Below is an article written by Gerry Graf for the 'nostalgia issue' of one.a magazine, volume 6(4). The nostalgia issue
examines some of the most successful ads of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
When I was working on Snickers back in 1997, Bryan Buckley used to call me the candy man. He thought it was very funny. He
called me the candy man because not only did I write for Snickers but I also worked on M&M's. He used to hand me his phone
and say the Butterfinger people are on the line, they need a writer. I think I quit working on Snickers soon after that. That
would have been the worst thing in the world, being typecast as the candy guy.
Why? Because most candy ads are horrible. Bite into a fruit gusher and your head turns into a giant CGI grape. Get so caught up
in your Reese's and your pants might get caught in the escalator and rip off. Those two ads are the only candy ads I can remember
right now. And I have two kids. I'm sure I've seen a lot of candy ads watching Rugrats, but none come to mind. That's how bad most
candy advertising is.
* Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.
* When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty I get the sensation.
* Your peanut butter is in my chocolate. Your chocolate is in my peanut butter.
* Good and Plenty, Good and Plenty, Good and Plenty, Good and Plenty.
* How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
* M&M's melt in your mouth, not in your hands.
I remember those. I bet you do, too. Most are over 30 years old and I remember them. Does that make them good? Maybe not. Maybe
I remember those campaigns because my parents used to sit me in front of the TV for eight hours a day until I was old enough to
go to kindergarten. But I think there is something more. Most are Big Ideas. Before computer animation, you actually had to
think of a concept for a commercial. These days all you need is a kid on a skateboard and a tongue that stretches out 20 feet
and you have yourself a Fruit Rollups spot.
Was candy advertising better back in the 70s, I'll say yes. Why? Because talented people worked on candy accounts. Cliff Freeman
(the guy, not the agency) wrote the Mounds and Almond Joy campaign and the York Peppermint Patty stuff. I don't know for sure
but I get the feeling that back 25 years ago advertising was different. My theory is people were happy just to be in the business.
I think there was an, 'I don't care what I'm working on, isn't it cool just to be in advertising' type mood back in the 70s when
most of those old candy campaigns were created. Today, if you're talented, you're not going to waste your time on some 'kids' ad.
You are going to do everything you can to work on Nike or Fox or Volkswagen.
So today you have not so talented people using the CGI crutch spewing out crap that I can't remember. To make things worse,
whatever small idea they do come up with gets tested and cleansed. You cannot offend anyone when doing kids ads. We have to
protect our children from any joke that might make fun of anyone and anything. There was a famous Peppermint Patty commercial
with a woman pretending she's skiing on top of a snowy mountain. She gets so excited she starts to moan. Today that spot would
be killed because the woman looks like she is faking an orgasm and that is sex. And kids watch candy ads. And sex is taboo in a
Will candy ads get better? No. Candy ads will stay bad because they don't have to be good. Candy is Crack for kids. They will
always buy it. Every once in a while someone might do something interesting. I got lucky on Snickers. We had a great client, our
target was 18 year old men, and the people at Mars didn't test. That doesn't come along every day. But even so, I don't think we
will ever see a guy dressed up like Louis XIV eating a Charleston Chew sitting next to a court jester who says 'Charleston Chew
is chewy but not too chewy, Louis.' And that's too bad.