While watching the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, one of the most surprisingly hilarious and racy commercials aired that featured a little boy walking in on his parents, as we as the viewers are to assume are bumping uglies. When they coined the term, “sex sells,” I’m not exactly sure pasta sauce was ever considered.
Ragú, one of the many brands under Unilever Food’s supervision, took a big leap of faith to debut this commercial, especially during such a monumental event like the Olympics. The “Long Day of Childhood” campaign composed by the BFG 9000 agency (Barton F. Graf 9000) – although his name creates BFG, I’m sure he thought he was clever referencing the video game Doom – sparked major controversy, but I consider it one of the best commercials ever.
The campaign is not solely focused on selling pasta sauce with sex, that is just one instance, but rather the message Ragú is trying to send is that they are the ultimate comfort food. In my opinion it works perfectly by breaking through the clutter of everyday food ads while issuing a well conveyed message integrated with the tagline, “A long day of childhood calls for America’s favorite pasta sauce.” Take a look at “Parent’s Bedroom”:
Now some children may not quite understand what exactly is going on here, but this commercial isn’t for them. These ads are more directed toward parents and recognizing situations they can relate to with that their children may undergo, at least that’s what Mike Dwyer, Univeler’s United States foods director, believes:
“We are trying to use humor as a way to create emotional attachment. We want to have more fun with the family dynamic and draw on the trials and tribulations of childhood. Kids undergo a lot of things in a day. Some are funny and others are not. But one of the ways that parents can comfort their children is at mealtime.”
The rest of the ads in the “Long Day of Childhood” campaign deal with many typical scenarios faced by children: a lost hamster, sleepovers, competition, and many other; each with their own clever tune that sets up the inner thoughts of the mind of the child involved. Take a look at the little girl and her hamster:
You’ve got to hand it to Unilver and BFG 9000 for taking this direction for Ragú. But it goes without saying, the advertising world has been so diluted that you need to create something that will have folks doing a double take – I know I did. Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, a New York brand research firm believes this as well:
“It’s very hard for companies now to offer rationales to differentiate their products. Consumers have gotten real smart about ignoring beauty shots of products, and the brand is better off with a large side of emotion in its ads. You need to create attention and then engagement with something that resonates.”
I can understand how some parents may find the one ad offensive, but nothing is ever shown, it’s not quite inferred that the parents are humping like rabbits. For all we know they could be ritualistically sacrificing chickens. Some people just need to settle down and take the commercial for what it is, a fun play on what kids go through in everyday life.
And if you don’t find these commercials funny, at least you can laugh with the father from the “Parent’s Bedroom” ad giving a big smirk after his pre-dinner coitus and lighthearted appreciation of the situation.
Source: New York Times Online