Ritz’ Cracking Ad Shows The Power Of Comedy


Ready when you aren't.


After a decade in which ads have aimed at being provocative, serious, or inspirational, we’re now finally seeing a rise in commercials which want to be funny. Funny doesn’t often win awards, but the name of the game in advertising is effectiveness, and there are few better ways to earn a positive response to your ad and brand than to make people laugh.

Ritz Crackers understand this, and their new campaign from VCCP is a fabulous use of humour to bring to life a brand truth. Ritz Crackers, you see, are a kind of everyperson of snacks – the sort of snack that you can bring out for any occasion, but also the kind of snack that might sit in the cupboard waiting for its moment. Most snacks try and own indulgence: Ritz here is aiming more for dependability. “Ready When You Aren’t” is the tagline – got an unexpected guest? Bring out the Ritz.

The way the brand brings this idea to life, though, is where the ad really shines. “Ready When You Aren’t” is an ad whose humour relies entirely on physical comedy and slapstick. Slapstick is an art form – it’s one of the most universal types of humour but it’s also very difficult to do well. It’s no surprise that when you think of funny ads it’s often sparkling dialogue or witty taglines that come to mind. Slapstick and clowning requires a more visual imagination and demands brilliant choreography as well as great performance.

But when it works, it works so well. As the family in “Ready When You Aren’t” desperately tries to clean their entire house in seconds, we’re treated to a blizzard of action that feels more like a Buster Keaton movie than a snack ad. Dive-bombs along tables, a ballet of vacuum cleaners and a final throw of a binliner, all perfectly timed and executed.

The result is a high-performing ad in a demanding category – baked and snack goods have some of the most entertaining commercials around. Ritz more than hold their own, though, with an impressive 4.2-Star rating and Exceptional short-term spike. Particularly impressive too is the Fluency score – 99% of viewers recognised the brand within the first few seconds.

“Ready When You Aren’t” is a well-branded ad, but this sky-high Fluency score also underlines why VCCP were right to take the approach they have. Ritz is an exceptionally well-known brand, which gives more freedom to take creative routes that surprise and entertain for commercial gain. This ad starts and ends with the brand – what happens in between is sheer entertainment.

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