Mott's Upsets the Applecart


On the face of it, Marcia Cross is a perfect endorser for Mott's apple products. After all, she stars as Bree Van De Kamp Hodge, noted cookbook author, on Desperate Housewives, a hit show (or at least, former hit show) known for its animated opening featuring an apple. And as one blogger has pointed out, Cross even looks like an apple, with her flaming red hair and extremely white skin.

All true. And I like the fact that this campaign from Laird & Partners -- which includes print, a cool Web site at and two TV spots, one selling juice, the other applesauce -- breaks from the tried-and-true approach of showing a cute kid talking about juice. These spots are fast-moving, featuring a barrage of primary colors and a hip song. But something about all that collective redness gets a bit eerie.

"I want to let you in on a delicious secret," Cross says at the opening of the juice spot. She speaks from the confines of an old [red] barn, and maybe that's where the trouble starts. As it does with Pepperidge Farm, the barn is supposed to connote old-fashioned goodness, with an obvious connection to the land, the harvest and Mott's history.

But with its frenetic music and the "secret" at its core, the spot seems to take place in some sort of compound where Bree is forming a secret toddler militia. Inside, where the Little Redheaded People are bred, she trains them to hang on tire swings and push heavy red wagons full of red apples, in preparation for taking over the world.

Oh, come on, give me a break, you say. This is a cute way to express apple-ness, and we have these cute redheaded kids because Cross didn't want her own kids to appear in the commercial, and these days, who could blame her for protecting them? Yeah, yeah.

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