Shameless fascination with the A&W helium commercial

I know it seems odd to be posting a television commercial after such a hiatus from posting, but there is something of a mass media critic in me that is fascinated with this ad.

Prior to doing what I do these days, I got my name on a couple of awards from the Advertising Federation of Cedar Rapids for some stuff I helped write and produce during my days at KRUI. Small achievements that almost had me consider getting into the advertising realm for a short period of time, especially if I could be creative as this commercial.

Ryan Beil - A&W funny guy at the 2010 Jessie Awards in Vancouver (photo by miss604 on Flickr)
This is where I find this ad to be somewhat brilliant. Maybe I’m in the minority of people who watch this commercial and laugh each time it pops on, and that’s even after it’s being re-used in a carbon-copy campaign right now that ran at least a year ago. I think that speaks to how well the creative was done on this commercial, not to mention a bit of pure luck.

In an era where it seems that Geico has 50 mascots and 20 spokesmen, you can develop creative to your heart’s content, come up with a funny script, and use all the CGI in the world, but the chances of having that single cut where the balloon shoots off the helium tank and deflates on the manager’s shoulder as perfectly as it does in that single shot is something that doesn’t just happen when you want it to. As soon as it cuts away to the product shot at the end, you have to imagine that the whole set burst out laughing.

“It’s a party! Everyone’s invited! Bring your kids!”

Maybe I dissect too much of what I take in terms of media, but hamburgers are something I certainly don’t ingest these days. However, it never hurts to laugh a little and appreciate another aspect of creativity.


5 Replies to “Shameless fascination with the A&W helium commercial”

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Everytime I see this ad I have the same thought about the final ‘ballon’ shot…how perfect of a comic shot & how professional of the actors to stay in character! Priceless!

  2. This advert makes us giggle every time. I’d like to see an extended version – to see what happens to the actors after the cut. If you know of one….

  3. Actually, I find this ad extremely misleading and potentially harmful.

    Helium is very dangerous and should never be inhaled.. by anyone. Death can result.

    And here A&W is marketing their burgers to children and stupid adults who find this sort of thing funny.

    This ad is shameful and I am surprised that there hasn’t been an uproar from the Liquid Gas industry decrying this ad.

    Why would you support something that is glamorizing the act of inhaling deadly gas just to speak in squeek. Ridiculous and dangerous!

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