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Sizzle & Stirring It Up
Unlikely Family Members Make for a Good Ad Campaign

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"Let's have fun. Which of yesterday's stars would you place in Sizzle & Stir's next commercial?"

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What do Sally Jessy Raphael, Chuck Woolery, Pat Morita and Little Richard have in common? What about Loni Anderson, Mr. T, George Hamilton and Mary Lou Retton? Why, they're getting a little bit of face time in Sizzle & Stir's new ad campaign.

You've probably seen these ads. Maybe you didn't even know what you were watching at first.

The stars initially get your attention. The unlikely couplehood of Loni Anderson and Mr. T first catches your eye. Add in their kids: George Hamilton and Mary Lou Retton.

But the primary focus isn't blatantly on the product. In fact, you have to watch the commercials a few times before you realize what the product and the purpose of the campaign is.

Factor in some stars of yesterday. A quick and easy meal. A parody of good old family time. And you've pretty much summed up the entire theme of these ads.

They capture your interest. You may not know what the product is the first time you see the ad, but you're paying attention. And the spots are receiving enough air time that you "get it" - the purpose of the ad - the second or third time around. Repetition is key to an ad campaign like this one. Sizzle & Stir is right on the mark.

The very first in this series of commercials features Sally Jessy and Chuck Woolery as the parents. Pat Morita and Little Richard are their sons.

Chuck (reading the Sizzle & Stir package): It says serving suggestions and it shows a picture of broccoli.

Sally (stirring dinner): It's just a suggestion, Chuck. I grew this carrot and, so help me, I'm going to use it.

(Little Richard tiptoes down the steps)

Sally (raises her voice a bit): Little Richard. See if Pat needs any help.

(Little Richard groans)

The concept is simple: Sizzle & Stir's trying to appeal to all the families out there, especially mothers, who lead a busy lifestyle. You can still prepare a homecooked meal without slaving over the stove for three hours and have plenty of time to spend with your family to boot.

Forget the fact that kids nowadays are locking themselves in their rooms. Or working part-time jobs at the mall with a dream of moving out on their 18th birthday.

These commercials touch on a simpler time. A time when family life wasn't so complicated with modern day pressures. A time when a family came together at dinner, leaving the stress of work and school behind.

Even the tag line, reinforces the overall message: "When you cook, you're a family. Lipton Sizzle & Stir. Real cooking."

The other commercial features Mom Loni Anderson and Dad Mr. T cooking together. Son George Hamilton is playing video games in a nearby room. Daughter Mary Lou Retton is sitting at the kitchen table.

Mary Lou (answers the phone and teases): George. It's a girl.

George: At least I get calls. (takes the phone) I can't talk during dinner. I'll have to call you back. (hangs up phone) It's not my girlfriend.

Mary Lou: Yes it is.

(George hits her)

Mary Lou: Owww!

Mr. T: Hey! Knock it off!

These spots are humorous without being ridiculously silly. And effective without spending the entire time talking about how Sizzle & Stir will make your family stronger, you'll jump higher, be smarter, act cooler.

It's a refreshing approach that's reviving the careers of these forgotten stars for another 15 minutes...or at least 30 seconds anyway.


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