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Devour Releases 'Porn'-Less SB Ad Version; Raises Issues With Real Porn-Site Ad Buy

Last week, Devour -- the three-year-old Kraft Heinz frozen meals brand aimed at hungry guys -- grabbed a whole lot of attention by releasing a 60-second, “uncensored” version of its 30-second Super Bowl LIII ad.

The reverse teaser strategy — releasing a longer, digital-only version first, with the explanation that it would be too risqué to air during the actual game — has generated more than 11.2 million views since it was posted on YouTube on January 23.

Now, the brand has released the actual Super Bowl ad (below). The TV version is a bit of a letdown — but more because we have already been exposed (so to speak) to the ad’s double entendres than because it’s been radically toned down.

Actually, most of the suggestive voiceover dialogue and vignettes — including a reference to a “three-minute man” and a failed lingerie seduction scene (above) — are still there, if edited for (so to speak) length. And at least on YouTube, both ads are titled "Devour Food Porn."

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The main change is in the wording of the opening statement by the woman who’s offering a reality TV-like confession. The longer version has her saying, “My boyfriend is addicted to frozen food porn.” In the TV version, she simply says, “My boyfriend has an addiction.”

Takeaway: The strategy was an effective ruse. 

But another aspect of the brand's game-ad strategy is raising eyebrows -- and questions about whether it might backfire.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Devour bought ads on a real pornography site, Pornhub, for one day as part of the supporting marketing for the Super Bowl ad. Brand ads headlined "See hot food porn now" appeared on the site this past Monday.

In a statement, the brand said: “Devour is explicitly talking about #Foodporn, which has become a cultural phenomenon with over 185MM posts on Instagram today,” adding: “This one-day activation is part of a humorous juxtaposition to highlight the concept of food porn that began with the release of the uncensored 60-second Big Game ad.” 

However, some contend that the stunt is irresponsible, as well as tasteless, at a time when most brands are being more vigilant than ever to avoid media where their ads could run near potentially offensive content. 

"I must admit that for me, this is a bridge too far," wrote Kevin Coupe, editor of the food industry newsletter Morning News Beat. "I wasn't offended by the 'racy' version of [Devour's Super Bowl] ad; I thought it was was reasonably clever in approach and execution. But I also took seriously email I got from MNB readers suggesting that at this point in history, where the exploitation and abuse of women is a front-and-center cultural issue, an ad making fun of pornography could be considered a little tone-deaf. 

"Paying to advertise on a real porn site, to my mind, is putting the company out on a limb that it may not want to be on, associating it with content that it needs not be. I cannot imagine that the one day of advertising generated a ton of sales, but it puts the brand at risk. It is too clever by half..."

As previously reported, the Super Bowl campaign, developed by David Miami, with social and digital activations by VaynerMedia, also includes a “1-83-FOODPORN” hotline offering "seductive descriptions of mouthwatering frozen meals"; a partnership in which Barstool Sports personalities will drive a Devour RV “man cave on wheels” to Atlanta; and a sweepstakes offering prizes of a freezer and a year’s supply of Devour frozen meals, as well as a grand prize of an “ultimate man cave.”

1 comment about "Devour Releases 'Porn'-Less SB Ad Version; Raises Issues With Real Porn-Site Ad Buy".
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  1. Chris Johnson from BDi LLC Broadcast-Design-Interactive, March 4, 2019 at 1:15 p.m.

    Let’s not be so highbrow about this. For over 30 years I ran radio stations and managed local morning shows. Anytime I heard the those shows delving into “toilet humor” I knew one thing for fact; they didn’t prepare. It was their lazy way out to rely on any sexual and/or bathroom-based humor. The concept of this campaign falls under the same principle. It has nothing to do with being “tone death” to current issues. The approach is simply the easiest route when lacking a truly creative concept.

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