Granny’s such a troll these days.
Meet elderly and disgruntled Helen from Westerville, Ohio. Aided by her grandson Bobby, she sets out to internet-shame the makers of Musselman’s Apple Sauce for ripping off her recipe.
Working in Helen’s kitchen, the pair create a series of accusatory videos. Helen’s catchphrase is “Hello, internet!” Bobby’s not so great working the camera. It’s all an ad campaign designed to play up Musselman’s homemade taste.
Establishing the saucy premise, here’s the first of several online clips:
“We explored a variety of ideas using a grandmother as a central character, but nothing quite lived up to a grandma who doubled as an internet troll,” says Maria Bowers, associate creative director at Brunner, which developed the campaign.
The set-up was attractive because “it let someone other than Musselman’s—and even better, someone anti-Musselman’s—push the brand’s message,” she says. “The videos also opened a space for dialogue between Musselman’s and Grandma Helen, allowing the brand to tell more of their story and showcase their humble personality.”
In the ad below, that “dialogue” takes the form of a respectfully worded brand rebuttal, which Helen just isn’t buying:
Brunner picked Doreen Loughlin from among 10 performers for the lead role because she “brought a great quirkiness to a character we had originally painted with a lot more bite,” says Derek Julin, an associate creative director at the agency. “When a campaign relies so heavily on one person to drive positive brand awareness, it’s important the world likes that person. So in the end, we agreed charming Helen was better than bitter Helen.”
Kaden Winters, the actor who plays Bobby, really digs into his supporting part in this next installment:
“We casted for your typical sarcastic tween, and Kaden was great, both in his interpretation of Bobby and with providing us a lot of fun B-roll, making the spots feel even more authentic,” Julin says.
Like apple sauce itself—any apple sauce—the work is appealing but not exactly the kind of stuff that makes you ravenous for more. (A couple of :30s would’ve satisfied our appetite.)
All elements were filmed in just a few hours, with limited time for retakes. “Fortunately, the fact that our grandma is supposed to be a novice at making homemade videos worked to our advantage,” says Julin. “The actors’ natural flubs only contributed to their lovability and believability.”
Loughlin was a tireless trouper whose energy never wavered, and “after a long day of shooting, she rushed off to two more auditions,” Julin says.
Well sure, she was buzzed after hitting all that sauce!
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