Squidgy! Squidgy Baby!

[Written for my ‘Strategy & Planning’ module of my Advertising Degree]

The now infamous Haribo SuperMix advert struck fear into the hearts of television audiences during the latter part of 2011. The overly clichéd nuclear family, set against an all too wholesome backdrop, whilst they heartily sing their tune about gummie sweets became one of the most unpopular adverts of the year. So was it a complete disaster from start to end, or did Haribo pull off a clever piece of marketing work?

“Kiddies SuperMix” had been on the shelves for quite some time prior to this advert. So it’s safe to assume that this ad for the SuperMix product was aimed across a wide demographic, for nearly all ages. Unfortunately the  message was lost somewhere along the line. Picking fault with the execution of the ad is all too easy, whether it’s the over the top enthusiasm and sickly sugary smiles of the actors, or the off key singing – all of which contribute to failure of the advert.

The words appearing along the bottom of the screen is a karaoke style may have been pitched as a fun gimmick to encourage engagement with the ad, but it wasn’t enjoyed by a huge range of it’s demographic. There was also an awkwardness about the entire cast, in their expressions, singing, and dancing which made for an uncomfortable viewing experience.

It’s hard to tell if the ad is supposed to be an ironic parody of the classic nuclear family scenario, where all the family members come together in an impromptu sing-a-long, or if it is just a poorly directed piece that comes across in all the wrong ways. It feels as if it is awkwardly caught between the two.

When asked about the ad, a spokesman for Haribo said:

“The new advert is certainly attracting a great deal of attention. We intended that it would be a fun, memorable and catchy karaoke style sing-along, which is exactly what it is. Haribo is a family brand and we have a mass market audience and appeal, at the heart of everything we do is fun, whether that’s tongue in cheek or playful.”

This is a very valid point, whether the advert is popular or not it attracted a lot of attention and got people talking. Unfortunately a lot of the attention gained was hugely negative, and damaging to the brand which eventually led to the ad being pulled from TV.

It looks like even if it wasn’t meant to be a parody, Haribo have certainly hit some of their targets with this ad. If they wanted to create something memorable then they definitely did that, even if it wasn’t in the way that they had hoped. Conversely the ‘catchy karaoke style sing-along‘ that they were looking to create became a jingle from hell, with no rhyming and the questionable use of the word ‘Squidgy’ from what we can only hope is the Father of the family, and not a more sinister, musically inclined stranger.

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