Ad of the Day: Dead Mice Act Out Plays in Strangest Pest-Control Ads Ever

Barton F. Graf's darkly comic 'Dead Mouse Theatre'

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You may cringe a bit, too.

Barton F. Graf 9000's first campaign for Tomcat mouse-killing bait takes an off-off-off-Broadway approach with the introduction of "Dead Mouse Theatre." Essentially, it's a pair of hands manipulating a couple of fake mice with X's for eyes. Add some funny character voices and some atonal singing, and you've got some pretty amusing ads.

Rather than emphasize the kill, the mini-plays find entertainment value in the dead critters themselves, answering a teaser question from a perky male announcer at the beginning of each ad: "What will we do with all these dead mice?"

At their best, these ads feel like a cross between two old Saturday Night Live staples: The Mr. Bill Show and Leonard Pinth-Garnell's Bad Conceptual Theater. At their worst? Well, fringe theater still beats typical rodent-killer advertising. Oh, there's also this Tumblr page.

The tagline, enhanced in the ads by a cat screech, is, "Tomcat. Engineered to kill."

CREDITS

Client: Tomcat (The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.)

Agency: Barton F. Graf 9000, New York

Chief Creative Officer/Founder: Gerry Graf

Executive Creative Directors/Partners: Scott Vitrone, Ian Reichenthal

Art Directors: Jerome Marucci, Ross Fletcher

Copywriters: Steve McElligott, Nick Kaplan, Mark Bielik

Head of Integrated Production: Josh Morse

Producer: Cameron Farrell

Senior Strategist: Deepa Sen

Creative Strategist: Brandon Solis

Account Director: Jennifer Richardi

Account Supervisor: Kimmy Cunningham

Production Company: Rattling Stick

Director: Ringan Ledwidge

Executive Producer: Joe Biggins

Producer: Patrick Bailey

DOP: Ray Coates

Costume Designer: Rosa Dias

Production Designer: Simon Davis

Set Designers: Nigel Howlett, Nick Abbott

Puppeteer: Andy Heath

Editorial: Work Editorial Inc.

Editor: Mark Edinoff

Executive Producer: Erica Thompson

Senior Producer: Sari Resnick

Assistant Editor: Adam Witten

Finishing: The Mill

VFX Producer: Rachel Trillo

Telecine: Fergus McCall, Mikey Rossiter

2D Leads: Chris Sonia, Keith Sullivan

2D Assists: Emily Bloom, Molly Intersimone, Anne Trotman, Antoine Douadi, Dae Yoon Kang, Liz Berndt

3D Animation: Aran Quinn

Audio: Heard City

Audio Engineers: Philip Loeb, Evan Mangiamele

Music: Butter

Composer: Andrew Sherman