An intimidating matriarch who lords over the party buffet is the star of the first-ever TV campaign for Mumbo Sauce, the beloved barbecue condiment created in Chicago in the 1950s by entrepreneur and restaurateur Argia B. Collins.
A pair of no-frills spots from South Carolina's Brown and Browner Advertising center on a typical family gathering and its familiar spread of pot-luck dishes. Someone, however, has decided to improvise on the lineup of fare, upsetting the mealtime equilibrium preferred by the group’s grand dame.
In one ad, she assesses the dishes and discovers an anomaly. “Baked beans weren’t on the list,” she declares, striking a chord of fear among the partygoers. “Who made the baked beans?” she asks before dipping her spoon in for a taste test.
A man bravely cops to the deed. Fortunately, the matriarch approves of the dish, giving the culprit the official role of baked bean maker for all parties going forward.
In a second spot, a woman who improvised on the mac and cheese (Big Mama’s recipe, handed down over generations), unfortunately doesn’t enjoy the same fate.
Derek Walker, founder of Brown and Browner, explains that the client, which already has a strong presence among the Black community in Chicago, wanted to strengthen its visibility in the Black community nationwide.
The client had only a limited budget for the campaign, but despite the no-frills production, the subtle performances bring to life the uncomfortable comedy of the scenarios. Walker says that many of the talents were found among the local theater community in South Carolina, where the spots were shot. Thaddeus W. Jones Jr. directed the spots via Fanatik Productions.
The campaign will be running online as well as on broadcast during the “Windy City Jazz Music w/Walter Cannon,” a one-hour television jazz show. It’s targeting nearly 30 major cities, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Washington D.C., Houston and Atlanta. The aim is to drive online sales and encourage more grocery chains to carry the brand.