One more interesting fact about this spot: it was directed at Digital Domain by none other than David Fincher (FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN), who incidentally started his film career in animation (it’s all documented in ANIMATION BLAST 9). The shot towards the end where Orville says, “You’ll like it better…” has some of the funniest (i.e. hideously awful) acting you’ll see in any recent piece of big-budget CG.
A higher-res version of the commercial can be found on the official Redenbacher website. The lip sync is absolutely pathetic. It’s hard to believe this spot was produced by Digital Domain.
The response to this spot has been unanimously negative. Here’s a random sampling of opinions from around the blogosphere:
Y’know, I thought that cannibalizing old footage of Fred Astaire was kind of a tacky idea 11 years ago. But after this, I’m beginning to like the first idea. (via)
While watching Criminal Minds tonight, I saw the most sick and disturbing thing–yes, the commercials featuring a reanimated Orville Redenbacher. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not an old films clip or anything–it’s basically CGI of a man’s corpse dancing around. I’m sorry, but that’s just freaking creepy. (via)
Digital Orville Redenbacher freaks me right out. He is dead. Let’s let him be dead. Because Zombie Orville is just wrong, wrong, wrong. (via)
I just saw the scariest shit ever. A commercial for Orville Redenbacher popcorn in which they used the man himself as a spokesperson. Yes, he’s been dead for some time. They brought him back anyway. So beyond the questionable wisdom of using a dead man as your spokesman, they decided to go totally digital. So now it actually looks like they dug up the old man’s corpse and made it talk and move with marionette strings. The lips don’t even sync with the dialogue! (via)
Earlier Brew coverage of Zombie Redenbacher
UPDATE: Brew reader Tim Curtis says that he expressed his distaste for this commercial by visiting the ConAgra Foods contact page. The toll-free Redenbacher consumer line is 800/243-0303.
I’ve heard back from multiple readers who’ve emailed ConAgra and they’re sending out a form letter to everybody. That letter is below:
Your communication concerning the new Orville Redenbacher TV ads was most welcome, and we appreciate your taking the time to contact us.
We understand that using breakthrough technology in this way can raise some eyebrows. However, we have taken the utmost care to replicate Orville’s endearing personality and likeness. Our most important goal is to respect and advance the legacy of the brand’s founder. The Retro ads which have recently aired received an extremely positive reception from consumers, and with the breakthroughs in technology, we are now able to introduce Orville to a whole new generation!
The Redenbacher family is excited for Orville’s return to our advertising and marketing initiatives. Gary Redenbacher, who represents the Redenbacher family, has fully endorsed our direction and he is excited about ConAgra’s efforts to advance his grandfather’s legacy.
As we design future initiatives, your comments will be carefully considered. We appreciate the time you have taken to contact us and your interest in our products.
ConAgra Foods Consumer Affairs