Red Vines “Candy Kharma”

A grown-up commercial for red licorice? We live in a world of wonders! That’s what we find here, anyhow, in a spot for the American Licorice Co.’s Red Vines brand, via Dentsu America of Los Angeles. The basic idea is quite charming: While standing on apartment-building balcony with significant other, guy breaks off piece of licorice and tosses it over the side, at which point it takes root and grows like ivy, covering building in eye-pleasingly intricate red pattern. If a commercial can prompt adults en masse to buy red licorice, this spot will do the trick. Red licorice must be one of the least-natural food items you can buy, so there’s something counterintuitive in depicting it as something that grows. But this unexpectedness is part of the spot’s charm. The one iffy moment comes when the guy plucks a piece of the red-licorice vine off the side of the building and he and the woman proceed to eat it. Maybe they live in a much cleaner city than I do, but there was a bit of a “yuck” factor here, which is something ads for food and drink should generally avoid. Would you eat something that had been growing on the side of your apartment building? I don’t think so.–Mark Dolliver