Ad of the Day: Fred

Bottled-water company makes the cutest ad ever about death from sugar

Sugar sure is taking its lumps this week.

"Sugar Is Killing Us," the title of this short animated film made in-house by bottled-water vendor Fred, should provide a clue about where the creators are coming from. The best element is the engaging animation by Arthur Jones and Karl Ackermann. Their style recalls vintage Sesame Street: It's both educational and entertaining, creating the perfect atmosphere—childlike, but never childish. (They're shoo-ins to win the prize for cutest cartoon pancreas of 2012!)

Kudos also for focusing on the cause and not diluting the message with a watered-down sales pitch or quick cut-away to the corporate logo. "We created this video because the topic is a personal passion," Fred co-founder Ariel Broggi tells Adweek. "We aren't pushing Fred in the video because we want the message about limiting sugar to be construed as a general health message and not a brand message. But we are not hiding the fact that the creators of the video are also the creators of Fred."

Broggi, an ad-agency veteran, wrote the script, which does a good job of telling a complex story quickly, without jargon, with a light enough touch to make its predictable (though scientifically grounded) polemics palatable. "The end game for the 'Sugar Is Killing Us' video is being achieved as we speak," Broggi says. "It is sparking conversation and creating awareness about the potentially devastating effects of sugar. It benefits Fred because it promotes making healthier choices. Fred is a healthier choice."

My biggest complaint—and this might just be the Twinkies talking—is that the work offers nothing especially new to entice fructose fiends like yours truly into any serious self-examination. As for the clip's contention that folks can be convinced en masse to change their eating habits and "force the food industry to produce healthier food and stop adding sugar," well, it's a sweet idea. Good luck with that.


Produced by Fred

Written by Ariel Broggi

Directed by Ariel Broggi, Arthur Jones and Karl Ackermann

Animated by Arthur Jones and Karl Ackermann

Voiceover by Starlee Kine

Original Music by Dave Fischoff

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.