Agency: Deutsch (NY)
Dreative director: Cheryl Van Ooyen
Who needs Wendy? Snapple, which built its early screwball reputation on commercials featuring Wendy the Snapple Lady, has finally struck a rich new vein of comedy gold. In a fresh round of spots that continue a theme introduced last winter, Snapple presents a faux-earnest montage of its fruits -- guys in costumes -- frolicking about. Sound like a ripoff of the Fruit of the Loom characters? Well, it is, but it's a clever ripoff, and the Snapple fruits have a better back story: "We know the pressures facing young fruit today," Snapple's "Director of Fruit Relations" says. "How easy it is to go bad, start hanging with a bad crowd, mixing with preservatives." The fruits are shown at a Snapple-run reform school, exercising, lying in bunk beds, even handing over urine samples as they file out of bathroom stalls. Because they have no eyes, they tend to trip on stuff and bump into things, and the slapstick underscores the fruits' innocence and all-natural goodness. Good thing they're so sheltered: The non-carbonated-fruit-beverage business is cutthroat, and parent company Triarc has faced an uphill battle since buying Snapple from Quaker in 1997 for $300 million (a fire-sale price; Quaker paid $1.7 billion just a few years earlier). After years of decline, sales are creeping up again, thanks in no small part to these spots, which once again put the endearingly idiotic Snapple brand front and center in the pop-culture consciousness.