In a perhaps-inevitable latest iteration of marketers' use of '60s and '70s culture to woo Baby Boomers to food products with digestive and other health-oriented benefits, General Mills has launched videos featuring Cheech & Chong promoting its new Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies.
The multiple videos are positioned as a trailer and clips from the comedy duo's first (imaginary) "epic" in 28 years: "Cheech & Chong's Magic Brownie Adventure." On their way to deliver a truckful of the magic brownies to "Burning Pole" (a "crazy desert festival"), the two have various adventures, including freaking out a family just trying to see the Grand Canyon.
The creative, of course, indirectly alludes to the pair's famous shtick: befuddlement borne of too much fondness for cannabis. The twist/joke is summed up in the tagline: "Now that you're getting older, you need a new kind of magic from your brownie"... namely, fiber (along with low calories and "chewy, chocolately" taste). In one clip, Tommy Chong urges viewers to "Get high on fiber."
The campaign, created with Publicis Modem New York, aims to create buzz among media influencers as well as Boomers, Fiber One marketing manager Jim Wilson told ClickZ. The brand is testing the waters via digital-only media elements, but may expand the campaign if it produces enough viral impact, he said.
The videos are embedded in the campaign's microsite (fiberone.com/ magicbrownie) and posted on YouTube. The "trailer" version has pulled more than 73,000 views since being posted on Sept. 12.
The videos are also being promoted on the brand's main site and Facebook page, and through Twitter and online display ads on General Mills-sponsored Yahoo Boomer site Vitality.
Judging from comments on Facebook, not everyone seems to be getting the joke. Examples: "If they really r making a New movie how Awesome..."; "By magic, you really mean pot?"; and "I am scared of magic in my brownies!!!" Also, not all who are getting it find it amusing. One poster noted that the thinly disguised allusions to pot must mean that Fiber one isn't for kids and families. Another wrote: "This is soooooo inappropriate and makes Fiber One, as a brand, look trashy and ghetto." Some are just gripes about how frequently the brand is promoting the product on Facebook. However, most of the feedback about the videos and/or product is positive: "Brilliant;" "Love it"; "It's a damn good brownie, just not so magical"; "I bought a pkg today, plan to try in the morning."