Freak Week: Crocodile Tears

Advertisers usually cave to animal-rights complaints. Not so bundaberg rum. The Australian liquor aired a spot from Leo Burnett last month in which a golfer, egged on by Bundaberg’s late-1800s-era founders, blows a crocodile to bits for encroaching on his “favorable lie.” If that weren’t jarring enough for animal lovers, the brand released a second spot last week in which it facetiously dealt with complaints about the first. The crocodile was unharmed, a Bundaberg dandy said, but died of “natural causes” the next day. Don’t be sad, he added. “A piece of him will live on in each of us forever.” Cut to a shot of the crocodile being roasted on a spit. In a world where PETA overreacts so often, AdFreak readers found Bundaberg’s irreverence quite delicious indeed.

Tourism Queenland’s famous “Best Job in the World” ($110,000 for six months of blogging on the Great Barrier Reef) may have been topped. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its arrival in Japan, Domino’s last week said it’s taking applications for a stellar part-time gig: one hour of work in December in exchange for a cool 2,500,000 yen, or about $31,000. The exact duties are unclear, but that isn’t deterring anyone. “We’re actually a little surprised by how much of a response it’s getting,” says a rep. Why, exactly?

We also revisited SunChips’ compostable-bag saga last week. You may recall that Frito-Lay mostly bagged the green packaging in the U.S. after people said it was too damn loud and crinkly. Well, in Canada, the brand is committed to keeping the bag. Frito-Lay Canada’s sustainability chief explained why in a video, and humorously offered to send free earplugs to anyone whose delicate eardrums can’t take the abuse. It was a nice, tongue-in-cheek way to deal with the problem, and something they could have tried in the U.S. before abandoning a noble idea in the face of a minor consumer annoyance.

Finally, Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered the cinema spot of the week with a PSA about the importance of first aid. A live audience of moviegoers in London was filmed being shown a family scene in which a girl begins to choke. The parents panic — but a woman quickly rises from the audience in the theater, shouts that she can help and rushes backstage. She then appears on screen and saves the day. A clever trick, to which the audience applauds at the end — either in true appreciation or just in shock.

Best of BrandFreak: Should films advertise faintings?

It’s a testament to your movie’s ability to shock if people actually pass out while watching it. But is it in poor taste to mention such faintings in your marketing? AdFreak’s sister blog pondered this last week in the wake of reports of folks losing consciousness at screenings of 127 Hours. The Danny Boyle film starring James Franco is the true story of a hiker who amputated his own arm after getting pinned by a boulder. So far, Fox Searchlight is resisting any temptation to overtly capitalize on these inadvertent testimonials. But the filmmakers aren’t distancing themselves too much. Franco spun it as a positive last week, telling reporters: “I have heard that people have passed out. But I have also heard that the people who have passed out have come back and seen the rest of the movie. It shows that people are invested in the movie and connected to the character.”