Remember Mikey, the quintessential picky eater who hated everything - except Life cereal? Well, Quaker Oats is reviving the 1970s finicky frontman to boost sales for another one of its products, Snapple beverages.
The revival, believed to be a Madison Avenue first, is part of Snapple's campaign to become No. 3 behind Coke and Pepsi.
The spot began airing in April. It's the exact same commercial: Two older boys egg Mikey on to try the new comestible. Except, instead of Life, Mikey tries Snapple. And in a modern twist, this time Mikey doesn't like it.
The point being: If you don't like one flavor, Snapple has 46 others for you to try. "Snapple understands that consumers are individuals with unique tastes, and we have a flavor for everyone," says Margaret Stender, Snapple's vice president of marketing.
Industrial Light and Magic, the special-effects company headed by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, created the spot using digital compositing - the process used in the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump." It's the first time the process has been used in an ad, says Michelle Schwartz, a Snapple spokeswoman, and the results are "really unbelievable. It's so real."
The ad has already garnered lots of attention from both consumers and the press. "Mikey was an icon from the '70s," Ms. Schwartz says. "People are excited to see him again."
While the commercial Mikey is still five years old and freckled as ever, his real-life counterpart is now all grown up. John Gilchrist, alias Mikey, works in radio sales in Manhattan and doesn't care to comment on the Mikey phenomenon.