what, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (yeah, I know, who would have believed they'd be behind another terrible ad campaign) - that's not what I think of! The guy on the right looks like a serial killer. The kids on the left look like evil ventriloquist dummies from some creepy B-movie.

But hey, we're here to talk about this TV ad. So I guess we might as well.

Daughter: "Didn't we have some Jell-O pudding?"

I know this is just something commercials do, and I can't expect them not to, but: no one says the complete brand name of a product out loud like this. Ever.

Daughter: "Dad? Did you eat my Jell-O pudding?"

Did you buy it with your own money? When did this go from "hey, we had some of this product in the house, right?" to "IT IS MINE WHO TOUCHED IT?"

Dad [unconvincingly]: "No."
[Daughter walks over and pulls the paper away from his face.]
Daughter: "Pudding face!"

Dad: "No... I'm just... happy."
Mom: "Only pudding gives you pudding face."

Fuck you, Kraft, you editorializing pieces of shit. Your shitty products are not this good. Also, this guy? Does not look happy. He looks absolutely miserable, but with a grotesque forced smile wrought across his face. Jell-O pudding is apparently now a Batman villain.

Dad: "I'm sorry."
Son: "You don't look sorry."
Dad: "You're right, I'm not."

"Maybe because I paid for that fucking pudding. You hear me, grade schoolers? If I want your pudding I'm going to eat it and you're not gonna say shit." Honestly, what is Crispin Porter's obsession with trying to turn adults into the Trix rabbit? If, for some reason, adults want to eat the mediocre pudding you've been pitching to children since time immemorial, and if you're trying to sell it to them for that purpose, why is the pitch here seemingly intended to shame the adult for eating a kids' snack? Do you want me to buy it or not, assholes?

Announcer: "Get your pudding face on with oh-so-cool and irresistible Jell-O pudding."

Uh, Jell-O? You don't really get to take credit for the pudding being "cool." That's the refrigerator's job.

Obviously I don't expect Jell-O to under-pitch their product. But when you go way, way overboard, that's just annoying. Of course, that isn't nearly as big of a problem as is the fact that there is nothing even remotely appealing about "pudding face." It sounds awful. The way this spot treats it as a scarlet letter is bizarrely counterintuitive. And, most damningly, it looks awful. This is, seemingly, a condition to which I should aspire! I should want that horrible, contorted grin that looks more like the result of weeks of Clockwork Orange-style torture than the result of eating something delicious to be plastered across my face. I mean, what, was Crispin Porter so upset that Burger King phased out the King that they decided they were going to get something even creepier on the air? If so, I'm scared to think what kind of ads we're going to see when "pudding face" inevitably runs its course.

1 comment:

ConstruX NunchuX said...

when i first saw the (print) ads, the thought that went through my head was, quite seriously, "I really hope the Ad Wizards post about this." As always, you say it succinctly and make every point I would have, except for the black hole sun reference... so, thanks!