Follow TV Tropes


Advertising / The Simpsons

Go To
The Simpsons is a very profitable series that has very many advertising campaigns based on it (the majority of which are archived as special features on the season DVD releases).

  • 1-800-Collect
  • Burger King ads for both Simpsons-themed kids meals as well as The Simpsons Movie
  • Coca-Cola
  • Many, many Butterfinger advertisements. This campaign is by far the most well-known Simpsons advertising campaign.
  • Many channel bumpers and promos for Fox, BBC, Channel 4 and others
  • MasterCard
  • Intel
  • Multiple CC-Lemon commercials. These are very well-known in Japan.
  • Multiple CC's crisps (no relation) commercials for Australia
  • Two Church's Chicken commercials
  • Domino's Pizza
  • Frito Lay
  • Universal Studios
  • A couple of Canadian KFC commercials
  • Toyota, which like the KFC ads, were made for the Canadian market
  • Tic-Tacs
  • Vizir Detergent, made for France
  • Toy Commercials from Mattel and Playmates Toys
  • Ramada Hotels
  • TGI Fridays
  • De Toditos crisps for Latin America
  • Mister Donut, also for the Japan market
  • Wonderful Pistachios
  • Subaru
  • Renault
  • Disney+

Tropes used in The Simpsons' advertising campaigns

  • All Just a Dream:
    • Bart has a nightmare that the Kwik-E-Mart is fresh out of Butterfinger bars and that Nelson gives him "four-fingers".
    • An older advertisement places Bart in a nightmare that his family ties him to his bed and raids his drawer of his Butterfinger BB's,note  with help from Krusty, Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Otto.
  • Animated Outtakes: Homer attempts to pitch the Ultimate Double Whopper.
  • Art Shift: The earliest Butterfinger commercials were produced by Varga Studio instead of AKOM (then the show's primary overseas contractor), resulting in a style not too dissimilar to Season 1 even when the show evolved from that look. Later ads, both for the Butterfinger campaign and elsewhere, are more in line with the show itself and are (usually) animated by Rough Draft Studios.
  • Bee Afraid: In the MasterCard commercial, Homer has bees coming out of his car's oil tank and going for the donut he was eating, causing him to scream, "Ah! Bees!", drop the donut, and run off, which prompts the bees to fly after him after the donut hits the ground off-screen.
  • Big Eater: Homer, naturally, has this trait played up in several of the food-related commercials.
  • Big Word Shout:
    Lisa: Dad says if you make us scream, you're dead meat.
    Bart: You wouldn't scream.
    Lisa: (takes deep breath) DAAAAAAD!!
    (Bart, panicking, puts piece of Butterfinger in Lisa's mouth)
    Homer: Now, what?!
    Lisa: (with her mouth full) Never mind.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In the De Toditos commercial, Nelson tries to swing a punch at Ralph but hits a mailbox. Ralph does Nelson's signature "Ha-ha!" to him. It becomes even funnier when you remember that Nancy Cartwright voices both characters.
  • Butt-Monkey: Homer in pretty much all of these commercials. Bart also winds up on the receiving end in the Mattel toy commercial.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Milhouse first appeared in a 1988 Butterfinger commercial, a year before his actual debut on the show.
  • Exact Words: This gem, which also doubles as a Call-Back to Season 1's "Bart the General":
    Homer: "I'm gonna open my mouth and close my eyes and you're gonna give me a big surprise." (Bart sticks Maggie's pacifier in Homer's mouth)
    • In another commercial, Bart's playing a Baseball game, and Homer seizes the opportunity to take his Butterfinger bar. Otto yells "Hit a homer, dude!" Bart hits the ball, and it goes into the bleachers... which hits Homer (complete with "D'oh!"), who drops the Butterfinger bar back into Bart's hands.
    • In one ad for Ritz Bits S'Mores, Comic Book Guy offers Bart a chocolate Radioactive Man statue and a copy of Radioactive Man #1 for "the box". When he receives it, he complains the box is empty, with Bart pointing out the box was all he technically asked for. "Worst. Trade. Ever."
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Homer getting Bart's Butterfinger bars. Hell, anyone trying to get Bart's Butterfingers. Akira, a skilled karate fighter, gets absolutely destroyed when he attempts to take Bart's Butterfinger. Subverted with Lisa and Maggie, both of whom were shown to actually succeed in getting Bart's Butterfinger a few times, and Bart was also shown sharing his Butterfingers with his sisters a few times without hesitation.
    • Any commercial involving Homer and food will inevitably end this way, as best exemplified with the KFC and Church's Chicken commercials.
  • Five-Second Rule: In a Burger King commercial, Homer is promoting a Whopper yet keeps messing up the take. In one of the outtakes he accidentally knocks the burger on the floor and quickly picks up the patty claiming "3 second rule" before eating it.
  • Follow the Leader: Burger King featured the first Simpsons related ads during the first season, one for plush versions of the family and one for kids meal toys based on the Camping episode.
  • I'll Be Your Best Friend: Milhouse attempts to get Bart's Butterfinger by offering to be his best friend, only for Bart to say that he already is.
  • Interactive Narrator: Homer is repeatedly pestered by the narrator in the MasterCard commercial to spend time with his family instead of the various errands and recreation he partakes in.
    • Medium Awareness: Homer also notices the two donuts turning into the MasterCard logo at the end.
    Homer: Ooh. It's- aw.
  • I Warned You: Bart does this to Homer when Homer tries to take a booby-trapped Butterfinger that gives Homer an electric shock.
    Bart: I told you, Homer.note 
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Bart claims that the "four food groups" are the sandwich group, cow group (i.e. milk), jungle group (i.e. a banana), and the Butterfinger group claiming that it "provides the crunchy peanut butter and chocolaty taste essential for survival".
    Milhouse: I don't have the Butterfinger group.
    Bart: Looks like you could die of malnutrition, dude.
  • Latex Perfection: In 1993, the culprit of the "Who Laid a Finger on Bart's Butterfinger" sweepstakes seemed to be Homer Simpson, until Maggie noticed the large red clown shoes and pulled the latex mask off "Homer" to reveal Krusty the Clown, the true thief.
  • Logo Joke: At the end of the Intel commercial, the last note of the famous Intel Inside jingle is replaced by Homer's "D'oh".
  • Medium Blending/Roger Rabbit Effect: A few times:
    • The Fall 1990 Fox network promo features Homer and Bart interacting with their live-action surroundings, complete with Homer being shoved off screen by a swinging TV.
    • A commercial for the Renault Kangoo features the family interacting with a live-action setting. Homer even giving the dealer a (still animated) donut at one point.
    • The Burger King campaign for the movie also has Kang and Kodos turn a bunch of real-life people into animated Simpsons counterparts in one of the ads.
    • Inverted with the Toyota commercials, with the real cars featured instead being inserted into the animation.
  • Mistaken for Thief: Homer mistakenly believes he stole a free bottle of 7UP that comes with his KFC combo in one ad. It ends with him getting stuck in the window of the restaurant's washroom.
  • Mugshot Montage: Done in the first ad of 1993's "Who Laid a Finger on Bart's Butterfinger" sweepstakes, with the suspects being Otto, Lisa, Krusty the Clown, Nelson Muntz, Mr. Burns and Homer (holding his name upside-down). The second ad revealed the culprit was Krusty, disguised as Homer.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Homer walks out of the house without his pants in a CC-Lemon commercial.
    • "CC's Dare 2": Homer runs through the power plant completely nude. He then trips on a power cord, causing a city-wide blackout.
    • Homer loses his swim shorts in "CC's Dare 23".
    • Homer gets down to his underwear in the Ultimate Double Whopper ad, as he sweats when he eats.
    • The commercials for Vizir detergent regularly features the family, though usually Bart and Homer, nude.
  • Recognition Failure: Averted in one of the KFC commercials, when Mr. Burns instantly recognizes Homer when they end up at the same restaurant.
  • Riches to Rags: Mr. Burns ends up losing everything this way in the Coca-Cola commercial.
  • Shaped Like Itself: From the 1-800 Collect commercial:
    Homer: Ah, the Grand Canyon. What a...grand...canyon.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase:
    Announcer: Peanut buttery Butterfinger.
    Bart: It's neato!
    Announcer: (laughs) And it's neato.
    • This is later changed to the more familiar "Nobody better lay a fingernote  on my Butterfinger."note 
      • This later got changed to "Bite my Butterfinger" and then "Nothing like a Butterfinger"; both tended to be accompanied by Harry Shearer/Kent Brockman noting "From Nestle!" (Nestle only acquired Butterfinger {and Baby Ruth, for that matter} in 1990; prior to that, they were owned by Nabisco, so they were likely trying to make people more aware they owned it).
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Homer cannonballs in the ocean off a cliff in "CC's Dare 23". He loses his swim trunks.
  • Split-Screen Reaction: Bart and Homer get one when they hear the supermarket they're shopping at only has one Butterfinger left.
  • Splitting Pants: Happens to Comic Book Guy at the end of the Ritz Bits S'Mores commercial.
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel meet this fate when Bart catches them breaking into his locker to steal his Butterfingers. Cue crowd of pointing and laughing students.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Bart exclaims "How much luckier could a kid get?" when a Church's bag falls in his hand. Then a piggy bank (not knowing it's actually his, being oblivious to Homer's attempts to get Church's chicken) also falls into his hand, to which Bart comments, "That'll work."
    • In a KFC commercial, Mr. Burns is in the midst of a vow to Mr. Smithers that he'll do something if he sees Homer's face again, only to notice that the promotional collector's cup (from a set of four a bonus for purchasing a popcorn chicken combo) he got has Homer's face on it.
  • Tunnel King: Homer in one of the KFC commercials goes through one to get to the restaurant.
  • Universal Driver's License: Homer uses a motorcycle to get to a KFC near the Power Plant in one spot.
  • The Voiceless: Any rare appearance of Marge in the Butterfinger commercials will have her as this, as her voice actress, Julie Kavner, has never lent her voice to any of the commercials.note 
    • It may also explain why any commercial originated outside the English-speaking countries that featured talking Marge Simpson, such as the French Renault Kangoo one, lacks English dubs.
  • We Interrupt This Program: Invoked by Bart in the 1990 Fall Fox network promo by interrupting the band at the beginning to talk about the "Bart Simpson Time Machine".