We may not see the Pillsbury Doughboy doing wake-and-bakes any time soon, but General Mills - the food giant behind wholesome brands like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Cheerios - is letting its Fiber One brand hang out with Cheech and Chong. This week Fiber One has been pushing a new flick from the lovable burnouts on Facebook and Twitter, but around two minutes into the trailer viewers learn that the "Magic Brownie Adventure Movie" is actually an elaborate ad for Fiber One brownies.
"These suckers are good, man," declares Cheech in one of a series of shorts posted on the FiberOne.com/MagicBrownie page. The videos are clips from a phony film revolving around the drug-addled pair's trek to "Flaming Pole," a Burning Man-esque desert festival, to deliver a van full of brownies.
Just in time for weekend partying, today's Twitter Promoted Trend is #magicbrownie. A series of tweets associated with the trend is making the retweet rounds, including one that makes a veiled reference to marijuana, the more standard special ingredient in magic brownies:
"#magicbrownie. Now available in the Humboldt County grocery store granola aisle. And other grocery aisles. youtu.be/vK7hZ9CxCfU." Heavily forested Humboldt County in California is considered the mecca of cannabis cultivation in the U.S.
Another post promotes the fake movie and links to the YouTube page, which features all five clips: "Cheech and Chong go on a crazy #magicbrownie adventure. It makes no sense so you should check it out. youtu.be/vK7hZ9CxCfU." One tweet simply states, "Pass the #magicbrownie man", and links to the Fiber One Magic Brownie page.
The overall campaign, created in conjunction with Publicis Modem New York, is aimed at increasing awareness of Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies among Baby Boomers who may need a fiber boost. Today's Twitter effort targets "pop culture influencers and media influencers who can help raise awareness and chatter for the video," according to Jim Wilson, marketing manager for Fiber One.
Along with the videos and goofy still images from the faux-movie, the Fiber One page includes a rollover audio feature in which an announcer describes the fudgy snacks: "Chewy, chocolatey brownies that are 90 calories and high in fiber... because now that you're getting older, you need a new kind of magic from your brownie."
A search for Cheech and Chong on YouTube turns up a promoted video ad placement that suggests, "Turn Your Frownie Upside-Downie With Cheech & Chong's New Brownie." The main movie trailer-style video has been viewed around 34,000 times on YouTube.
The videos have been promoted through display ads on Yahoo's "Vitality," a Baby Boomer-aimed site sponsored by General Mills. FiberOne has also promoted the marketing movie on its Facebook page since Monday, eliciting several responses from fans of the product as well as the comedy duo. Not all responses have been positive, though. One liker of FiberOne wrote, "This is sooooo inappropriate and really makes Fiber One, as a brand, look trashy and ghetto!"
Indeed, not everyone is amused by drug humor. And it may not help the brand that Tommy Chong, the guy now telling people to "Get high on fiber," was sent to prison in 2003 for selling bongs via mail order.
Fiber One is simply hoping to spark up some smiles. "We think fans of Fiber One will see Cheech and Chong's brand of humor as just silly fun, and that is our intent with this campaign," stated Wilson in an email. "Boomers can enjoy a delicious brownie that has fiber, which is the magical ingredient. It's a great joke that is resonating with Boomers who have seen the video."
Fans might see more fiberific Cheech and Chong adventures down the road, noted Wilson. "At this point we don't have immediate plans for additional videos or support, but we're always watching to see how things resonate with our fans and consumers and we could consider building on this campaign in the future."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT