Super Bowl

Super Bowl Deja Vu: King's Hawaiian vs. Bud Light

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When some people saw King's Hawaiian's newest commercial there was a feeling of, well, if not exactly deja vu, something quite like it.

King's Hawaiian plans to air a relatively new spot, "False Cabinet," in its Super Bowl debut. The concept might seem familiar, not just because the commercial began airing in select markets in January, but because of another Super Bowl commercial, Bud Light's "Secret Fridge" spot from 2006.

The King's Hawaiian ad (below) from Levit Agency depicts a guy showing his friend how he stores the brand's rolls in a secret compartment that is then opened from the other side of the wall by two kids.

The Bud Light spot (below) from DDB Chicago features a guy showing his friend how he hides Bud Light in a secret fridge, which then spins into the wall and is discovered by guys on the other side. The "Secret Fridge" commercial was the most popular spot in Super Bowl XL, according to USA Today's Ad Meter.

After the secret stash concepts, both commercials go on to highlight the products being sold, then finish with brief humorous moments on the receiving side of the wall.

Erick Dickens, VP of marketing at King's Hawaiian, said he was familiar with the older Bud Light spot.

"I don't see them being similar at all," Mr. Dickens said. "They're completely different consumer targets, completely different dynamics in the spot."

Mr. Dickens said the King's Hawaiian commercial builds on its campaign that debuted in 2015, in which a mother hid rolls and a baby kept finding them in hard-to-reach places. "In developing the new ad, we took insights from what our consumers were saying and turned them directly into this commercial spot," Mr. Dickens said. "We were hearing that rolls were disappearing in people's homes because consumers love the taste so much."

Levit Agency, the shop behind the King's Hawaiian commercial, provided the following statement on Friday: "We really respect the creative for Bud Light campaigns and are thrilled to be in the same room with such award-winning humor. Luckily in our spot, the little boys didn't find beer waiting for them on the other side, though."

One reason Mr. Dickens knows about the Bud Light spot is because he knows Dan Fietsam, who was the creative director on "Secret Fridge." They even appeared together on "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010, when Mr. Dickens was a brand manager on Right Guard and Mr. Fietsam worked on the deodorant brand as chief creative officer at Energy BBDO. The two worked together again when Mr. Dickens began working at King's Hawaiian, and Mr. Fietsam worked on the roll company's first commercial.

Mr. Fietsam, now chief creative officer at Laughlin Constable, declined to comment on the two spots. So did Mark Gross, who was group creative director on the Bud Light spot and is now creative director at Highdive Advertising, which he co-founded last year. Attempts to reach two others who worked on the Bud Light spot, its art director Steve Bougdanos and copywriter Patrick Knoll, were unsuccessful.

What do you think? Too similar? Different enough? Let's hear from you in the comments.

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