Miracle Whip's "We Will Not Tone It Down!" Ads Trigger Scorn From Viewers

Last Updated Aug 7, 2009 6:36 PM EDT

McGarryBowen's punk-rock campaign for Kraft's Miracle Whip begs the question: Who is laughing at whom here? (Video below.) The ad is either ridiculing itself, the client, or the audience. It can't possibly be trying to reposition Miracle Whip as the underground alternative to mayonnaise ... can it?

If it is, the commercial isn't working. The comment boards on YouTube are filling up with people who cannot believe their eyes.

The ads kick off with a single, low, electric guitar note, heavy on the distortion, a bit like "War Pigs"* "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. As a grungy beat kicks in, a snearing, disaffected voice says:

Don't go unnoticed.
Don't blend in.
Don't be ordinary, boring or bland
In other words, don't be so mayo.
We are our own one-of-a-kind unique flavor.
We are Miracle Whip and we will not tone it down!
Visuals show a Williamsburg, N.Y.-style crowd of hipsters partying on an urban roofscape, with an ironic kiddie pool. A man eating mayo is shown sitting by himself, overweight, looking sad. At the end, a woman wearing a black vest-jacket dances and poses with a jar of the stuff. (Note from this old Mercury ad, also targeting hipsters, that the vest-jacket is the ad industry's chosen garment to indicate that a woman is a rebel.)

A second spot, titled "Anthem," if Miracle Whip's Facebook page is to be believed, carries similar themes but with some recipe ideas thrown in. The YouTube masses are agog, and not in a good way. Here's a sample of their reviews:

1benA2: I just saw this on TV, and its probably the dumbest fucking commercial I have ever seen. Mayo is not a lifestyle
davco9200: Uh, it's a condiment not a lifestyle.?
BoneThugzNHarmony: tottaly rad commercial I'm going to go shoot myself now!
ragingkittai: Miracle Whip is in existence simply because somebody looked at mayo and said, "That shit is just too much. Let's tone it down."
I need to go kick a door down and scream or something.
Batman8657: This commercial is so edgy and totally in my face. I feel like killing myself now for my past mayo tendencies.
Rock on, Miracle Whip. Rock the fuck on.
To give you an idea of how wrenchingly far from its original brand positioning this campaign is, check out a 1983 commercial featuring a man staging a midnight snack raid on his own fridge only to find that he's out of "the bread spread from Kraft."

* What the hell was I thinking? And no one noticed the error until Aug 12!