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Bring Out Your Dead: Crispin Resurrects Orville Redenbacher

How Not to Sell Popcorn 101

By Published on . 37

First I'd like to say that I'm not a typical Crispin hater (i.e., a jealous creative who wished I could have a shot to do work like that), but the agency
has crossed the line with its new spot for Orville Redenbacher. I'm going to try to keep my trap shut and leave the ad reviewing to Bob Garfield, but I have to vent a little. When Crispin first won the account, I joked privately that they'd dig Orville Redenbacher from the grave. Well, that seems to be exactly what the agency did, presenting an unsuspecting audience with an iPod-wearing, dead-eyed zombie.

The agency, the marketer and Digital Domain are crowing about the ground-breaking technology used here, but this technology is not ready for prime time. Firstly, the Orville zombie sounds nothing like the original. More important, it is visually jarring ... my emotions ranged from "this is amateurish-looking crap" to "holy jeebum crow, this scares the hell out of me" -- especially near the end, when the Orville zombie's shoulder start hitching and it looks as if he's about to hack up a hairball.

I'm not the only one. The Copyranter, writing at Gawker, weighs in with a typically scathing word or two (my favorite: the ad industry would "reanimate dead Darfur babies if they could get away with, and it sold product." Patrick's Place chimes in as well, saying the zombie looks "more like Dana Carvey made up to look like an old man." In an aside, columnist/author/blogger James Lileks describes it thusly: "high octane nightmare fuel. It's a desiccated undead zombie-mummy in a bowtie, and it will steal your soul."

I'll try to update this with more Zombie-Orville-related posts as they appear.

"Grandpa would go for it. He was a cutting-edge guy," grandson Gary told USA Today. "This is a way to honor his legacy."

That might be true. But it certainly doesn't make me want to eat popcorn.

UPDATE: Best quote of the day?? "FINALLY, Redenbacher with an iPod. Now I can relate to THIS. Watching the new putty faced Redenbacher handle a bowl, my once lifeless appetite for his air fluffed popcorn was immediately replenished. Nicely played Redenbacher, nicely played." From Joy Hog.

UPDATE 2: The New York Times gets in on the act.

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