Monthly Archives: October 2011
Since it’s close to Halloween I felt I should do one article on a Halloween related commercial before October is over. Who else would make a good subject for an article is none other than the Peanut Butter Crunch Zombies. The commercial starts with two boys watching something on TV during the night of a full moon. The scene is then cut to outside where we can hear the crunching sounds of the kids eating their cereal. The sounds of that crunching echos all the way to a graveyard where a decayed hand comes out of the ground. It wasn’t long until we see a street filled with zombies. Imagine Night of the Living Dead except all of the zombies crave for peanut butter crunch instead of human flesh. The zombies walked slowly down the street, all of them kept chanting the words “Peanut Butter Crunch”. We then see three knock down the door and the zombie resembling Behemoth from Nightmare Before Christmas minus the ax shouts out “Peanut Butter!…Crunch!”. This caused the two kids to scream in terror, as the zombies want their cereal except they’re all out. Both of the boys yelled out “Captain!” in hopes that our title character will save the day. And just as expected, the Captain comes driving down the street in his delivery van and briefly breaks the fourth wall by saying “Horrifying, isn’t it?” in a Tex Avery fashion. The Captain speeds up to the boys’ house and docks his van to the front door with a large stock of Peanut Butter Crunch. It was lucky he was in the neighborhood cause there’s no telling if the zombies themselves will switch from peanut butter crunch to human flesh. So in the end, the zombies have what they were craving for while the two boys and the Captain join in like it was an up all night party and the only snack is peanut butter crunch. Which sounds like a great party any kind of night.
This commercial first aired in 1995, and it aired almost like every Halloween throughout the mid-late 90s. Seriously I practically watched this commercial yearly until I knew the words by heart. It also changes the way I’ve seen zombies for a lifetime, excluding the time I first watched Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video as a kid. When viewing this commercial again I notice some details I over looked previously such as the zombie on the far left in the street trips off the skateboard and falls right on his back. Yet I kept rewatching the scene and I noticed that the zombie’s fall looked like it was done on purpose. If you watch closely you’d notice he paused for a second and then he stomp his left foot and then falls towards the lawn while the skateboard rolls a little towards the right. I’m guessing the lawn actually has a hidden mattress in order to insure the safety of the actor. But this is pure speculation, so I don’t really know the production to this commercial very well. I also noticed that Cap’n’s van’s license plate says “Sog Free” on it. As in the old saying for the cereal that it stays crunchy even in milk. I’ll be doing an article related to that slogan in another Cap’n Crunch related article. I always felt this was one of the most memorable commercials right next to the year when the Cap’n went missing and it turn out he visited the center of the Earth to help his Crunchling friends from their enemies(another article in the future). If you have the habit of chanting the words “Peanut Butter Crunch” in a slow pace, don’t worry you’re not the only one who’s been doing it all these years. Anyways enjoy the commercial.
After doing an article on Mac Tonight I decided to do another McDonalds mascot related article. In this case a group of characters from the McDonald Land series, the McNugget Buddies! Based off of the McNugget meal that was invented back in 1983. The characters themselves were created in 1988 as new characters of McDonald Land. They were small mcnugget shape puppets with eye balls, all voiced by Hal Rayle(better known as voice of Deep Six from G.I. Joe & Sweep from Transformers) in the commercials. There were many McNugget Buddies commercials that just featured them and Ronald or them along with the other McDonald Land citizens. A lot of the commercials for the McNuggets involves various puns and almost features them doing a sport or some kind of activity. A couple of them would mention the different types of McNugget sauces and meals like the 20 piece meal as oppose to the typical 9 piece meal. Not to mention these guys were popular enough for their own Happy Meal Toy versions. At least three different kinds over the years including Halloween editions. I still remember once owning a McNugget toy resembling Ronald McDonald.
The McNuggets also appeared as part of the cast of Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald direct to video specials. Which was animated by Klasy Scupe makers of Real Monsters, Duckman, & Rugrats. Only three McNugget Buddies were present and like most of the characters, they were redesigned the Klasy Scupe way. By making them look like a cross between a chicken and a mcnugget with color boots for shoes. This may seem weird, but I always thought they looked cool in their only cartoon form. Those three McNuggets I mentioned were voiced by three different actors rather than just one. They were Pamela Adlon(Quack Pack’s Dewey(The triplet who wears blue), Cousin Sow of Cow & Chicken, & Ket from Kiki’s Delivery Service), Lisa Raggio(Zarana from G.I. Joe), and THE Charlie Adler(Snively from SatAM Sonic the Hedgehog, Mr. Bighead from Rocko, Ickis from Real Monsters, & Original Buster Bunny from Tiny Toons). I did managed to get four out of the six direct to video specials, the reason why I never purchased the last two was cause my parents claimed it was babyish and I was too old to watch them. If it was Teletubbies, yes I would I agree. Except I never see those direct to video specials as being babyish, despite them being G rated quality animation.
Around the early 2000’s, the McNugget Buddies and the rest of the McDonaldland citizens disappeared from advertising. Then after that there’s no longer any character representing the Mcnugget product from what I’ve known. The McNugget Buddies will always be cherished by those who either like collecting the toys or seeing them on the commercials. I’m uncertain how many commercials they’ve been in but I did gather as many as I could down below for all of you to watch. I did discover a different McNugget related character, but that’s for another article.
I came across this commercial by accident when I type in Lost in Space Commercials on Youtube. So I decided to include it as this week’s article cause “A” it’s advertising a company that is unknown to America and “B” it has three recognizable robots. Which are Robot B9 from Lost in Space, John the Robot from “Planeta Bur”(Soviet Union Sci-Fi film that was Americanized into two films), and a Dalek from Doctor Who. The commercial opens with an office phone ringing and is answered by not a human hand, but the claw of Robot B9. It’s revealed the entire call center is occupied with nothing but machines as employees. Robot B9 answers the phone by saying “Your call is important to us, please press hash to continue” then he gives the phone to John the Robot. When John has the phone in his hand he simply says “Your call is complaced incompute, that’ll be a short wait”. After he says this he hands the phone to a Dalek, but sadly a Dalek has no hands so John ended up dropping the phone. The Dalek only starts to shout the words “Exterminate!” “Destroy!” and starts to shoot lasers at John. A fight is about to start in the office space while Robot B9 starts shouting “Your call is important to us” once more while John is left to defend for himself. While the caller who was on the phone probably hung up after not getting the service he or she are seeking. The scene immediately changes to a different office space featuring human operators who are all answering the incoming calls and giving the callers the service they are seeking. Then an Aussie accent announcer is heard saying “ANZ, Australia’s best call center, now convenitly open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”.
For those who don’t know ANZ is a bank company that is located within Australia, New Zealand and 25 other countries in the world. It’s the fourth biggest bank company in Australia with over 46,000 employees. The company is associated with the Nation Bank of New Zealand, largest bank in New Zealand, For more info on both banks look at the links below. I don’t feel like doing an Economic lecture, even if I did it be 100 times better than my last economics class. I disliked the teacher who taught that class. What I don’t get is he loathes George W. Bush, yet he loathes Michael Moore even though he’s made documentaries on George W. Bush’s embarrassing moments as President. So I’m guessing my Economics teacher was a Republican cause those who detest Moore are either Republican, Diplomat, or a CEO of a private company. I’m a huge fan of Moore cause he did things no other director has done. While I’m neutral on the opinion of whether George W. was good or bad at his job. Which is why Oliver Stone’s movie “W” was made for those either liked him or hate him. But enough with economics and politics let’s discuss this commercial.
As implied with what went on in this commercial, I’m guessing ANZ wanted to ensure the public that they have live operators to assist your questions or banking accounts over the phone without any hassle. Or in this case the depiction of a bank company that hired an Environmental Control Robot, A Soviet Union made robot, and a mutant cyborg from the planet Skaro as phone operators. Course who wouldn’t feel annoyed about average call centers not being run by live humans. We can’t rely on recordings or computerized operators to do everything for us when those contraptions have their flaws. Robot B9 was the reason I loved this commercial so much, since he’s one of the reasons I loved Lost in Space along with the one and only Dr. Zachery Smith. One of the best shows to air during the 60s. If I was given a choice between Lost and Space or Brady Bunch as the best family show from the 60s. I’d totally pick Lost in Space, cause a family, an air force pilot, a stowaway, and a robot traveling in space sounds more exciting than an over crowded family and a house maid having miscellaneous problems or record deals involving the six kids. I got nothing against Brady Bunch, but let’s say I used to think it was cool until I discover the 60s had better shows to offer. I’d like see Mike Brady operate the Jupiter II or fire a laser rifle. But anyways the only time I would watch Brady Bunch is for historical references cause it’s interesting what America was like during the final years of the Vietnam War.
Besides Robot B9 is John the Robot who starred in one Russia’s finest films during the Cold War “Planeta Bur”, which has been translated into many English titles like “Storm Planet”, “Planeta Burg”, “Planet of Storms”, “Planet of Tempests”, and finally “Cosmonauts on Venus”. It’s an interesting science fiction film made when the country was still under Soviet Union rule. Besides the science errors and the depiction of the planet Venus, I found John the Robot to be the most interesting character among the cast. I watched the film without knowing a word of Russian, so I only understood half of what’s going on in the movie. The movie’s enlisted in public domain so it’s easy to find for those who are interested in watching Russian movies. I’ve seen other Russians films besides this one, and I’ll tell you this is that the Russians have an unusual history of cinema. Such as 1965’s Jack frost which is so far the weirdest Russian movie I’ve seen so far. Planeta Bur did had an Americanized version, in fact two versions with edited footage from the original called “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” & “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women”.
The last robot or mutant cyborg featured as one of the operators is a Dalek. To be honest, I haven’t been caught up with the Doctor Who series so I’m no where close to being a Doctor Who expert. I apologize to every one of you who is a Doctor Who fan, but I only recalled seeing two episodes of it when there’s like thousands of episodes from the earliest series to the recent ones. I do understand that these Daleks are very iconic and are often used to represent the show along with that Police Booth, which made me think it was a phone booth at first glance(got embarrassed once when someone tried to convince me that Doctor Who doesn’t travel in a phone booth). There might be a time when I’ll get caught up with Doctor Who, but no sure when cause right now I’m busy watching X-Files for the first time and recently I considered getting caught up with Star Trek(no spoilers on that show or X-Files please).
So that’s the three main robots used for operators in this commercial. There were other robots in the commercial, except I don’t know if any of them were copyrighted robots. Cause the three I mentioned were the only ones I recognized. If I was able to make this commercial even better I’d include Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, Tom, Crow, & Gypsy from MST3K & both the original and new Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as phone operators. The reason for why ANZ only used three copyrighted robots is either cause all three of them are famous in Australia or they were they easy to obtain for the commercial. I’m not sure if Planeta Bur has any exposure down under, but I do know Lost in Space & Doctor Who both have fan bases in Australia including various Sci-Fi conventions that had the remain cast of Lost in Space as guests of honor.
This is one of the most unrecognizable pizza mascots of all time. Right next to Domino’s Domino & Sunny the Monkey(I’ll save those two for another article). Dr. Cravin was an action figure who stalks Domino’s Delivery People whether by bike or car. Every attempt always leads to failure for Dr. Cravin. I only remembered three commercials on this guy. That includes one with him in a car, one with him on a bike, and another where he ended up in a pig pen. Dr. Cravin was only 5 inches tall and his occupation is a spy, but he isn’t that good at stealth or stagedy when attempting to steal a pizza box. He also sounds a lot like Solid Snake from the Metal Gear franchise, but not sure if there’s any connections or just simply coincidental. But I do know he was created by the Character Shop the same company that created the Budweiser Frog characters. While the idea of Dr. Cravin might have been inspired by KaBlam’s Action League Now due to the similarity in the use of chuckimation(mix of stop motion and live action). I found only the car commercial from a youtube video that shows commercials shown during Keenan & Kel(which was a cool show back in its day). The video is better than nothing and proof I’m not fabricating the existence of these commercials. Anyways due to lack of origin on Dr. Cravin I’m only able to speculate on what went on in the minds of the Domino’s company higher-ups at the time. To me it was like Dominos attempted to promote an action figure that also serves as their mascot. But I got no info if there was any production of Dr. Cravin action figures. If so, where are they? Are they located inside the warehouse next to the Ark of the Convenant? Or are they located in someone’s basement along with the long-lost “Spider-Pit” scene from the original King Kong? This is only a speculation so even I’m not sure if such a stash of action figures exist. If they did, imagine how awesome it would have been to own your very own Dr. Cravin? Anyways I manage to make this at least a paragraph for all of you to enjoy and next week I’ll be doing an Australian commercial. Until then enjoy the car commercial of Dr Cravin below. It’s after the TV ad for the 1998 Godzilla movie.