Ad of the Day: Dead Mice Act Out Plays in Strangest Pest-Control Ads Ever

Barton F. Graf's darkly comic 'Dead Mouse Theatre'

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You may cringe a bit, too.

Barton F. Graf 9000's first campaign for Tomcat mouse-killing bait takes an off-off-off-Broadway approach with the introduction of "Dead Mouse Theatre." Essentially, it's a pair of hands manipulating a couple of fake mice with X's for eyes. Add some funny character voices and some atonal singing, and you've got some pretty amusing ads.

Rather than emphasize the kill, the mini-plays find entertainment value in the dead critters themselves, answering a teaser question from a perky male announcer at the beginning of each ad: "What will we do with all these dead mice?"

At their best, these ads feel like a cross between two old Saturday Night Live staples: The Mr. Bill Show and Leonard Pinth-Garnell's Bad Conceptual Theater. At their worst? Well, fringe theater still beats typical rodent-killer advertising. Oh, there's also this Tumblr page.

The tagline, enhanced in the ads by a cat screech, is, "Tomcat. Engineered to kill."

CREDITS

Client: Tomcat (The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.)
Agency: Barton F. Graf 9000, New York
Chief Creative Officer/Founder: Gerry Graf
Executive Creative Directors/Partners: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal
Art Directors: Jerome Marucci, Ross Fletcher
Copywriters: Steve McElligott, Nick Kaplan, Mark Bielik
Head of Integrated Production: Josh Morse
Producer: Cameron Farrell
Senior Strategist: Deepa Sen
Creative Strategist: Brandon Solis
Account Director: Jennifer Richardi
Account Supervisor: Kimmy Cunningham
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Executive Producer: Joe Biggins
Producer: Patrick Bailey
DOP: Ray Coates
Costume Designer: Rosa Dias
Production Designer: Simon Davis
Set Designers: Nigel Howlett, Nick Abbott
Puppeteer: Andy Heath
Editorial: Work Editorial Inc.
Editor: Mark Edinoff
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Senior Producer: Sari Resnick
Assistant Editor: Adam Witten
Finishing: The Mill
VFX Producer: Rachel Trillo
Telecine: Fergus McCall, Mikey Rossiter
2D Leads: Chris Sonia, Keith Sullivan
2D Assists: Emily Bloom, Molly Intersimone, Anne Trotman, Antoine Douadi, Dae Yoon Kang, Liz Berndt
3D Animation: Aran Quinn
Audio: Heard City
Audio Engineers: Philip Loeb, Evan Mangiamele
Music: Butter
Composer: Andrew Sherman