Michelle Tucker, VP and managing creative director, Scout
It’s been said that the universal language is love. There’s another language that brings people together: food. And if we learned nothing else from the late, great Anthony Bourdain, it’s that the purest celebration of humanity is breaking bread with people in cultures foreign to our own. But those celebrations — whether you’re dining at a Michelin star restaurant in Paris or a hole-in-the-wall in Idaho — can wreak havoc on our bellies. So, let’s review some ads that dish up remedies for another universal language: indigestion.
Fearless Foodies Tums, Weber Shandwick
This Tums ad celebrates insatiable appetites, bestowing them with the title of Fearless Foodies. A hyperbolic illustration of a guy inhaling nachos could’ve been enough. But this goes a step further by tapping into the audience’s sense of nostalgia with a beloved American ’80s reference: Garbage Pail Kids.
Haunted Sloppy Joe Gas-X, Saatchi & Saatchi
A visceral response is a sign of great creative. The portrayal of an evil sloppy joe burning its way through one’s insides is palpable. Those eyes! Those claws! Gas-X boldly reminds us this is not the kind of fire we want in our bellies.
Shoes Imodium, J. Walter Thompson
All dressed up and no place to go because you are held hostage by your terribly angry GI tract. In this Imodium ad, those bright pink straps tied ever-so-tightly around the ankles and the stark white commode depict helplessness. You can’t see the woman’s face, but you can practically hear her pleading with the digestion deities to free her of her agony.
Hook Philips, FCB
Constipation is never a good conversation topic. So Philips utilized a tried-and-true technique — the fairy tale — to take the reader out of reality into a different world to address the issue. It’s a brilliant way to soften the subject and promote the benefit of the product. After all, one can’t help but feel empathy for Captain Hook, who desperately wants to free himself of the terrifying grip of the crocodiles.
Poker Hepachofa Hepat, Dhélet Y&R
I wanted to dislike this Hepachofa Hepat ad because of the easy cop/donut joke. But donut cops ambushing the spoof of dogs playing poker — slam dunk. The detail of the illustrations, from the hot dog’s mustard hair to the cops’ jelly tongues, all paint the picture of the ugly mixup that’s about to go down.
Turkey Alka-Seltzer, BBDO Mexico
In a world where visuals dominate, nothing warms the belly like this copy-driven ad for Alka-Seltzer. The simple but elegant line drawing lets the dialogue be the hero in this sad, familiar tale I call, “Be polite. Eat it and smile.”