One of the enduring advertising icons of the 70s, the laughing
Martian cat, is being brought back to feature in the latest commercial
for Smash, the instant mashed potato brand.
The cat, recently found along with other original models in an old
storage room, makes his comeback in a new ad to publicise an instant
cashback promotion. Under this, around pounds 40,000 in the form of
pounds 5, pounds 10 and pounds 20 notes will be found in promotional
packs from mid-May onwards.
The commercial opens on a mother and daughter team of Martians opening a
pack of Smash and finding banknotes inside, observed by the family
Understanding clearly what instant mashed potato is but not instant
cash, the Martians access their galactic internet to find out more.
Pictures of eager humans queuing up to access ATM machines on Earth
flash up on the screen, convincing the Martian mother that instant cash
must be a good thing. So she tips the bank-notes into a bowl and adds
boiling water as she would for Smash.
’Personally, I can’t see what all the fuss is about,’ she concludes,
when nothing more exciting than soggy notes results. The cat, rolling on
its back and laughing hysterically, agrees.
The Martians, which were voted the 20th century’s top commercial in
Campaign’s Hall of Fame, returned to television for the first time in 15
years last year. Since then, the Smash owner HL Foods has revealed a 12
per cent sales increase for the brand, taking its lead in the instant
mash market to more than 50 per cent.
Willox Ambler Rodford Law masterminded the Martians’ return to
television, with the latest commercial written by Alan Rodford and art
directed by Jeremy Thwaites.
The original model-maker Pennicott Payne was hired to refurbish the old
daughter and cat models and create a new Martian mother, while the film
was directed by Ken Turner of Annex, who worked on the original Smash
films back in the 70s.
Media for the campaign, which breaks on 22 May, is handled by the Media