Starburst spokescontradictions argue with undead on city buses

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Aug 16 2010

Why does every candy commercial these days have to be an exercise in absurdity? Is it just too boring to say "Mmm, this tastes good"? The latest confectionery ad to get the Samuel Beckett/Luis Buñuel/Monty Python treatment is this one from Starburst, which plays off the fact that the candy is juicy yet solid to riff about other seeming paradoxes. The Scotch-Korean father and son (whose contradictory nature is up for debate) reappear in this latest TBWA\Chiat\Day ad to converse with the living dead. (Now there's a real contradiction.) The living dead guy is, of course, mordant and deadpan but also quite rude. "You're boring me to death, and I'm already dead," he says. "You're boring me back to death." The living dead, in short, is kind of a dick. All the more reason to eat your vegetables and avoid candy like Starburst.

Starburst's 'contradiction' ads not all that sweet

Posted on Fri Jul 10 2009

The latest Starburst commercial rooted in the 'contradiction' of candy's solid, yet juicy consistency, is wacky to say the least. The commercial features a Scottish-Korean man outfitted in a bag pipe and kilt (to drive home the stereotype) screaming at a boy, who embodies the same racial paradox. The crazed leprechaun man points at the young boy eating Starburst and cries, "One contradiction eating another" in a thick Scottish accent. I must have been absent the day multicultural individuals became known as 'contradictions.' If a Scottish-Korean individual is an incongruity, what is a Persian-Russian? An Asian-Jew? An African-American? The term 'contradiction' has a negative connotation, why couldn't the brand think up a more socially accepting theme, one of, say, uniqueness? At the end of the commercial, the maniac points out (literally) yet another farfetched contradiction-an albino lifeguard. Huh? Is this supposed to encourage consumers to buy the product? Though difference is good, and Starburst yummy, this commercial puts a bad taste in my mouth.

—Allison Shafir



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