Stick a Fork in It

Potato humor gets us every time. Even when it’s overdone.

A recent ad from Ogilvy & Mather’s Toronto office for Imperial Margarine had all the right ingredients: clever animation, Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” as its soundtrack and a heartbroken spud who leaps from atop a microwave onto a fork when his tub of Imperial turns up empty.

Trouble is, a few hundred Canadians thought it trivialized suicide, leading Imperial parent Unilever Canada to pull the ad and “pause and reflect” about whether to air it again, says Mike Welling, vp of brand development for foods.

Welling was a little steamed—”Compared to the Road Runner, this was mild,” he says—but he’s looking on the bright side. The URL at the ad’s end may have been what greased the path for so many responses—in general a good sign.

Sticking with the food theme, Welling adds, “Unless you’re prepared to produce Milquetoast, you’re going to elicit some reaction.”