As I’m still recovering from going to WonderCon for CBR, the last of the Special Review Unit Top Five will have to wait until next week. Instead, I’m going to briefly talk about what I think is the greatest commercial ever aired:
Consider the conceit of this ad: A little kid KNOWS WHO ROBERT LOGGIA IS! Apparently, the makers of the ad intended it to be a parody of celebrity endorsements, but there is some sublime genius in the mixture of a little kid and “Over The Top” star Mr. Loggia.
The ad asks you to accept three impossible things before breakfast. At the time the ad was airing, Loggia was best known in my circle as the guy that savagely beat up some dude on Mulholland in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” so at the time, it was entirely possible for Mr. Loggia to tenderize the kid with the carton of orange juice. In order for this ad to work you must first a.) accept the kid is aware of Robert Loggia, b.) respects his opinion and c.) Mr. Loggia doesn’t do the boy grievous bodily harm. Not even Don Draper could think on this Dadaist level of advertising insanity.
In the hazy days before YouTube, I thought perhaps I was the only one who remembered. Turns out I’m not alone. This commercial bonds people. Fellow Satellite Show writer Tim Bennett and I discussed this silly ad the first time we met (which I think was in the line for the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland). When I worked at a now shuttered game company, I mentioned the video to a co-worked and she immediately recognized my reference and shouted “Billy!” in her best Loggia-esque voice.
I have no idea if the product is still available as Minute Maid seems to change its focus ever three minutes. I discovered over the weekend that they make industrial smoothie mixers for fast food chains. Whether or not kids can still get extra calcium from their orange juice is actually tangential to the core of the ad. The whole thing is sketch comedy a big bad corporation paid for. It hit its niche square in the jaw and became something well beyond what a commercial should be.
It became art.