Created By: Chariset on July 2, 2012 Last Edited By: Chariset on July 7, 2012

Product Origin Commercial

Our cookies are baked by Keebler Elves!

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Trope
A Basic Commercial Type which hopes to sell you on the product by showing how it was produced. Product X (the product for sale) is made slowly, with a lot of care and personal attention. Product Y, on the other hand, is stamped out en masse by soulless machines.

These tend to be one of two types

  1. Fanciful -- the product is made by colorful characters, often mascots, in elaborate or fantasy settings. Manufacturing the product is the centerpiece of their culture, and some advertising may focus on young or junior members who dream of being "good enough" to produce it themselves someday. Often they are smaller characters, to make baking a cookie a genuine architectural challenge. The very act of producing Product X involves magic or wonder, like adding whole rainbows or the light of 'seventeen stars.'

  2. Realistic (for a given value of 'realism') -- the product is made with loving care by beloved or admired figures. Think a restaurant chain showing how experienced chefs in Milan slowly cook up large batches of the special soup now served at your table in Colorado Springs, or Grandma pulling a fresh batch of cookies from the oven.

Needless to say the product offered for consumption was not made like that, but that is irrelevant: the purpose of the commercial is to sell you on the product because you'd like to believe it was produced magically, whimsically, or with elaborate ritual and care.

Note: This trope does not apply to certain luxury goods whose selling point is that they genuinely are well crafted or hand made (say, a designer dress). Such items tend to fall under Up Marketing -- and come with a correspondingly high price point.

Compare: Christmas Elves, Magically Delicious.

Examples

  • The Keebler Elves, who bake cookies at their home in a beautiful tree.
  • A series of shorts for the Arby's restaurant chain showed the behind-the-counter employees as beautiful young people, happily working in a spacious kitchen alongside a CGI oven glove.
  • The Quilted Northern brand of bath tissue ran a campaign showing a diminutive quilting circle who apparently hand-stitch every inch of the product by hand. Did I mention the product is toilet tissue?

Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • July 2, 2012
    Duncan
    • Chef Wendell (and two other bakers) of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
  • July 2, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Dunkin Donuts had a live-action mascot, "Fred the Baker" - a poor put-upon soul who has to get up every morning at 3am. "Time to make the donuts!" He was so beloved that when the actor retired they had a series of commercials about the character retiring.
  • July 3, 2012
    Arivne
    If this isn't limited to company mascots (and neither the Arby's nor Quilted Northern examples are), then the name should be changed.

    Fake Hand Made?

    • A series of Progresso Soup ads have a kitchen full of chefs preparing the company's soups by hand. They also take phone calls from customers. Here's an example.
  • July 3, 2012
    Chariset
    The idea I'm after is the sense that Our Product is made by the iconic figures used in advertising, with care and love and attention, while Their Product is stamped out with callous disregard.

    I've just given the description a workover... tell me what you think
  • July 4, 2012
    MorwenEdhelwen
    Clunky title. Maybe "Fake Non Commercial Food" or "Mascot Made Food?"
  • July 4, 2012
    mdulwich
    There's an advert currently running in the UK for a cereal (Shreddies, I think) that shows them being knitted by stereotypical grandmothers.
  • July 4, 2012
    katiek
    Sargento Cheese commercials are a classic example of this. They make a point to contrast rubbery, synthetic American cheese slices with their carefully produced "real cheese", made with fresh ingredients. They usually cut to a hand slicing artisanal-looking gorgeous blocks of cheese that are beautifully lit. (The processed cheese slices, are, of course, lit with what looks like greenish fluorescents)
  • July 4, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Hershey's Kisses has a series of commercials showing how the Kisses are made. They go through an assembly line, but it's kind of Wonka-esque with regard to strange Rube Goldberg mechanics and the like. They tend to have one for each major holiday in which candy plays a part.
    • The Keebler commercials have stepped up their fanciful production ads. Now their cookies are "uncommonly good" because they contain the magic of people doing uncommonly good things.

  • July 4, 2012
    Bisected8
    @mdulwich: Yeah, it's shreddies. The tagline for them was "Eat up, we'll knit more!"
  • July 4, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    This Coca-Cola commercial, which suggests what really happens inside a Coke machine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1NnyE6DDnQ
  • July 4, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Any number of classic Green Giant commercials, which suggest that, for instance, corn is removed from the cob by a friendly ogre who dresses in leaves.
  • July 4, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Then there's the early series of Mc Donaldland commercials, which imply that: hamburgers are picked, complete with bun, from a "hamburger patch", french fries come from a "thatch" (bag and all), shakes come from volcanoes, and apple pies literally grow on trees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcmq1FPDmoA
  • July 4, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Nabisco tried its hand at mythical origins as well. A series of Chips Ahoy chocolate-chip cookie commercials suggested that the cookies were made by children who "mined" chips from a chocolate mountain "...where work is play", then assembled the cookies in a user-friendly assembly line. The link below goes to an edited version which eliminates the mining part; too close to the ugly history of child labor, perhaps? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM1ijcg0Imk
  • July 4, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    The breakfast cereal industry has lots of these.

    - Raisin Bran, which had two scoops of raisins being gently dropped into every box (and in some cases, the sun character meticulously "tans" and vets the raisins before they are admitted to the box).

    - Freakies cereal grows on a tree.

    - A short-lived cereal from the 70s called "Grins, Smiles, Giggles and Laughs" was produced by an irreverent robot, but only when you made him laugh.

    - Some early Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles cereal commercials indicated that Fred and Barney manufactured the product pretty much by hand, though with some dinosaur machinery assistance.
  • July 4, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: In "Nuclear Energy: Our Misunderstood Friend" antrhopomorphic uranium-235 rods take a swim in a pool, which creates steam, which runs turbines, which make power.
  • July 5, 2012
    gibberingtroper
    Automobile manufacturers often depict their cars being assembled using some futuristic looking method or the car parts flowing together. One recent ad refers to re-engineering a car's DNA.
  • July 5, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    An ad for Anchor butter suggested that their stuff is made in a dairy entirely run by cows. The cows also have lots of parties. While they make the butter.
  • July 5, 2012
    JonnyB
    Parodied in a short film within The Dr. Steel Show, Episode 1. In response to viewer email, Doctor Steel shows a short educational film (in the style of 1950's Public Service films) on how shoes are made, featuring such nonsensical statements as, "the shoelace is then routed into the main lacing units by squirrels", "the soles of the shoes are sent for twirling by the Wacky-Backy Roundabout Machine 2000" and "this pair is getting the popular banana pudding treatment."
  • July 5, 2012
    jbrecken
    There's a series of ads where kids theorize how Cheez Its cram large amounts of cheese into each cracker, that generally involve breaking the rules of physics.
  • July 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^A similar set of ads were run for Kraft Singles (American "Cheese").
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    • Futurama contains an in-universe example with Slurm, the uber-popular beverage. It's an inversion of the fanciful version of this trope. Instead of the fanciful version being false, the "factory" claims to be automated and modern. Instead, it's revealed behind the curtain that, in fact, it's the excrement of a giant slug-monster.
  • July 5, 2012
    Chariset
    Changed the name. What do you think?
  • July 5, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    I like the new name well enough, I guess. It is a bit spoony, but that seems to be the trend these days. I'm just happy to see more advertising tropes. That section of the wiki is woefully underutilized.
  • July 6, 2012
    AgProv
    Mc Cain's oven chips (UK) where each individual chip (US: French Frie) is lovingly handcrafted by Heath-Robinson machinery in a fantastic factory somewhere in the country.

    Note to Americans and younger Brits: "Heath-Robinson" was a 1930's cartoonist who drew fantastic and over-elaborate machines, often rickety, unsafe=looking, and held together with knotted string and elastic bands. Google on the name for examples.
  • July 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • July 6, 2012
    Chariset
    I'd be glad to name it something more clever, but I can't think of anything
  • July 7, 2012
    memely
    Possible names: Fanciful: Baked by Elves Realistic: Handmade by Artisans
  • July 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Inverted in a classic ad for Calgon water softener. A man working as a Chinese Launderer claims to a customer that they use an "Ancient Chinese Secret" to get clothes so clean. His wife (the person who actually does the washing) tells the audience the real secret is Calgon.
  • July 7, 2012
    JoeG
    • A series of ads for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups showed a person carrying chocolate running into one carrying peanut butter, thus inspiring the product.
  • July 7, 2012
    JonnyB
    A commercial for Dell laptops ("Lollipop") shows them being made in a Wonka-esque candy factory.
  • July 7, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    For years, the confections industry has done this in their commercials, where they suggest that the products are gently handmade, along with a generous display of chocolate. Examples include (Warning: these links are not recommended if you are following a diet plan) these commercials for candy -- Nestle $100,000 bar (now known as 100 Grand) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrRkqGzCC4s and 3 Musketeers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvYviTX0LzM , and snack cakes, in this case Hostess Ding Dongs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiRcQVzN01A
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