Avocados From Mexico riffs on dog shows in its fifth Super Bowl commercial, but the ones doing the tricks are the people, not the canines.
The produce marketer's "Top Dog" spot suggests what might happen if dogs put humans through the show circuit—as they follow commands to stay, shake and so on—all to win avocado-filled dishes.
The 30-second in-game version of the ad ends with a woman getting a penalty cone for rushing to the guacamole.
"I never thought it was going to be so easy," Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, Energy BBDO, says of getting the actors who perform in the commercial to embrace their canine characteristics. "They would roll over, they would do every single trick."
The ad pulls together three common Super Bowl commercial concepts: humor, dogs and celebrity.
Kristin Chenoweth plays the celebrity commentator in the ad's 53rd Annual Human Canine Show.
A 60-second online version reveals which human wins the coveted prize: a guacamole-filled trophy. The extended cut also adds jokes such as the people prancing around the show ring and a man succeeding in the bonus challenge of rolling over his 401k.
Avocados From Mexico has featured celebrities in each of its Super Bowl spots, but Chenoweth is its first female star.
"We wanted to come up with someone that is not only our first female face but someone that really, really works for the concept, because we wanted this to have the same humor, the same lighthearted idea that we've had," says Alvaro Luque, president, Avocados From Mexico.
The campaign is the brand's first Super Bowl work from Energy BBDO, which won the Avocados From Mexico account in 2018.
"They have a particular kind of light-hearted, inclusive approach to humor that I think it works for the brand and it works for the Super Bowl," says Jeff Adkins, managing director, Energy BBDO. "We were just trying to dial in on it as best we could."
As in prior years, Avocados From Mexico worked with Havas Media on media, Richards Lerma on digital creative and social media and Ketchum on public relations.
Avocados From Mexico is promoting dog adoptions as part of its Super Bowl moment. It's a bit of a stretch for the brand, which tends to focus more on efforts such as online recipe ideas. In a somewhat unique partnership with Adopt A Pet using IBM Watson AI technology, people can be matched with dogs up for adoption in their area based on answers to questions about "their avocado and lifestyle preferences."
It is also doing plenty on social media, where it was the top brand mentioned during last year's game, according to Salesforce. And it has the Onion running fictional news about tech existing that allows humans and canines to communicate.
The brand released two teasers in the week before it revealed its in-game ad, which is set to run in the second quarter. One teaser shows Chenoweth trying to teach a trio of dogs the "Avocados From Mexico" jingle.
While Avocados From Mexico began running Super Bowl ads in 2015, the jingle ("Avocados From Mexico" sung in a bit of an ear-worm-worthy tune), is a decade old. Curt Lyon, creative director at Lyon Studios, recalls coming up with the jingle for a local ad from IMW that aired in 2009. He hasn't worked on the brand's Super Bowl spots but gets a kick out of hearing his work each year.
"I'm fascinated by how they're continuing to use this thing," says Lyon.
Chenoweth shared some thoughts about the process of creating a Super Bowl spot from the sidelines of the commercial shoot: