Ad Nut
Oct 26, 2017

Dumb ways avocados?

With several cute cartoon characters meeting their demise while cheerful music plays, an ad for Subway Singapore seems eerily familiar.

Two-dimensional cartoon figures with sticks for limbs. A cheery original song contrasting with shots of those characters dying in dumb but gruesome ways. Where has Ad Nut seen this before?

Oh yes.  

Exhibit A above is a new ad for Subway Singapore by Dentsu Singapore.

Exhibit B, as everyone knows (or should), is 'Dumb ways to die', a video made for Metro Trains Melbourne by McCann Melbourne, which won soooo very many awards in 2013, including 27 Cannes Lions, five of which were Grand Prix.

Despite the similarities, Ad Nut observes that the two pieces of work are different in some important ways:

  • One of them is actually funny.
  • One of them actually makes sense.

That last point is crucial. 'Dumb ways' worked because all its parts pulled together in service of a central, logical idea. The pleasant song made it easier to watch and laugh at the absurdly gory deaths happening on screen. The deaths were happening in order to keep your attention so you could absorb the message: That as stupid as all these cartoon deaths were, it would be even dumber to get run over by a train.

So if the people who made the Subway video were intentionally copying 'Dumb ways'—and Ad Nut can't say whether they were—they utterly missed why 'Dumb ways' was so great. They copied the surface elements, but failed to recreate the beating heart.

The result? Avocados sitting on a rhino taking a selfie. An avocado being consumed by an unseen mouth. An avocado running very fast but smashing into a tree. An avocado sinking in a sailboat and not getting eaten by a shark. An avodaco playing a banjo. An avocado dabbing.

Why? Because it's "wacky"*! And the people who made this thought that would be enough.

Sadly, they may be right. The comments are positive, so maybe it will sell a lot of Subway sandwiches to all the wacky avocado-loving millennials in Singapore.

If not, at least we will always have these inspiring lyrics to treasure:

Yo! Is that an avocado?
Sure, is honey…

I’m your avocado
(He’s your avocado)
I’ve got a hunch, you’re gonna have a good munch.

If you see an avocado sitting on a rhino, join that avocado and you can take a photo

But if you see an avocado faster than the flash, you know that’s an avocado heading for a smash.

I’m your avocado
(He’s your avocado)
I’ve got a hunch, you’re gonna have a good munch.

If you see an avocado jamming on my banjo, y’all get ready to do the tango.

If you see an avocado sinking on a boat, throw him a lifesaver so he can stay afloat.

I’m your avocado
(He’s your avocado)
I’ve got a hunch, you’re gonna have a good munch.

That little avocado is… crazzzy!

Yeah, crazy good for you.


* This is an actual term used in the press-release headline. The full line reads, "Subway Releases Wacky New Video of Avocado Jamming to Random Beats".

Ad NutAd Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. Check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame.


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