Evil Clowns Have No Place In Tea Advertising

Here's a column I never thought I'd have to write: One in which I present the pros and cons of including malevolent clowns and aquatic hellscapes in brand videos for tea.

On one hand, it's like, "Dude, genteel tea-sippers are set in their genteel-tea-sipping ways. If we jolt them out of their well-mannered malaise, they'll wag a stern finger in our general direction." But on the other, there's something to be said for recasting a beverage usually celebrated for its calming properties as nightmare broth, courtesy of thrashing succubae who shriek wordlessly as the oxygen empties from their lungs and they descend towards a watery grave.

It's a tough call; I see both sides of the argument. But after much deliberation and a quick consult with a child psychiatrist, I've arrived at the conclusion that there's no place for menacing clowns in brand videos for tea, just as there's no place for voodoo priests practiced in the art of poultry decapitation or footage of airplane crashes set to the dulcet strains of Rammstein's "Du Hast." Tea marketing should be a little less… what's the phrase I'm looking for here? "Willfully trauma-inducing," maybe? Hey, it's just one guy's opinion.

Judging by this new clip, however, the brand minions/psychosis-porn aficionados at Herbaria Tea disagree. Which is totally cool, because that's what makes this country great - respectful Internet debate about divergent opinions and brand videos for tea in which clowns have fangs.

Nonetheless, in the wake of the Herbaria clip, I think it's high time to review the rules for clown comportment, decorum and governance in brand videos for tea. It's been too long. Consider this a refresher course.

1. In brand videos for tea, clowns should not be featured in a state of deathly peril. Or in any peril at all, really. They're clowns. Clowns are happy and make balloon animals, which delight the child inside us all.

2. In brand videos for tea, clowns should not be equipped with razor-honed mandibles, the kind genetically engineered to tear flesh and sinew off the bones of cherub-cheeked innocents. Rather, they should wear a honkable red nose and floppy shoes… unless they're advertising Coors Light or the Olive Garden, in which case they should self-accessorize with death-laser nostrils.

2a. In brand videos for tea, clowns should not wear makeup that suggests malice or an impurity of spirit. Turn that painted-on frown upside down. Trade the black lipstick for some perky pink or luscious lilac.

3. In brand videos for tea, clowns should not be paired with masked bogeymen wielding chainsaws, faceless demon spawn and a Voldemort-looking guy. This one's self-explanatory.

4. In brand videos for tea, clowns should hear something other than discordant orchestral squeals as they thrash beneath the surface of the sea, their very survival becoming more improbable by the second. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned circus music? Heck, "The Tears of a Clown" might not send the right message from a lyrical perspective, but it's got that lilting fife-y thing going on in the intro. Fifes are a happy instrument, just as clowns are a happy species.

5. In brand videos for tea, clowns should not die horrible deaths. Nor should their harrowing underwater demises be appended with tag phrases as punny as "drown your fears." Rather, there should be montages culled from the many appearances in which the clown - who's alive and retiring to Naples, not dead and about to become an hors d'oeuvre for an oceanic predator, thank you very much - made lots of people smile.

Got it? Just checking. Thank you.

5 comments about "Evil Clowns Have No Place In Tea Advertising".
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  1. Andrew Boer from MovableMedia, February 7, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.

    It does have that light, whimsical touch that I often associate with Germany.

  2. Jim Shanklin from Festival Transaction Services, Inc., February 7, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.

    Somewhere on that agency team is one helluva of a salesman. Won't be long before the client rues that day.

  3. John Mallen from JMC Marketing Communications, February 7, 2013 at 6:23 p.m.

    Sipping a lemon-ginger brew, with all due respect to your views, must say I like the ad!

  4. Tom Francoeur from Communispace, February 7, 2013 at 10:27 p.m.

    Ok, that was cool, but terrifying. I get the message, but I don't think their target market will really want to associate tea drinking with drowning clowns.

  5. Chuck Lantz from, network, February 8, 2013 at 4:22 a.m.

    Since at least 99.9% of all clowns deserve the horrible fate shown in the ad, I'm planning on buying a box of Herbia tea first thing tomorrow morning.

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