Pyrex spells out its story, but where's that dictionary?

By Published on .

Marketer: Pyrex
Agency: Pedone & Partners, New York
Ad review rating: Three stars

"Plastic storage," the headline on the Pyrex Storage Deluxe ad reads, "can leave leftovers tasting like a cooking experiment run amuck."

The photo above it shows a lime Jell-O mold, seven chicken legs suspended within, garnished by slices of Bermuda onion and a jalapeno.


We'll get to the substance of the ad momentarily, but just let's first channel the ghosts of Sid Bernstein, Leo Burnett and Miss Cooper, our fifth-grade teacher.


Ain't there nobody around here who knows the language no more?

The word is "amok," and we hope that by 10 o'clock Monday morning the responsible parties--i.e., everyone who touched or saw the copy before it left the agency--are appropriately flogged for the fok up.

It's just so aggravating that nobody even bothers to look in the damn dictionary these days. Laziness, that's what it is. Incompetence. Weakness of character.

Is there any better evidence of the moral and spiritual decline of America? That's what's behind this, you know. We've lost our way. Smug and self-satisfied, that's what we are. My God, THE COMMIES WON AFTER ALL!

Oh, sorry. We may have gotten slightly off the point. Now then: What a nice campaign.

In print and on TV, Pedone & Partners, New York, does something quite courageous, quite surprising and--in the current environment of gratuitous misdirection--quite rare: It states the obvious.

Imagine, here is a brand extension offering a specific attribute relative to the rest of the category, and the advertising actually mentions it. Focuses on it. Dramatizes it. C'est incroyable.

We have become so accustomed to the cult of boundary-stretching that the simple iteration of product benefits is almost a shocking experience in itself. The above-mentioned ad shows how Jell-O can take on the flavor of leftover drumsticks. Another shows a dessert named after the residual odors of last night's fish dinner: red snapper s'mores. A third shows a festive birthday cake scampi.

These culinary treats are, of course, revolting. And the point is that, unlike the relatively porous polymers in, say, Tupperware, Pyrex glass storage absorbs zero molecules from what it contained yesterday. No discoloration, no residual odors.

"So today's leftovers don't taste like yesterday's. Freeze it. Bake it. Pop vent and microwave it. Lids even snap to the bottom so they don't get lost. Can your plastic storage do that? BETTER STORAGE = BETTER FOOD."

The one TV spot is virtually identical to the print. Shot against a white background, it displays all the print ads' scrumptious confections, to similar effect. The only thing it fails to do is show how niftily the plastic top snaps to the Pyrex base, and how, exactly, you pop the lid vent before placing the thing in the microwave for reheating.

That is an omission the client may come to regret, when the first home-kitchen explosion renders the problem of residual odors a minor consideration. Still in all, it's so nice to see someone trotting out a legitimate, meaningful, unique selling proposition that some manageable number of exploding leftovers may be acceptable.

This business of unwanted residue, after all, really rings true. For instance, our recognition of amuck/amok lingers from a searing experience 25 years ago, when we made the same mistake in a college assignment and found ourselves dressed down in front of our entire writing class. We can still taste the humiliation.

Of course, if we'd simply looked in the dictionary then, as we did a moment ago, we'd have been able to show our professor the word is correctly spelled both ways. What do you know? Maybe the civilization isn't collapsing after all. Maybe it's just our imagination running amuck.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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