Ad Of The Week

How Chips Ahoy Mashed Up Its Mascot

4.2

To get what’s going on with this Ad Of The Week – the latest from Chips Ahoy – we need to look at the last year or so of Chips Ahoy advertising.

Chips Ahoy brought its mascot – a talking cookie – back in 2020 after a six year break, with new animators and a name change from “Mr Cookie” to “Chip”. In that ad, viewers saw Chip hanging out in a hot tub with a Hershey bar, extolling the virtues of the brand’s new ‘mash-up’ flavours mixing cookies and Hershey’s chocolate.

There’s not a lot to say about that ad itself beyond the sensible decision by Chips Ahoy to reinvest in its mascot, a memorable distinctive asset and potential Fluent Device. Where things get interesting, though, is what happens when you search for that ad on YouTube. You’re met with not just the hot tub ad but a host of re-edits, parodies and new versions of Chips Ahoy ads from YouTube creators.

These versions are not necessarily flattering. “Chips Ahoy Ad But It’s Funny”, “Chips Ahoy Ad But I Ruined It”, and “All Chips Ahoy Ads With Cringe Counter” are some of the titles – that last one has racked up a million views. But their mockery does tend to involve showing entire Chips Ahoy ads in full – which gets the Chip fluent device in front of a wider audience, who might not pay so much attention if they were watching the original ad.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that this wave of meme activity around Chips Ahoy ads is not completely spontaneous. Go back to the original press release announcing the return of Chip and the brand is candid about its plans – it will partner with YouTube creators to create “mash-ups” of the ad.

So Chips Ahoy created the ad, and also sponsored a host of other videos being cynical about the ad (which are themselves ads). It’s a clever technique for reproducing brand assets and the cookie character Fluent Device in a way that makes the viewer feel a little bit less like they’re watching an ad.

So when you watch this year’s ad – a return to the hot tub setting with Chip and his chocolate chum – be aware that you’re also probably watching the template for another round of mash-up content. One difference, though, is that this year’s hot tub visit is a stronger ad. It has a storyline and a joke – it’s very similar in feel to the Mars M&Ms animated ads, which have been scoring well with viewers for years.

“Chilling” scores well too – a strong 4.2-Star score and good short-term Spike and Brand Fluency ratings. One interesting question is whether a better original ad will make for better mash-up content too, outperforming the versions and remixes of last year’s commercial. If that’s the case, Chips Ahoy will have found a way to have their cookie and eat it.

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