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Honey badger sells out

Here’s a video of a honey badger cracking open a pistachio with a snake. “Honey badger does it badass,” explains the voiceover. You either get it or you don’t.

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For the unfamiliar: This commercial is the latest in a campaign by Wonderful Pistachios. The honey badger (and more importantly, “Randall,” a.k.a. Christopher Gordon, the man doing the voiceover) are the stars of a viral video with more than 18 million views on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it:

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The “Get Crackin'” pistachio campaign is by Paramount Farms, a pistachio grower owned by Roll Global. The campaign has been running for three years, and is known for casting lower-tier celebrities. The latest run of pistachio ads includes Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, Kermit the Frog, Crystal the Monkey, the Winklevoss twins, Mr. Bill and Angry Birds. You can read more in this press release.

(An aside: Remember the Angry Birds T-Mobile campaign? What can’t these birds sell?)

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Personally, I don’t really dig the Honey Badger ad. This may be because I’m irrationally suspicious of pistachios, the weird uncle of the nut family. Something also feels unseemly about co-opting Internet culture and messing up the joke: The gag is that the Honey Badger doesn’t give a shit, so why should he suddenly give a shit about pistachio growers? I also worry many people find this voice actor funny only because they think he’s making fun of a gay stereotype.

Peter Kafka on All Things D also identified another problem: Most people watching TV (including “Dancing With The Stars,” where this ad will air on Tuesday) won’t know what the hell is going on in this ad. Kafka writes:

“See: Honey Badger is a big viral hit on YouTube, where he has generated more than 18 million views since January. But ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is a genuinely big television show, which means it gets 15 million viewers a week. And my hunch is that a lot of the folks tuning in will have never seen the Badger before or heard his friend Randall extoll his virtues.”

Ads with pop culture references are tough. For every one that works (see: “The Force“), there are others like this one that will whoosh over people’s heads.

Let’s end on a positive: Kudos to Paramount Farms for using the word “badass” in a TV commercial.

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Who created this campaign and who signed off on it?

I can’t find any ad agencies claiming credit (or taking responsibility) for this, so let’s call it in-house by Paramount Farms, under Mark Masten, vice president of global sales and marketing.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

One comment

  1. I just saw this from friend I turned on to the honey badger video. I LOVE that commercial, just saw month ago for 1st time. And I disagree with the above being “anti gay”! It could’ve been a “non-gay” accent, and still be funny. Like he said: you either get it or not! Now I just need to see about the pistachio folks hiring the Squeezebox Hero to Squeezecrack a nut! Maybe to the song “Final Countdown”! haha (and I’ll hire Randall to sing it with him – in his Honey badger voice!)

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