We all know that the sun is the center of the solar system, when he’s not in the break room or at the office window, motivating other planets and moons to shine on. For my money, there’s no more consistently charming campaign than “Fight the morning fade!” from TBWA\Chiat\Day for the Jimmy Dean breakfast brand.
It’s the slightly morose, deadpan humor that gets me, plus the idea that the sun is like a great CEO who has read every book there is on employee motivation. “We’re a system,” he explains, as Mars and Uranus, who are not necessarily morning people, go back to work, satisfied to orbit, having had a proper sausage-y starter.
And for anyone lacking motivation to go out and get into the daily grind yet again, there’s the gentle reminder the sun gives the glum fog, saying, “Don’t you have to blanket the Midwest today?”
It’s also clever, as the orbit of the planets matches the rotation of the food on the microwave turntable. We don’t see much of the food, but it sure seems wholesome.
Within the context of down-in-the-dumps office grumps, the high-energy, campy, cartoon-ish tone of this latest iteration, supporting a new line called Jimmy D’s, takes some getting used to.
First of all, the sun has left his comfortable corporate surroundings for a big public high school. And now he appears, complete with mask, as an amped-up superhero. (The tagline: “Help your kids fight off morning villains!”) The campaign is aimed at moms and will also resonate with kids who aren’t thrilled about the prospect of getting up and dragging themselves back to school.
The details are hilarious: “Crabby” opens on a science teacher wearing rainbow suspenders and sporting a graying pony tail, standing behind an awesome collection of fizzy beakers, telling his students to carefully pick up their safety goggles. One kid hates everything, protective eyewear included. But that’s because he might be blinded not only by science, but also by the man in the gray crab suit standing next to him, pounding his head.
Then the sun goes into action, shouting, “Evil Crabby! Turkey sausage to the rescue!” That’s the setup for a sausage on a stick (it looks like a corn dog) to go flying through the air. It’s all funny. But there’s no other way to say it — the Griddle Stick looks majestically phallic, and the combination of live crab and flying sausage kind of distracts from the inherent concept of “crabbiness.”
Whereas Slow-Motion Man, a stopwatch dude who looks like an old-time robber with his raccoon eyes, immediately scans as a villain. The crab spot actually has funnier details, but this one is easier to understand. Slow-Mo Man, who also speaks slowly, stops a kid from running fast in gym. Sunman comes to the rescue again — this time with French Toast Duos, a dish that looks pretty good. And the weird dog howl sunny makes in the end, once the runner is saved and Slow-Mo vanquished, is outstanding.
These are video picker uppers that will get attention. And I will really be able to appreciate them more as soon as I’ve had my breakfast.