From the department of WTF come two new ad campaigns, each starring stuffed toys whose outward cuteness is undercut with more than a hint of menace.
Let’s take AMV.BBDO’s new Bird’s Eye campaign first. Mum (yes, it is always mum) opens her fridge door to be confronted with, of course, a puppet polar bear who is, apparently, squatting there. Said bear – voiced by none other than Willem Dafoe – queries her choice of some cheap rubbish brand of fish fingers over good old Bird’s Eye. His voice laden with menace, the inference is clear – stick to Bird’s Eye in future if you know what’s good for you. You’ve seen what happens to seal cubs on Attenborough – that could be you, all over the kitchen floor. Think about it
It’s all a very far cry from Cap’n Birdseye whose first instinct when confronted with a polar bear, we suspect, would be to reach for his harpoon not to engage it in conversation about the relative freshness of frozen peas.
And then there’s Mother’s Travelodge campaign. In the launch ad we are introduced to Mr Sleep and the Zzz Squad, a Guy Ritchie-esque firm of diamond geezers with hearts of mixed fibre. Though outwardly menacing, their only concern is to get a right result by seeing you safely tucked up enjoying a peaceful night in a reasonably priced hotel room.
Why? Search me. Most ad trends have obvious origins – the influence of a new film, say, or a new technique. But where on Earth do these campaigns for Bird’s Eye and Travelodge spring from? Will either campaign work? I have no idea, but you do have to applaud the sheer random bonkers-ness of both as an antidote to cute kid glibness and Lenny Henry.
UPDATE: Thanks to Laura Snoad in the comments below for pointing out the possible debt to Adam & Joe (pinches self quite hard for overlooking it):
Writer: Tim Riley
Director: Tony Barry
Director: Daniel Kleinman