We had high hopes for this A&W Restaurants infomercial by agency Cornett for the A&W mug. Created for InStyle TV, it promised to be tongue-in-cheek, possibly nostalgic and—why not?—mobile friendly.
Well, it's definitely mobile friendly, if the vertical panels are any evidence.
We weren't wrong to hope. Infomercials have gotten snackier and funner, in hopes of snagging younger audiences. More important, the press release was pretty entertaining, with quotes like, "After watching A&W's new infomercial, I broke down in tears. I've never seen anything more heartfelt." – Spencer.
It also teased a potentially silly detour exploring A&W's efforts to "dig deeper": "Our team of creative scientists at Cornett got to work and after three days of intensive research, we came up with over 100 new uses of A&W's iconic root beer mug. From hand puppeteering to making a great home for a gummy bear—A&W's mug can do it."
Compared to the PR's playful language, the infomercial itself felt authentically stale in a late-night TV sort of way, with an earnest voiceover, ingratiating guitar music and a QVC-friendly woman demonstrating its various uses—such as "[freezing] to the perfect frosty temperature, leaving your drink so cold … it gets icy!"
There's even a cringe-meriting cameo from A&W mascot Rooty the Root Bear, who uses his mug as a snack bowl for cheese curds and nuggets.
"Be like Rooty—fill it to the top and snack to your heart's content," the narrator says. Or you can "keep it on the kitchen counter and hold straws in it, or use it on your desk for keeping pens and paper clips organized."
Writing out the voiceover copy actually does make the ad feel funny in ways that the PR, so fetching in its self-deprecation ("Our mug is actually a cheese curd vessel"), implied. But we watched it again and felt confused, because we still walk away believing that A&W truly hopes we'll fill our homes with "Americana" mugs full of pencils and straws.
Could it have just been a PR dude trying to make fizzy wine out of sour grapes?
Nah, the site is pretty tongue-in-cheek, too. Consider:
The only explanation we can come up with is that A&W was actually shooting for an infomercial that would be funny in its stodginess, like these overzealous ShamWow-reminiscent ads for the Las Vegas Animal Foundation. And in its sincere desire to get it right, the brand succeeded—not in making something nostalgically funny, but in making something that somehow manages to be even duller than an actual Flowbee ad.
In a way, that's impressive.
The full copy of the press release appears below.
Hope all is well!
Recently A&W Restaurants worked with InStyle television to create an epic infomercial celebrating their iconic root beer mugs. It starting airing on InStyle TV (not to be confused with InStyle Magazine) last week. It's an infomercial so amazing, I'm sure it will clean house at all of the creative award shows next year.
"In my five years of working in advertising, I've never seen a more moving infomercial. The story, the cinematography, the acting – everything is just so damn beautiful" – Me
"After watching A&W's new infomercial, I broke down in tears. I've never seen anything more heartfelt." – Spencer
"It takes a village to make a great infomercial" – Sarah Blasi
In addition to it being beautiful, we found A&W's new infomercial to also be very inspiring. So inspiring, it inspired us to dig deeper, to go beyond the expected and explore new and innovative uses of the mug. Our team of creative scientists at Cornett got to work and after three days of intensive research, we came up with over 100 new uses of A&W's iconic root beer mug. From hand puppeteering to making a great home for a gummy bear – A&W's mug can do it.
While most mugs offer only one benefit (holding a beverage), ours offers over 100 benefits, making A&W's mug the most beneficial mug in the world.
If you have a second please grab some cheese curds (our mug is actually a cheese curd vessel), hit the link below, watch this amazing infomercial and then check out all of the unbelievable things this damn mug can do on it's very own web page!
Thanks and please let us know if you have any questions.