Chester Cheetah in CG

Chester Cheetah

Speaking of creepy CG translations of 2D characters, the new adult-targeted Cheetos ad campaign starring Chester Cheetah is highly questionable, not only because of its mean-spirited and unfunny message but also for its incredibly poor and unappealing animation. The integration into the live-action is particularly weak, and the character’s scaling into the real-world looks wrong, probably because our eyes have difficulty accepting an adult cheetah the size of a domesticated cat.

Slate magazine, on the other hand, loves the ads calling them “delightfully creepy.” Watch one of the spots below and two more here and here.

(Thanks, Jessica Plummer)


  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    I gotta go with “delightfully creepy”, too. Saw one for the first time last night. It was so messed up, I liked it. The cheetah was giving some woman a suggestive shoulder massage. It looked like an ice-cold shock of a nightmare. Dunno the context. Sound was off. Cool stuff.

  • http://www.starfieldcreations.com awd!

    …Wow… Mean spirited is right. So Chester promotes revenge for petty squabbles, huh? But its not like I like Cheetos anyway.

    Chester looks like a puppet controlled by wire.

  • Scott

    I kinda like them. I went to the laundry mat with my girlfriend and when some guy cut us off to get the machine we both referred back to the commercial and wish we had cheetos which to me is successful marketing

  • http://www.owlboy.com/ OwlBoy

    Hey, thats the girl from that online show called ‘The Guild’

    http://www.watchtheguild.com/ (seems down at time of posting, getting real popular)

    here is the first episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grCTXGW3sxQ

    Not really cartoon related, but related to that ad :)

  • Mary

    I will never EVER eat another cheetos. GOD those are awful.

  • http://www.robotjohnny.com John

    I like them, too. The scale and limited animation makes it look like puppetry almost. I don’t know if that as the intent, but it works for me!

  • http://siskavard.blogspot.com Corey

    The real message is that cheetos are better off being used outside of the human digestive system instead of in it. Like an old instructor used to say to me “dont eat cheetos, that color isn’t even found in nature!”

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    I love these spots. I don’t think they were concerned with selling the Cheetah as a real character in the scene, since it’s supposed to be an hallucination of psychotic episode borne out of anger or whatever.

    Lighten up, evvabuddy!

  • Christopher Olson

    That’s not as bad as the Kraft Dinner ad where a moth flies into a bug zapper and lands on a guy’s bowl of KD… and then he eats it. Because, you know, the bug was probably nutritious. So why does this make me want to have Kraft Dinner, exactly?

  • http://www.seanvec.com sean

    i totally agree. i saw one of these commercials the other day and couldnt believe how mean it was. theyre also really trying to be weird, which never works out well. thats bad animation aside. my complete distaste for cheetos has nothing to do with this opinion either.

  • http://awprunes.wordpress.com/ Larry Levine

    This ad makes me glad I’m on a low sodium diet.

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com The Gagaman

    Hang on, why is Chester an old codger now? He isn’t on the packet..

  • red pill junkie

    I think the CG character looks cheap, and I also agree the scaling is wrong.

    Also… that’s not Sir Ian McKellen doing the voice, isn’t it?

  • Gertrude

    They’ve struggled for years to get Chester to work as a character. This latest bunch of spots tries way too hard and provides impending adventures for their lawyers to boot, once somebody imitates any one of these wiseass anti-social remedies using their dayglo product. Right now no animated corporate mascot plays nearly as well as the Charmin ass-wiping bear. Even Jesus would be influenced to buy their brand of butt paper.

  • asymetrical

    I thought they were cool too. i agree however with the scaling. he should be human sized. But I don’t care that it wasn’t realistic. There’s too much of that stuff these days anyway. I liked it that Chester is a little s**t. Funny stuff. Reminds of something Bugs Bunny would have done if he were alive today and not gutted and stuck on a skewer as a studio icon. And that’s not Ian McKellan it’s Capt Picard! I hope to see more fo these. Besides, more animation is better for the industry! I think EVERYTHING should be animated! Even stuff on Cartoon Network!

  • PCUnfunny

    Yeah I’ve wondered about these awful new commericals. Now Chester Cheetah is some vengeful arsehole ?

  • Mr. Semaj

    Didn’t his head used to be bigger?

    I hadn’t paid any attention to Chester Cheetah in years, and was just revisiting some Cheetos commercials a while ago. Made me go out to buy some puffs. :P

    He went from a jive turkey,
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=E61Xigv__k4&feature=related

    to an extreme sports pro,
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=4lq7umdeS80&feature=related

    to a manifestation of our inner demon!
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=1X2qT7Ki29Y

    Strangely, I like these new ads. As that one review mentioned, it gives people a reason to notice Chester again.

  • jimmy

    A great technical achievement for something so ugly and disturbing.

  • Sarah

    The commercials are creeeeeeepy! It’s like a nightmare or twisted dream. Dark corners, dim lights, and a small surreal moving creature speaking in calm voice. Telling you to do things you normally wouldn’t do while your awake.

    I don’t eat chips of any kind and I don’t get the whole “marketing Cheetos to adults” champaign. I guess kids aren’t buying enough cheesy junk food.

  • PCUnfunny

    “As that one review mentioned, it gives people a reason to notice Chester again.”

    For all the wrong reasons.

  • Bug

    this commericial was great and gave me a hearty chuckle

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    QUOTE:

    i agree however with the scaling. he should be human sized.

    ————————————————————————

    Big Chester was old school, nothing more than a product mascot. Small Chester is a soul-destroying Hell-vermin, almost a Jim Woodring imp of terror. Small Chester kicks ass. I’ll bet there are young kids who will be haunted for years by these commercials.

  • Andrew

    They are obviously trying to aim this at an older audience.

    Are you SURE that was a CGI Chester? It looked pretty much like a live puppet to me. If he IS a puppet, it would be all the better to go along with the nightmarish atmosphere!

  • mawnck

    Delightfully creepy.

    But have you followed that link through to their youtube channel? Not so delightful. They really are encouraging people to do those kinds of things, and post the results on youtube. I think some ad agency got waaaay too impressed with that Anonymous/Scientology thing.

    This could be very entertaining, in ways that Frito Lay isn’t going to like.

  • Melvin

    This is the same Frito-Lay that took the guns away from the Frito Bandito, encouraging people to commit torts and stick them up on You Tube? The New Ignorance is born! Frito-Lay is about to get what it deserves.

  • Matt Sullivan

    yeah i thought for sure that was a puppet

  • Mr. Semaj

    “For all the wrong reasons.”

    All the delightfully wrong reasons.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    As what Mr. Semaj had pointed out, Chester seem to have gone through a lot of different personalities over the years. I kinda miss his “jive turkey” 80′s look personally.

  • PCUnfunny

    All the delightfully wrong reasons.”

    I don’t mind dark humor but this isn’t even humor. It’s just mean spritied and unfunny.

  • tom

    PCUnfunny says:
    I don’t mind dark humor but this isn’t even humor. It’s just mean spritied and unfunny.

    Point taken, but it seems odd coming from someone with your moniker. Heh.

  • Jess

    I might have to disagree with Amid on this one. These are so creepy and weird, I kind of like them. I still don’t want to eat any Cheetos – but I did laugh.

  • Rick.

    He looks like he’s supposed to be the imagination of the Cheetos eater. So in that sense, it makes sense that he’s a little creep. Like the little devil on your shoulder. I like that he looks like a puppet. In fact, I’m not sure he isn’t a puppet.

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Gee-ZUSS!! Is the animation SUPPOSED to be that #!%&-ing bad!?? Such a pity…and espeically for a character that was SO fun-filled & “animated!”

  • http://ryanmcculloch.com Ryan McCulloch

    Everything that is wrong with this ad is whats right with it. heeheehee.

  • Alex

    ‘I as an animation fan am enraged at the unneeded transition of the classic cartoon character Chester Cheetah into the CG world! Why can’t we leave purity alone! Oh WOE!’

    I liked this ad. Not LOVED, but delightfully creepy is right. I like how tiny he is if nothing else.

  • Baron Lego

    “Cheetos: Bring out the jerk in you.”

  • ErosLane

    These are the best ads on television.

    Period.

    The mean-spiritedness? Spot-on perfect.

    I can’t wait until Chester Cheetah explains drainage and starts drinking milkshakes.

  • http://www.foxhack.net/ Dave Silva

    Oh dear god. His voice… It’s so wrong yet oh so right.

  • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com gavin

    Sparked debate at the least. I think they’ll do well for cheetos, and I’m liking the puppet feel. That one in particular has the feel of a mean Amelie. Her dark twin or something. Wouldn’t make me eat them though.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dougputhoff Douglas A. Puthoff

    Is it me, or is that guy on the left the actor who played Les Nessman on “WKRP” in Cincinnati.”

  • Connie Pinko

    He’s no longer “dangerously cheesy.” He’s just cheesy.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I noticed for sucky CG animation you must also have sucky cinematography.

  • http://www.katiecropper.com Katie Cropper

    I could have sworn that was a crappy puppet this whole time.. hot damn.

  • Chuck R.

    Gertrude, thanks for bringing up the Charmin bear. He was created by the talented independent animator Joanna Quinn. Unfortunately, the latest incarnations of the bear seem to be drawn by someone with far less talent. The pencil-y look of Quinn’s original design is gone. When will execs learn to leave great work alone?!

    About Chester: I really thought he was one of the all-time great mascots. Whether you love these spots or not, (I agree they’re disturbing) once this campaign has run it’s course, he’s history.

  • Graham

    Oh, god…

    He’s creepier than Burger King.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Corey: the color of Cheetos IS found in nature, but just not in the food chain … unless you eat tropical flowers.

    The scale was the thing I noticed. Like the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie where the chipmunks were actually the size of small rodents rather than human children as in the animated series. But the commercial could have worked without Chester in it; with him suddenly thrown into the storyline, playing chess(!), it gave the whole spot an M. Night Shyamalan feel. Which could be good or bad, depending.

  • Thalia

    Creepiness doesn’t bother me, although these are very creepy…
    The nature of the attitudes advertised are as repulsive as the product itself.

    Seriously, cheetos were tasteless enough.

    Go charmin bear!

  • lee

    Chester is not cgi- he’s an animatronic puppet created by Stan Winston studios.

    http://www.deepstorage.abeatexperience.com/cheetos_raoc.html

  • Bman

    Lee, thanks for the link. I knew that thing was a puppet! Everywhere I looked people were calling it crappy CGI–in reality, it’s just the best damn puppet ever made.