To promote “Tomcat Advanced Formula” as the “newest and tastiest” option on its mouse-killing menu, ScottsMiracle-Gro has opened a new fictional restaurant -- the Tomcat Bistro -- in quirky :30 and :15 spots from VaynerMedia.
The Halloween-month commercials, which combine humanized animated mice with a catchy jingle and a horror movie feel, are decidedly not for everyone.
PETA vice president Tracy Reiman, in a statement to Marketing Daily, claimed the ads contain “offensive joking about poisoning animals to convulse, vomit, and bleed internally to death.”
PETA’s war against ScottsMiracle-Gro had already escalated in July when the group filed an FTC complaint that Tomcat’s glue traps violate California’s cruelty-to-animals law.
A Scotts-Miracle-Gro spokesperson framed the issue as mouse vs. human, telling Marketing Daily that "rodent infestations can happen to anyone and when it does, it can bring with it the risk of disease, food contamination, and property damage and destruction. To help our consumers address rodent issues, Tomcat offers a full line of product options to select from."
The latest option, Tomcat Advanced, is not only “tastier” but come in a purple color that delights the new campaign’s unsuspecting “mice.”
The jingle – which includes such lyrics as “It’s heaven in a bite” and “we’ll make the best meal the last” -- is from The Music Playground, with the anthropomorphic animation directed by Anthony Farquhar-Smith of Not to Scale Production Company
The spots, running through Nov. 12, are part of a campaign targeted to millennial homeowners, urban apartment dwellers and other purchasers of pest control products, VaynerMedia said. Media include Facebook, Instagram and OTT services like Hulu, Discovery, Sling, CW, A&E, AT&T, NHL, AMC, Viacom and Amazon.
Tomcat isn’t new to using animated mice in its advertising. Indeed, in a 2014 campaign from Barton F. Graf 9000 titled “Dead Mouse Theater,” the animated mice were already dead.