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Pardon Me, Can You Make My Brand Relevant Again

“Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” Thanks to a commercial campaign that began in 1981 and ran through the mid / late ‘90s in various variations, this mock-Richie-Rich phrase became part of cultural dialog. Connoting that Grey Poupon was a mustard of the highest quality, one worthy of aristocratic billionaires, the tongue-in-cheekiness let us know that even commoners could afford to have this great taste. These were the most memorable mustard commercials in history…yet since they stopped running, the brand lost its relevance and sales have dipped. Now the brand is hearkening back to its well-defined roots in an attempt to reestablish relevancy and spark sales.

Last year, they launched their exclusionary “Society of Good Taste” Facebook application (which was my favorite FB app of 2012), accepting only those fans into their society whom they deemed Grey Poupon worthy. (That’s right, you have to be “allowed” to “like” their Facebook page.)


Now, the brand has announced they will rerun a modification of their classic commercial one time – during the Academy Awards show this weekend. Smart buy, since this is one of the few shows that still gets significant real-time audience. It’s also a time of high fashion and Hollywood hautiness – another perfect fit for the brand. And recognizing that social media commentary accompanies live event shows like this, #pardonme is being integrated into the campaign.

Here’s a trailer for the new spot, which claims to be “lost footage” from the original commercial (clearly made for today’s viewer – and hopefully today’s mustard buyer):

And in case you never saw the original Grey Poupon commercial – or for those who enjoy a nostalgic look back at a truly breakthrough campaign – here it is:

I’m looking forward to seeing Grey Poupon once again on the air – and thereafter online, which is where the brand says the commercial will be resident after the single broadcast. Let’s face it – you’ve got to sell a lot of mustard to pay for airtime, and people are connecting with brands more on the web than on TV. It’s a rich strategy for a brand who may not have as rich a budget.

~ @AdvertGirl (aka Denise Blasevick, CEO, The S3 Agency)


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