Why Wish-Bone's Models Don't Work on the Web

Animated Series Mimics HBO Show That's Gone out of Fashion

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NEW YORK -- Wish-Bone salad dressing's second annual summer salad fashion show last month in Manhattan was a fun update on a classic ad campaign.

Spritzy and Spraychel: the products they represent may be new, but the branded content is out of date.

The brightly colored show featured models putting a modern spin on the Carmen Miranda-esque Chiquita Banana of yore, decked out in hats, tops, skirts and belts made entirely of fruits and vegetables. Of-the-moment designers Heatherette designed an ambrosia-salad wedding dress composed of organic ingredients. Hosted by "Project Runway" guru Tim Gunn, the event came off as an inventive, fresh spin on an old concept for a brand to completely own.

So why does it come off as horribly outdated in the digital space?

'Sprays in the City'
Earlier this week, media blog Gawker posted an item on Wish-Bone's "Sprays in the City" animated webisodes, starring characters "Spraychel," the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray bottle, and "Spritzy," the Wish-Bone salad-dressing spritzer. Although laced with mildly clever puns (a model competition was called "Refrigerator's Next Top Bottle"; Spraychel's retort to an ear of corn voiced by Fabio: "Go shuck yourself"), the webisodes ultimately come off as painfully awkward "Sex & the City" spoofs a good three years after the HBO comedy went off the air and another seven since such a parody still would have been considered clever.

As the Gawker blogger deadpanned, "['Sex' author] Candace Bushnell has so much to answer for."

Certainly well-intentioned
It's certainly well-intentioned, and there's a great prize in store for one lucky winner (a $10,000 shopping spree in New York), but the website comes off as an embarrassing brand extension rather than an incentive to buy sprayable condiments. And somehow Tim Gunn's involvement here as a character named "Tim Well-Done" doesn't up the project's hip factor.

Wish-Bone certainly isn't the first brand to take a misguided venture into branded web content (cough -- Bud.TV -- cough), but the project is a lesson in how a trend can negatively impact a brand when it reaches a critical mass. As Spraychel might say, "Say it, don't spray it, marketers."
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