the yoda squirrel

“Many hot dogs lie within you.” –  the Pepto yoda squirrel


Even deep in the woods late at night you can find attached to a tree a convenient well lit medicine cabinet … with some pepto bismol to go … and a wise, yoda-like squirrel who will counsel you.

This is the Pepto 2 Go TV commercial, “Squirrel.”


They are using a frickin’ talking squirrel. And not only is he talking … he is imparting Yoda-wisdom.

I laughed my ass off it was so absurd. But, oddly, absurdly good.

pepto to go:


When it comes to marketing … my #1 commandment is, will always be, execute to the highest order of relevance.

That means I am slavish to relevance. Even tenuous relevant links are far down on my list of acceptable possibilities.

Why? Make people think too hard for the relevance and you lose them. It is good to make people think … but not have to work think.

My commandment is a simple commandment <but it must be a small religion because more people do not follow this commandment than do>.

In addition, without relevance, at best the advertising is trite.

At its worst? It is banal and moronic <which is another way of saying ‘bad’>.

All that said.

I love to be proven wrong.

And Pepto is doing just that.

What the heck does a yoda-like squirrel talking about hot dogs to a hunter have to do with … ? … well … it is odd.

Now. I am sure someone smarter than I will send me a note telling me the inside joke relevance <to hot dogs & squirrels?> on the yoda squirrel … but even without that knowledge I like this commercial.

Topline it was funny, offered a different way to communicate a new ‘small’ product … and it was brief.

Let me explain my topline thoughts

–          :15.

It is just 15 seconds. It is almost like someone was smart enough to know just a glimpse of a talking squirrel was going to be enough. It would have been easy to fall in love with the character <squirrel> but they didn’t. They introduced it. It said what it needed to say <a new product> and then closed the messaging with a really nice call to action <now, tell the world Daniel … Pepto to Go>.

Rarely … and I mean rarely as in almost never … do you see an advertising agency who recognizes when a shtick is better when done with brevity. When it comes to humor <or quirky> most agencies want it to play out. On this? I bet someone on this one said ‘nope. It will be funnier if they don’t get too much of the squirrel.” And you know what? I am guessing someone actually got the client to agree to :15 by being smart and talking business and not advertising. What do I mean? Someone actually stood up and said “this is a really simple new product introduction so lets just tell people what they need to know and we only need 15seconds to do that.”

–          the squirrel points the way.

The yoda squirrel follows the traditional … tell ‘em what you are going to tell ‘em … and tell ‘em philosophy perfectly. Not a wasted word.

No ‘you have heartburn.’ No ‘painful stomach acid.’ None of that banal problem offering before suggesting a solution.

Simply … ‘you have hot dogs within you’ <well played master yoda squirrel>.

And oh my. What an excellent call to action.

A squirrel advising a customer to spread the word <which is called ‘word of mouth’ by high falutin’ high paid consultants>.

And he does it with a hand <paw?> gesture. As in ‘go forth and spread the word.’

A really nice creative way to communicate a call to action and a perfect use of an absurd character.

–          Funny, absurd & well played

It is irrelevant <using a squirrel>. It is absurd <why is there a medicine cabinet in the woods?>. But it is absurdly funny … and that’s the brilliance of the brevity. You do not care that it is absurd. It focuses on the message … it is not overplayed or overdone … nor do they invest any energy trying to build the character of ‘who the heck is this yoda squirrel?’ … and nor do they try and convince you of anything but the message. I am not sure this would have worked as well in :30 and certainly :60 would have been too long.

Well done.

Proof that relevance doesn’t have to be the first commandment … well … all the time.

Written by Bruce