Barber Foods “Fridge Coma”

Advertising has a long history of inventing maladies and then presenting remedies for them. This spot for Barber Foods’ Stuffed Chicken Breasts (via Gabriel deGrood Bendt of Minneapolis) gives an engaging spin to that tradition, introducing us to “refrigerator coma” — the state into which you lapse when you peer and peer into the refrigerator and can’t find anything you feel like eating. In the vignette here, wife and kids arrive home to find the man of the house in that sorry condition. Happily, there’s some Broccoli & Cheese-flavored Barber’s stowed in the freezer. Sniffing this food as it heats up in the oven, the man returns to the land of the living. The product itself looks fairly unremarkable, but the “refrigerator coma” concept helps to arrest viewers’ attention and distinguish Barber’s brand from the frozen-foods crowd. It is, after all, a condition that people will recognize from their own lives. At the same time, the spot’s tone of transparently faux urgency delivers a subtext that says, in effect, “Look, we know that commercials often seek to manipulate you, but we’re going to poke fun at that practice instead of employing it for real ourselves.” That will help this relatively obscure brand to ingratiate itself with consumers.  -Mark Dolliver