Pringles Went Insane While You Weren't Paying Attention
You all know Pringles, right? Those tubes of chips you buy at the gas station and immediately devour when you're drunk and hate yourself? They're a generic, inoffensive brand that you've probably never given a second thought. But while you've been ignoring them, thinking you could trust Pringles to keep being pleasantly unremarkable, they've been scheming. And now, like the Hydra of junk food, they've unleashed their horrors upon the world.
If you either can't watch that video or are smart enough to choose not to, that's a 30-second ad featuring the Pringles Flava Crew. If you're not familiar with the oeuvre of the Flava Crew, they're a group of 20-somethings wearing Pringles track suits whose name makes you have a stroke whenever you say or type it. They have what 60-year-old marketing executives refer to as an "in-your-face attitude," and they carry around tubes of Pringles to show the world that "You don't just eat 'em. You pop and lock 'em!" Yeah! Let's get crackalackin, broheims!
Pringles Fun Fact: Pringles is Satan's favorite snack.
Terrible music kicks in as the camera shows us a library's "Quiet Please" sign, because Pringles don't give a fuck. Pringles is the snack of choice for the rebellious suburban fourth-grader. The crew lays down a Pringles-brand dance tarp, and the crew member who looks most like a rejected member of the Black Eyed Peas declares "It's time ... to get ... this party ... popping!" with all the enthusiasm of an actress whose dog is currently being held hostage by a multinational junk food corporation.
Pringles Fun Fact: Pringles shredded vinyl hip-hop albums without listening to them to make their tarp.
The Crew then busts out the lamest dance moves I've ever seen, and I've seen my own. As an anemic white nerd who lives on the internet, my dance repertoire is limited to gentle rhythmic swaying, flailing attempts to copy the nearest cool person, and I guess I need to do something with my hands. But watching these motherfuckers made me feel like Michael Jackson, or whatever more relevant popular dancer someone who doesn't say "repertoire" would name.
Despite the fact that they dance like it's illegal to have rhythm, the other actors occupying the library go from "pretending to be annoyed by this intrusion into their study environment" to "pretending to be caught up in this totally wild party." The Crew convinces these grumpy squares that learning is for nerds, while cool kids have dance parties that use Pringles cans as props to maximize brand exposure. But if you pause the ad at just the right moment, it becomes clear that this is not a party. This is a group of actors having a collective existential crisis.
Pringles Fun Fact: Fergie Lite wanted to star in gripping indie dramas, but those don't pay for the operation her dog needs.
Near the end of the ad, the stern minions of anti-Pringles orthodoxy, represented by a librarian and the world's least intimidating security guard, try to shut down this totally off-the-chain shindig. Authority hates everything that Pringles stands for, and events in the library have gotten so out of control that, uh, someone in the background is clearly still more than capable of working peacefully. Goddammit, Pringles, you can't even get your own nonsense ad right.
Pringles Fun Fact: All cops eat Old Dutch like the fascists that they are.
Tragically, the ad does not end with the security guard tasering the Crew and confiscating their Pringles stereo. Instead, they're convinced to join in on the "fun," because the power of harsh vibes are no match for the power of Pringles. The Crew and their new acolytes pose for the camera at the end, with the guard showing off a Pringles can with all the enthusiasm of a conservative substitute teacher who got roped into explaining how a penis works to a bunch of 13-year-old girls.
Pringles Fun Fact: Police officers showed Flava Crew videos to prisoners during interrogations before the ACLU intervened.
The Pringles Flava Crew has also annoyed other once-quiet places, like an office, a coffee shop, the contemplative depths of your soul, and more, which you can see on your own horribly mismanaged time. And they can teach you how to pull off totally real dance moves like "Eating a chip" and "Having a seizure while holding a Pringles can." Just to be clear, these commercials are modern, and might pop up on YouTube or your TV today if you've sufficiently angered the Universe. A real marketing team assembled and decided on a concept that would have looked ill-conceived 16 years ago, and today comes across like a time wizard got trapped in an ad executive's body and can only fuel his escape magic with human suffering. And hey, guess what? Pringles just created something even worse!
Pringles Fun Fact: The Crew cannot sleep. They dream waking dreams of dancing in an empty ballroom where no one can judge their sins.
Pringles recently announced the Pringles Duck Lips Selfie Challenge, which I'm sure is blowing up your social media feed. The goal is to, ugh, #duckit by putting two Pringles in your mouth to vaguely resemble duck lips -- a fad the taste makers at the ultra-hip Huffington Post declared dead over a year ago. It's unclear how this constitutes a challenge, unless it's a challenge to your sense of shame, but here's an example of #duckit #whytheterroristshateus #ducklipsaredeadandsoisgod.
Pringles Fun Fact: That man will never again know the touch of another human being.
That idea is so on fleek, Pringles! You're one funky fresh bunch of Harambes! And just look at the cool cats they've got promoting it!
That's right, they got the Jack Vale, a 45-year-old man who acts like a teenager, and who's accompanied by his teenage son, who acts like he doesn't hate his father. In this video that feels totally natural, father and son have "teamed up with Pringles" to present a "good old-fashioned father-son competition" to see who can get the most chip-shoved-in-mouth selfies with strangers, and also to see who can be the first to learn what "old-fashioned" actually means.
Pringles Fun Fact: Chris will one day show this video to his therapist.
The intense competition ends with Jack trying to cheat his son out of a victory, followed by an appeal to the viewer to #duckit on all of Pringles' favorite social media outlets, like Friendster, Xanga, and graffiti-scrawled bathroom walls. Despite Vale's best #efforts, #duckit did not take off. The few pictures that do exist are sad and strange, like they've all been posted by people who just discovered the internet and haven't yet discovered embarrassment.
Pringles Fun Fact: Pringles didn't bother to note that some people were already using #duckit to mean #fuckit.
So Pringles paid a man to run around with a camera and get pictures of people who supposedly love Pringles so much that they'd rather pose with 95 percent of the chip out of their mouths than simply eat them. That's like advertising KFC with #hearthealthawareness, or Trojan with #gamergate. And boy, did their money not pay off -- the video got just 27,000 views, and most of the comments are from fans of Jack Vale complaining that he sold out.
Pringles Fun Fact: This is Pringles' target audience.
To give you a sense of how low Pringles has sunk, those principled Jack Vale fans demanded that he return to earlier work that wasn't bogged down by crass commercial demands, like the timeless classics Farting in an Elevator 4, Farting on Beach Babes, Extreme Farting in Public, The Farting Old Man, Fart and Run, Punched for Farting, and Farting in the Hood 2. If you'll allow me a brief detour into the Farting Cinematic Universe: Yes, people in "the hood" react to both loud noises and obnoxious people with cameras who insist on talking to them about those noises even after they've been explicitly told to stop bothering them. You got PRANKED, black America!
Pringles being reduced to working with people like that is the corporate equivalent of finding your old manager sucking dick in a gas station bathroom for meth money. What happened to you, Pringles? Are you that desperate for sales? Who hurt you? I've forwarded your ads to the International Court of Justice, but if there's something you need to tell the world, please do so, and please do it like a normal human being. Because right now you're acting like you thought the marketing executives from The Simpsons were smart, aspirational figures.
You might be concerned that I'm playing into Pringles' idiot hands by giving them the attention they are clearly very desperate for, so let me be clear: Fuck Pringles. Fuck them right in their stupid tubes. Eat Lays, or Sun Chips, or any other rival brand that tastes better and doesn't advertise like they think marketing is a type of hate crime. Or just forget chips and have a nice, healthy snack. Or don't. I'm not your mom. My point is that if I see you eating Pringles after today, I will #punchyouinthethroat. And I will share it.
Mark just launched the Follow Me On Twitter Challenge and the Buy My Book Challenge. Can YOU hashtag do them both?
For more cocaine-induced marketing madness check out 6 Ill-Advised Marketing Campaigns That Backfired Hilariously and The 6 Most Clearly Disturbing Mascots in Marketing History.
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