A Tortured Tummy Overdoses on Fried Food in This Wacky Ad for Oranges

Silly stuff from Wonderful Halos

So, you’ve decided to nosh on deep-fried butter and Armageddon Demon Chilis instead of Wonderful Halos mandarin oranges.

Bad choice, kid. Very bad.

Folks learn that lesson the hard way in punchy new ads from Wonderful’s in-house agency and directors the Perlorian Brothers.

First, we get an outrageously animated take on the runs, so to speak, as a distressed stomach bursts, Alien-style, from the body of a dude munching on skewers of crunchy double-fried fat globules, and proceeds to sprint off down the carnival midway:

Next, a suburban couple feel the burn when they sample hellaciously hot peppers at a backyard picnic:

The commercials constitute the second helping of Wonderful’s “Good choice, kid” campaign, raising the temperature from last year’s ads by expanding the definition of “kid” to include “the big kids in our lives—other adults—and the kinds of bad snacking decisions they sometimes make,” Wonderful Agency creative chief Darren Moran tells AdFreak. “That evolution let us push the situations and the humor even further without fear of scarring small children for life.”

Both spots are based on the real-life experiences of the creative team.

“I don’t know what it is about dudes and spicy foods, but we all had had terrible, ill-advised, prove-your-manhood moments with hot peppers,” says Moran. “I once had to relearn verbs after a late-night dinner in Hong Kong quickly devolved into [a game of] ‘I’ll-eat-that-for-a-dollar.’ It’s a familiar situation that we needed to make surprising. Every time we thought of a name for a dangerous-sounding chili pepper, we discovered it already existed.”

Dumb move, chowing down on foods you know are too spicy to handle. What genius would ever do that?

Real military flame throwers were used to create the fire effect. “Sadly, some garden gnomes were harmed in the making of this commercial,” Moran says.

As for the guts-on-the-run spot, “When the writer pitched ‘deep fried butter,’ I thought it was an amazingly absurd set-up,” he says. “Until he told me it actually existed, and he lived to tell the tale of eating one at the Iowa State Fair.”

“The stomach VFX itself were a fun challenge,” Moran recalls. “Since no one—to our knowledge—has ever witnessed a stomach escape from a man’s body in abject terror, we had to figure out the look, the movement, the attitude—basically create a character that in just a few seconds you believe is real and are rooting for. So, we asked [production studio] The Mill to think of the stomach as a galloping bald Chihuahua. They made it even weirder with the creepy little humanoid hands and feet.”

As it turns out, the lead actor grew progressively miffed as filming progressed.

“He wasn’t happy about having to bite into a non-fried tofu prop about a hundred times over the course of the shoot,” Moran says. “He actually said he had been looking forward to getting paid to eat deep fried butter all day.”

Client: Wonderful Halos

Agency: Wonderful Agency
President: Michael Perdigao
Chief Creative Officer: Darren Moran
Creative Director/Art Director: Jason Fryer
Creative Director/Copywriter: Mike Condrick
Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Alan Snider
Sr. Art Director: Colin Jahn
Head of Production: Sam Baerwald

Production Company: MJZ
Director: The Perlorian Brothers
Director of Photography: Jo Willems
Unit Production Manager: Line Postmyr
Sr. Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins

Editorial: HutchCo Technologies
Editor: Jim Hutchins
Assistant Editor: Patrick O’Leary
Executive Producer: Jane Hutchins

Telecine: The Mill
Colorist: Adam Scott
Executive Producer: Thatcher Peterson
Producer: Liza Kerlin

Visual Effects: The Mill
Executive Producer: Enca Kaul
Producer: Andrew Gilson
Creative Director: Tara DeMarco
Lead Artists: Narbeh Mardirossian (2D), Tom Graham (3D)

Mix & Sound: Lime Studios
Mixer: Loren Silber
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com 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.