I Sat Through This Commercial Because of Vicki

Every once in a while, I like to profile a good advertisement here on the blog. After all, I do appreciate when people go through the bother of trying to create something worth watching when they sell their crap to me.  It’s nice when people put effort into something that would normally be odious.  This is one of those times.

121.  Orange’s Wicked Witch Ad

You know an ad campaign has done its job when there’s a Facebook group dedicated to it.  Actually, there’ s more than one dedicated to this commercial.  Impressive.

Before I show the ad, a bit of back story:  Orange is a cell-phone provider here in The UK.  They hatched a brilliant scheme/incentive to rope in new customers:  Sell an exclusive 2 for 1 deal on cinema tickets every Wednesday.  It’s called Orange Wednesday and if you text the word ‘film’ to Orange from your Orange mobile phone, they text you back a coupon code that your ticket booth will use to grant you a free ticket (with the purchase of one).  I use it all the time.  Paying half price for a movie ticket takes the sting away if the movie winds up being a rotten tomato.

Yes, these tickets look more like ones for a carnival ride and less like those used in modern multi-plexes, but Google Image is a harsh mistress sometimes, OK?

This particular commercial is a new entry into a canon of rather successful ‘2 for 1’ ads.  The series has had such an impact that The Guardian even wrote about the perceived success of the long-standing campaign.  Guardian article Brennan Brown, an American character actor, stars as Mr. Dresdan–a smooth talking producer of Hollywood’s worst films (it would seem).  The Mr. Dresdan ads always feature a sort of B-list celebrity that Mr. Dresden has suckered into starring in his awful Orange-product themed film.  They’ve had Steven Seagal, Emilio Estevez, Val Kilmer, Macauley Culkin, and…a real coup here…A-listers Sigourney Weaver and Anjelica Houston.

Brown is the one in the middle…a bit Kevin Spacey-esque, yes?

Let me show you a sample before I unveil today’s great thing.  This one stars Mena Suvari:

The ads are charming in a self-aware sort of way and sometimes the Hollywood satire is dead on.  Brennan Brown, I think you’ll agree, is a crucial component behind the success of this campaign.  He’s just a good actor who knows his way around a bit of comedy.  However, the campaign’s been going now for a good four years–at least–and whilst I’m in no hurry to see them ditch it entirely, today’s great thing is a fun new direction.

OK, enough preamble.  I hate it when people put my expectations too high.  Here’s the clip.

So cute and funny, yes?  I had a hell of a time trying to track down the names of the actresses in this spot.  The advertising trades care less about the talent and more about production houses–Fallon, a London agency, made this, by the way.  But, I believe Vicki is played by Catherine Steadman and the witch is Rachel Edwards, who was selected, partially, because she bears a resemblance to Margaret Hamilton (the original wicked witch).  The two work really well together.  I think my favorite bits are when the electricity shoots out of the witch’s fingertips after she’s smashed in the face with leaves.  I also like when Vicki suggests that the witch should “use a scoop”.

I hope we see a few more with this duo OR at the very least, similarly funny pairings of average citizens/iconic movie characters.  It’s a solid concept with room for growth.  I’d almost go as far as saying I’d watch these two in a sitcom…but we all know what happened with the Geico cavemen.

7 responses to “I Sat Through This Commercial Because of Vicki”

  1. Those flying monkeys always scared the Be-Jesus out of me. Just creepy, but not as creepy as the King in the Burger King commercials.

    1. You’re right about the Burger King. Do you think his creepiness works in a subversive advertising sort of way? I’m on the fence.

      1. You mean like, scaring me into eating their food or I like scary movies, so I want to see more?

        I think he is creepy like the relative you see only at funerals or weddings, and they’re really touchy and grabby. Then they make comments like, “When I last saw your daughter, she was so small. Now she’s all grown up and a sexy woman.”
        That’s the kind of creepy I’m talking about.

      2. Hahahaha! Yeah, I guess that kind of creepy is less effective at getting people to eat their foodstuffs. I think the best fast food mascots of all time have to be the McDonald’s characters…especially Mayor MacCheese and Grimace.

  2. I always wondered, what the fudge pops is Grimace? There are so many paradoxical characters with McDonalds I think anything could happen. For example Mayor McCheese is a cheeseburger, but isn’t he concerned the hamburgler might eat his head? If you recall Grimace use to always pig-out on the McDonald’s food. Aren’t any of his friends, like the fry guys scared to death to be around him?

    1. You make good points. It’s a wonder that there isn’t more ‘friend-eating’ in the McDonald’s world. Early Birdie was just a giant mcnugget waiting to happen. Am I wrong in thinking that Grimace was supposed to be a shill for McDonald’s awful awful milkshakes? But why is he called Grimace? That’s like having a foodie mascot called ‘spite’ or something.
      Wait a second…you have to read the description of Grimace I just Wikipediaed. It explains so much but raises a multitude of new questions:

  3. Truly disturbing.
    I one time thought that my family put the “Q” in “dysfunqtional”, but the McDonald’s family has me beat.

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