January 14, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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See throwback ads from ABC special

Consumer brands rewound their clocks to the 1980s for a series of ads accompanying “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy Award-winning reboot of classic television sitcoms.

The throwback shows and accompanying ads debuted Tuesday evening on ABC and will be available to view on Hulu beginning Wednesday. The program cast stars like John Lithgow, Jennifer Anniston and Kevin Hart performing live versions of classic episodes of the 1980s sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.”

Maximum Effort, Ryan Reynolds’ ad agency and production company, partnered with internal teams at Kraft Heinz, Aviation Gin (which Reynolds owns), and Jack in the Box to create the new-meets-old experience. The commercials feature a VHS-like production quality, complete with a faint buzz, horizontal tracking lines, and an old-school 4:3 aspect ratio, making the ads seem as though they played on a rabbit-eared Zenith console, completing the presentation.

See Ad Age’s 2021 Year in Review here.

A spot for Heinz Ketchup mimics the opening, and the overheated drama, of the classic soap opera “The Days of Our Lives.” “Like ketchup through the bottle, this is “The Wait of the World,” a voice-over says as the condiment slowly emerges from an overturned bottle. A man and a woman are then shown at opposite ends of a dining table, each awaiting a dollop of ketchup onto a waiting burger. When it finally makes contact, so too does the drama in a rapid-fire exchange of outrageous confessions.

The man is played by Alfonso Ribeiro, whose ’80s acting credentials include years on the sitcom “Silver Spoons.”