Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Commercial Break: Emerald Nuts’ Robert Goulet Lunch Break

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 10, 2007

All right, so the Super Bowl commercials mostly sucked this year. Even normally stellar participants like Budweiser and um, Pepsi, came up short 95% of the time. Supposedly there was one fairly good one that I missed–something involving superheroes or something–but most of the entries were extremely disappointing. I actually enjoyed watching the game more than the commercials, for the first time in years.

There was one which has potential, though, and that of course was Emerald Nuts’ “Boogeyman” commercial, based on the premise that when you’re snoozing during your lunch break, Robert Goulet comes around and messes with your stuff. The only member of the featured office staff not to be tormented by Goulet is one guy who, due to his eating Emerald Nuts, is able to keep his energy and blood sugar up enough not to fall asleep (forcing Goulet to memorably retreat by spider-crawl away on the building’s roof).

TV devotees out there will of course remember Emerald Nuts from their highly memorable “E_______ N________s love Emerald Nuts” series from a few years back, of which “Egomaniacal Normans” and “Egyptian Navigators” were probably my favorite. I missed it this year, but apparently Emerald Nuts took that series a step further in their other super bowl ads this year, in which they managed to script out “Eagle-eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid, Networking Under the Stairs” (or, of course, EMERALD NUTS).

Not bad, but the Goulet one is the one people will remember. Why? Well, it’s got the sort of quirky, out-of-the-box charm that most of the great ad campaigns of the last few years or so have utilized (Quizno’s, GEICO, some Mountain Dew ads). But more importantly, it’s got what I call the Famous for Being Famous Cameo–a guest appearance by a celebrity whose fame and longevity has eclipsed any actual achievemnt they might have previously accomplished. Other examples of this phenomenon include Mr. T, William Shatner, Gary Coleman and, bless her heart, Anna Nicole Smith–people who sure, were once upon a time famous for TV shows, movies, or other such stuff, but who everyone knows not for their defintive roles, but for the innumerous cash-in opportunities they received as a result of those definitive roles. When someone I was discussing the commercial with asked “what is Robert Goulet famous for?,” someone else I was with responded “well, that commercial, now.” An exceedingly accurate observation.

That Bud commercial where people slap each other was pretty funny too. Can’t wait to see people attempting it in real life.

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