GoodBoyBob: Lab Rats commercial

Production company Tool teamed up with US ad agency Erich & Kallman to create this bizarre and funny ad which demonstrates the power of GoodBoyBob coffee

Good-tasting coffee can be hard to come by, and it’s not always easy to trust a brand that says it delivers without trying it yourself. To combat this, GoodBoyBob coffee decided to go for a weird and wonderful approach in its ad – lab rats.

Created by production company Tool with ad agency Erich & Kallman, the spot sees a science laboratory switch to GoodBoyBob coffee. The researchers declare it “the best coffee they’ve ever tasted” and to confirm their findings they go to an unexpected control group: mutant lab rats, each of which has a different human facial feature on its back.

Once the coffee has been given to the rats via a pipette, the one with the mouth proclaims: “That’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.”

Offbeat and not for the squeamish, the ad’s concept came from an unlikely source after Eric Kallman rewatched the Jon Favreau-directed 2003 Christmas classic, Elf. Kallman took note of one memorable scene, where Buddy enters a random New York diner to congratulate them for the “world’s best coffee”, prompted by a sign in the window. After joking about how to actually prove such a thing, the lab rats script soon came together.

The spot was directed by Erich Joiner, not only the founder and owner of Tool but also the founder of GoodBoyBob, which began as a passion project. Joiner and the team felt they needed to opt for a more memorable approach in a sea of coffee brands.

“To keep the momentum going, [GoodBoyBob]’s first visual spots had to be original, entertaining and express what I’m being told by our customers – that it’s the best-tasting coffee they’ve ever had,” Joiner says. “Erich & Kallman knew precisely how to land the right balance of and funny, and I’m pleased to say they knocked it out of the park.”

To capture the movement and behaviour of the rats, the idea was to use real animals as much as possible. Of course getting live-action shots proved challenging as the rats often fled to various corners of the cage, but with a combination of treats and patience the team managed to get footage of them standing still.

To make sure the rats were ultimately all in the right place at the right time, and to add the animals’ unnervingly realistic human features, the agency brought in creative studio Parliament and VFX supervisor Brett Grisham to bring all the elements together.

Grant Hunter, global CCO at Iris and a judge for the Annual Awards, explains why the commercial was picked as a winner:

Category: Commercials
Agency: Erich & Kallman

Chief Creative Oicer/Founder/Writer: Eric Kallman
President/Founder: Steve Erich
ECD: Rikesh Lal
Executive Director of Production/EP: Kati Haberstock
Production Company: Tool
President: Dustin Callif
Managing Director: Nancy Hacohen
Director: Erich Joiner
Producer: Joby Ochsner
Head of Production: Amy DeLossa
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Production Designer: Justin Trask
Editing: Cut + Run
Editor: Pete Koob
Senior Producer: Kristen Jenkins
Finishing: Parliament
Colour: Royal Muster
Audio: M Squared Productions
Music: APM Music