Kids love veggies, or at least don't loathe them, in Boyardee ads

By Elaine Wong on Tue Aug 17 2010


Since when do kids love vegetables this much? OK, they probably don't really hug giant stalks of wheat or big bunches of broccoli. But they don't have to hate vegetables when there's Chef Boyardee. As these new DDB ads for ConAgra Foods point out, Chef Boyardee products contain "a full serving of vegetables." Parents, funnily enough, generally know better than to walk around telling their kids that. Building on the brand's "Obviously delicious. Secretly nutritious" campaign from last year, new TV ads show parents going to extremes to hide the fact that the meals are veggie-packed. In the spot below, one mom is even given a timeout by other moms—for almost telling her son. Now that's what we call one serious offense.

DDB and Bud Light reimagine 'Swear Jar' with a lot more nudity

Posted on Mon Jan 25 2010

Bud Light is going back to the well to get a little pre-Super Bowl buzz going. In particular, the brand and agency DDB are reimagining their famous "Swear Jar" ad from 2007 as a clothing drive. In the old ad, employees put money into a jar every time they said something profane. When told it would subsidize the purchase of Bud Light, they all began swearing like Dick Cheney, though the actual words were bleeped out. Here, each article of clothing donated nets a bottle of Bud Light. Soon, we see people in an office environment walking around in skivvies (and generally flabby bods) and then nothing at all. It looks like they got a lot of the same actors this time around, but for some reason, it's not quite as hilarious, maybe because it's just a twist on an old (though great) idea and the surprise of the original is gone. Still, I bet it shows up on a lot of Facebook pages this week.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Sure, Pine-Sol cleans, but it can also satisfy your wildest desires

Posted on Wed Nov 4 2009

There's a bunch of books out in a series called Porn for Women that show attractive men doing things like vacuuming and saying things like, "Oh look, the NFL playoffs are today. I bet we'll have no trouble parking at the crafts fair." If you find that hilarious, you're likely to go for these new ads for Pine-Sol from DDB's San Francisco office. The one here begins Hitchcock style, showing a woman driving a car along the Pacific highway and pulling into a mansion to find a buff shirtless dude mopping the floor (with Pine-Sol, of course). The fantasy aspect is compounded by the fact that the Pine-Sol lady, comedian Diane Amos, is quite zaftig, so when she plops down on the bed of roses and Pine-Sol bottles, it's a bit different than when, say, Mena Suvari did the same thing (sans Pine-Sol) in American Beauty. In another spot, Pine-Sol is presented as a sort of aphrodisiac. "That's the power of Pine-Sol, baby," says Amos. If that's the case, I'll steer clear of it.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Manwich provides strength, nutrition for grade-school outcasts

Posted on Mon Oct 26 2009

It's so embarrassing when you're a kid taking part in a school play about Farmer John's Vegetable Patch, and you show up as a Manwich. Or no, it's not, because each quarter-cup of Manwich equals a half-cup of vegetables, so you're fine! Except the kids are still baffled by your costume, as are your parents, who won't even let you take it off at dinnertime. Which of course consists of Manwiches, making you a cannibal of sorts. This campaign, by DDB San Francisco, is part of ConAgra's strategy to move Manwich from a "hearty" to "nutritional" message. (Research showed the brand's "A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal" positioning wasn't resonating all that strongly with consumers.) So yes, you can satisfy that full serving of vegetables in lots of different ways, so long as you don't mind being an outcast until at least high school.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Volkswagen comes up with piano stairs and other fun diversions

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Sure, we all know walking up the stairs is better for you than taking the escalator, but how can you get people to do it? By making it fun. That's the idea behind this campaign from Volkswagen and DDB Stockholm, themed "The Fun Theory Dot Com." VW makes its point by having a crew come in late at night and turn the stairs next to an escalator at a train station into a giant piano. Suddenly, stairs seem fun. Then the crew puts an electronic device into a garbage can, so when you throw in some trash, it sounds like it's falling down a giant chasm before the final splat. Yes, this doesn't have much to do with cars, but linking the VW brand to "fun" is a great idea. The catch is that this campaign is happening in Europe. I'm not sure if these guys could drop a device into a garbage can in, say, New York, without getting a one-way ticket to Guantanamo.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

'Getting it in the can' is the best thing Bud Light's done in a while

Posted on Wed Sep 9 2009

Apparently, Bud Light can't do anything right. After years of strong ads, the No. 1 beer brand served up the awful "Drinkability" campaign. Recognizing the error in its ways, it scrapped that work after a year and is now kicking off football season with its "Tailgate approved" effort. Right off the bat, Anheuser-Busch came under fire for creating "fan cans" that are decked out in the colors of local colleges. University heads around the country decried them for encouraging binge drinking. Then the TV ads, which spoof infomerical king Billy Mays, hit the air. Not only is mocking cheesy DRTV ads a tired idea, but Mays recently died of a heart attack. Now, I realize Mays isn't Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett, but aren't these ads kind of tasteless, all things considered? Still, one advertising trade magazine thinks the new Bud Light Lime viral effort (from DDB Chicago) that talks about "getting it in the can" is even more tasteless. I couldn't disagree more. The problem with Bud Light and beer advertising in general is that brands are afraid to have fun. Sure, thinly veiled anal-sex jokes appeal to "the lowest common denominator," but who cares? We're talking about beer. A-B and its agencies need to have a couple and loosen up even more, because its recent run of ads have been a buzzkill.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Commercial viewers enjoy more Beatles songs than ever before

Posted on Mon Aug 3 2009

Most Beatles fans would probably agree that Michael Jackson was relatively cautious about lending the band's songs out for commercials. At least you could say that Jackson, who bought the Beatles catalog in 1984 for a mere $47.5 million and who owned 50 percent of that catalog when he died (Sony owned the rest), showed more restraint than A&M Records did with the Beach Boys ouevre. (Who can forget how "Good Vibrations" was once used to sell Sunkist soda?) Which brings us to this DDB London ad for Budweiser, which features a reworked version of the Beatles' "All Together Now." The ad, presented from the vantage point of a London Chicago train, matches the simple lyrics "1, 2, 3, 4 can I have a little more ..." with items in the landscape (the "4" is on a sign on the side of a building, for example). I never would have put the Beatles and Bud together, but the ad works well enough. In 1987, when Nike used the Beatles' "Revolution" in an ad, there was a tremendous uproar, from Paul McCartney and others. But now, using songs from the Fab Four in commercials is apparently no big deal. Hell, some of these songs are going on 50 years old anyway.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Without PAM cooking spray, your life would be a total nightmare

Posted on Thu Mar 5 2009

A pair of new commercials from DDB for ConAgra's PAM (the acronym stands for "Product of Arthur Meyerhoff") show what happens when you forget to use the cooking spray. Baked cupcakes get stuck to the pan, salmon filets go flying out the window. It's a total disaster. (The in-laws would not be impressed, now would they?) Fortunately, both scenarios turn out to be bad daydreams for the women involved. "Relax," says the voiceover. "PAM helps you pull it off." A modern-day mother's little helper.

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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