Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Mr. Peanut's days on Earth are limited.

As you might have heard, and if you work in the industry, I'm sure you have, the agency stewarding the Mr. Peanuts brand plans to kill off their long running spokesperson.

Am I heartbroken? No.

Do I have a filbert in this fight? No.

Do I even care? Not in the least.

But I do have extensive experience in the matter of brands brining, broasting and butchering the very same golden goose that laid advertising's golden eggs.

Take Taco Bell for instance.

During the late 90's, my buddies from Chiat Day, Chuck Bennett and Clay Williams, gave birth to Ginger, the Taco Bell chihuahua whose catchphrase (Yo Quiero Taco Bell) went viral before going viral was even a thing.

For 5 years Ginger had us in tears, laughing at her latest escapades and scarfing down Chalupas and Gorditas like they were going to run out of ways to combine meat, beans and rice.

Then in 2001, perhaps in a post 9/11 malaise, the genii at Taco Bell decided they'd had enough of this little dog and the million dollar merchandising she spawned. They wanted Ginger dead. And guess who they put in charge of sending her over the advertising's Rainbow Bridge?

Here's her final low-res appearance on TV (credit goes to John Payne, Gary Pascoe and John Shirley):

As if that weren't enough, I also had a hand in the long, slow death of the Energizer Bunny.

Here was another storied advertising icon that wore out its welcome with the MBAs in the C-Suite. Instead of interrupting commercials, breaking the fourth wall and delivering advertising that stood out, the Energizer brand stewards turned their back on the magic that once was and forced us to do stupid shit with the Bunny that neither I, nor anyone else in America, can recall from the last 15 years.

Instead of chasing big entertaining ideas, client meetings often devolved into head scratching minutiae:

"Why is the bunny wearing sunglasses indoors?"

"We should have a jingle. Why don't we have a jingle?"

"I don't like the way he's twirling his drum sticks. Can we make the twirling faster?"

You know, the kind of discussions low tolerance cynics like me just love to sit through.

Why do brands recklessly abandon the ones that brought them to the party? I haven't a clue. But after 44 years on Earth I'm finally learning that in addition to Life not being fair, Life also makes little or no sense.

For instance, come this November 3rd, 62 million Americans, most of whom will depend on Social Security and Medicare to guide them through their sunset years, will zealously pull the lever for a supposed billionaire president who promises to take those benefits away.

I give up.


ursafilms said...

In all seriousness (Yes, I know it's a cliche), why do you obsess over tossing something into your well-written and entertaining articles regarding your least favorite politician? You're a talented guy. You must have about a zillion ways of signing off a posting more elegantly than firing up the Virtue Signal?

Just very curious, because I like your stuff much more than most I read anywhere, but the Trump asides are like having an expensive and well executed 12 course Prix Fixe, Three Michelin Star Restaurant meal . . . with a root canal for course number 10.

Rich Siegel said...

Sorry you don't care for the root canal, but it's my prerogative. I write this blog because it's therapeutic. It is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings of the times we live in. And right now we, Americans, are staring down at the abyss. And so I feel compelled to take every opportunity to warn people of what I see is a true danger to the Republic.

I appreciate the readership, but don't expect the references to the Shitgibbon who calls himself our president to stop. Because they won't until this country is rid of this cancer and finds itself on the road to recovery.