Spoiler: Cheech & Chong smoke the Ragu sauce
In my inbox today, two different bloggers slammed two big food brands for recent “edgy” social media campaigns. First, C. C.Chapman Ragu Hates Dads. Then, Dale Buss on Brandchannel What Was General Mills Smoking to OK Cheech and Chong Magic Brownie Campaign? On both, I beg to differ. But for different reasons.
The bad: Ragu’s lame attempt.
Now here’s C.C. Chapman’s take on it:
As the person in my household who does all of the shopping and all of the cooking I took offense to this video. Implying that dads can only cook the simple things and Ragu is somehow going to help make that easier. Give me a break!
Meh. Now, as the guy in our house who also does all of the above, I get his complaint. But I didn’t take offense so much as just shake my head. What should have been a light, fun, and playful poke at the kind of guy who doesn’t help in the kitchen – and yes, they’re out there, and they totally deserve lampooning – instead comes across as an unfocused, whiney, un-entertaining, bitch fest.
The problem is not that it’s edgy, highly mom-specific, or even offensive. The big problem is that it’s BAD. Badly produced, awkwardly executed, and absolutely unlikely to get anybody to buy the freaking Spaghetti Sauce, much less laugh or pass this to their friends!
The good: General Mills hilarious Cheech & Chong trailer
Here’s Dale Buss’s bitchy screed:
Oh, to have been a fly on that wall at that pitch meeting. What were General Mills marketers (and agency, Publicis) thinking when this viral promotion moved from sideline conference-room chatter to the thing in the middle of the table, and then to production, and then to actual placement on the brand’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and a campaign microsite earlier this month?
I don’t know what they were thinking either, but it worked. For guys over 40 like me who grew up being shocked by Cheech and Chong’s in-your-face counter-culture humour (and secretly loving it) I think this campaign nails the tone, humour, and most importantly, the product pitch in this one. So while many will find it equally “offensive” to the Ragu campaign, this one will actually find an audience who will pass this on.
I think Chapman was wrong because he picked on the wrong issue in the Ragu campaign. I think Buss is just wrong.
How about you? Does the Magic Brownie thing go too far? Does Ragu actually hit the mark? Am I full of flaming spaghetti sauce?
Please: Beg to Differ. I do.