Monday, May 27, 2013

Weiner: Missing Classic Ad Doubleness & the power of "Retsyn"

The Mad Men recap factory is enjoying the doubleness Weiner wrote into the Mad Men episode "The Better Half."  But for a guy whose show is about advertising, he missed the chance to evoke his themes using the products and classic ads he grew up with, and that his characters would know very well.

Certs: Two, Two, Two Mints in One
Certs is the product embodiment of this episode's theme, as summed up by Alan Sepinwall: "The Better Half" was an episode about the two sides of ourselves — the person we think we are versus the person others see, or the person we are at work versus at home — and yet another sixth season episode loaded with doppelgangers and time-displaced versions of the same characters." 

The twin blondes in the 50s polka dots dresses is one of the early Certs commercials. The classic line remembered is

"Two [click] Two [click] two mints in one"

which was used for the campaign for years.  I never really knew what that meant, what are the 2 things? Here is the answer:

Twin #1: "Certs is a candy mint"
Twin #3: "Certs is a breath mint"

Voiceover: "Stop. You're both right. New Certs is two mints in one. Stops bad breath in seconds, the tastiest mint of all"

This of course lead to one of SNL's golden-age sketches:
"It's a floor wax"
"No, it's a dessert topping"

"Calm down you two. New Shimmer is a floor wax AND a dessert topping"

The specifics of the two sides of Certs were dropped in the 1970s versions, except for the all-important Retsyn, which is one of those ridiculous things that has stayed in my head.

Certs has a "golden drop of retsyn, the miracle breath purifier that makes your breath clean and fresh"

Certs: The Date
I have no memory of this side of the Certs campaign:

If he kissed you once, will he kiss you again? Be certain with certs. The delicious tasting candy mint that makes your breath as sweet as your smile

With Certs, if you kissed you once, he'll do it again. Make certain with Certs.

Doublemint Gum
The glory days of the Doublemint Twins started in the 70s, but the idea and an early version of the jingle were around in the 60s:

Double your pleasure, double your fun
With doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint gum

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
The episode opens with Don & Ted are in a creative thrown down on how to approach the new account, for Fleischmann's margarine. Weiner has consistently withheld the creative successes of the era from Don: no American Airlines; getting Chevy, but for the Vega; and now Fleischmann's, when history dubbed that these ads would be remembered.

Imperial Margarine
"It's flavor fit for a king"

Chiffon Margarine
"This can't be margarine. It's too sweet, too creamy" 
"Oh, It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"

And, for the record, the pich for both is solidly built on taste, not cost. Point to Don.