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InADequacy: Paul Stanley's Folgers Coffee Commercial

  • Farmhouse Creative Firm Memphis
    InADequacy: Paul Stanley's Folgers Coffee Commercial
    Authored by : Ben Fant
    Monday, December 22, 2014

    We can't necessarily call an ad like this "bad," because honestly, it's doing its job. We are talking about it. But the attention an ad like this gets, is for all the wrong reasons, and I am sure the agency that created it knew this wasn't their best effort.

    KISS Starchild, Paul Stanley was contacted by Folgers to make this commercial in 2000. According to Stanley, he was happy to work on the project, saying, 'Why not?' I wasn't at all concerned with who thinks it is okay or not okay, cool, not cool, rock 'n' roll or not. I had a blast doing it, and, like I said, isn't that what this is all about?"

    Well, that's a darn good attitude about it. But obviously, the ad still turned into an odd mix of weird and peculiar. The commercial has Stanley, without his iconic and obvious KISS makeup, inexplicably entering an old circus tent, coffee cup securely clutched between two hands. The tent features trapeze artists practicing, and the copy that Stanley sings is:

    "This is your wake up call / Time to reach and go for it all / Folgers stirs inside of me and I know what I can be. Limit is the sky / Hey world, watch me fly."

    The trapeze artists successfully land their stunt and the camera returns to Stanley who strongly belts the all important jingle, "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup,"  and performs some sort of magician-like pose and disappears.

    The commercial never aired as focus groups noted, "Who is the old, creepy guy?"

    Definitely an odd advertisement altogether. It begs more questions than it could possibly answer. Why did the agency contact Stanley? It wasn't as if KISS was at the top of their game in 2000. And if they were going to use someone from KISS, wouldn't they want them in full KISS garb? That's kind of their recognizable feature. But even if you look past that, what's with the setting of the ad? A circus? If they were going to use a rock n' roll star, wouldn't they want to show how he personally enjoys Folgers on the road, before performances, at home relaxing, whatever the case may be. Why did they take this rock icon and put him in a role? And what are we to glean from the circus analogy? Or was the agency trying to target the 13 people in the world who like both KISS and trapeze artists?

    At the time, obviously the ad was a failure. They scrapped it, and all of the production costs and time were lost. But now, the ad has been resurrected. People are sharing it and talking about it. So it is doing its job... 14 years later.

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