Over two decades, this is the second-most-asked question about AdReview (just slightly behind "Who the f- are you to say what's good?"). So perhaps, as we approach the 20th anniversary of this column, the time has come to answer the question:
AdReview is interested first in what is most newsy, such as a $200 million effort from the new agency after an account change. Secondly we consider what is most remarkable, good or bad. Thirdly we often look for examples-even relatively obscure ones-to provide a window into creative, strategic or ethical issues that concern us.
But there's also a fourthly.
The fourth category is send-ups of country-music videos sung by men dressed up as giant fruits in order to sell underwear.
We are embarrassed to admit that over the years we've fallen down on that last one. Of all the thousands of ads we've reviewed, no more than three or four involved outsize fruit costumes, and-incredibly-not a single one of those was in the Nashville video genre.
We are therefore delighted to at long last fulfill our destiny by addressing a new spot from the Richards Group, Dallas, for Fruit of the Loom.
As we have said a billion times, AdReview is not given to hyperbole. But we are prepared to say this is one of the finest examples ever filmed of guys dressed up like fruit singing a fake country song, and certainly in the 99th percentile in the men's underwear category. It's a ballad, from The Fruit Guys, titled "You Can't Over Love."
It opens with a picture of a country lane, poignant and unspoiled, all bluegrass and chickens scratching on dirt. Then a languid dissolve to a clothes line and wash swaying, in slow motion, in the breeze. Then another dissolve to a little boy, in white skivvies, peering out the window as his father rushes through a downpour into the house. It's already the quintessential expression of the idiom. The piano and guitar plink and pluck in a slow tempo till the male vocal kicks in:
Daddy wears his T-shirt in the cold Kentucky rain
While a boy in pure white briefs looks out the foggy windowpane.
And even though his hamster died he finds comfort, this I swear
`Cause youuuuu can't over-love your underwearrrrrrr....
`Cause comfort ain't just found in teddy bears.
And there's no labels hanging anywherrrrre
No you can't ever over-love, over-love your underwearrrrrrr.
The lead singer, serious and soulful, is wearing a huge Macintosh-apple suit and a hat, made of a plug of core around the stem. The backup singers are wearing grape suits (green and Concord). The drummer is a cluster of grape leaves. No, they aren't wearing underwear, but you can't help misting up as they perform because, sweet Jesus, they are underwear.
Or, anyway, that's the joke. Utterly deadpan, utterly dead-on faithfulness to the country-video vernacular. And it's wonderful. `Cause, when Grape bunches sing ballads about dead hamsters and tagless T-shirts, you can't over love your underwear commercial.
Granted, no creative ground is being broken here. Music-video parodies are a dime a dozen, and so is the dressing-as-inanimate-objects gag. But this one is special, partly because it dares to spoof the sensibilities of the target audience, partly because it manages to specify an actual brand benefit and partly because all of the above combine to make a supermarket brand cool.
Now, maybe you're saying, "Who the f- are you to say what's good?" But we can finally answer that, too: We're AdReview. Who the f- are you?
Review 3.5 stars
Ad: Fruit of the Loom
Agency: Richards Group