Mentos Ad Says Your Fat Friend Is a Figure of Fun

Last Updated Sep 7, 2010 7:23 PM EDT

Mentos is surely about to apologize for an ad in which a skinny girl says to a fat girl, "I love hanging out with you. All the boys keep looking at me." The tagline is, "Selfishness without the guilt," and it's one of three ads in which the joke seems to be that if you want to be mean without feeling guilty, eat a Mentos. Or something. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Regardless, the ad is so needlessly insulting to the overweight, and so unlike what we know about the Mentos brand, that it looks like a mistake. Aside from a brief diversion in which it was discovered that a Mentos dropped into Diet Coke has explosive results, the Mentos brand has traditionally positioned itself around a "young, fun" faux naif theme. (Click here to remember just how naif those "freshmaker!" ads used to be.)

It's also horribly off-brand for Mentos' parent, Perfitti van Melle, which also makes Airheads and Smints. This is a company whose motto is -- and I'm not making this up -- "Caring for Excellence." Their web site intro is so shiny and happy it could pass unchanged as a "Saturday Night Live" pastiche of corporate image nonsense.

In fact, there are reasons to believe this is a mistake. First, the ad emerges from Neogama/BBH in Brazil, and yet is written in English not Portugese. Second, Brazilian ad agencies have a habit of running outre ads once in the media in order to cheat their way into advertising award shows. And third, the agency has not listed its client on its Ads of the World database credits. However, there are three different executions in this series and 18 BBH excutives have their names next to them, so it looks official.

Mentos' brand management needs to jump on this immediately. (The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) One of the odd new trends in advertising is people unaffiliated with a company making rogue ads just to get the attention of the creative community. An independent director recently made a speculative Quiznos ad without the company's permission, in which fat women were compared to meat.


Hat tip to Jezebel.