I love to cook, I love to bake and I am addicted to the Food Network. Alton Brown is probably my favorite chef on the Food Network and Good Eats might just be my favorite Food Network show. Why? Definitely not because of the weird antics on the show that seem aimed at elementary school students but rather because he explains why on his show. Why are some chocolate chip cookies flat and others are puffy? What chemically makes them bake one certain way vs another? He can have an entire show on lentils (and he does) and I will watch it rapt with attention even though I have no desire or ambition to make lentils any time in the near future.
So why does watching this new Welch's ad featuring Alton Brown irk me like it does? In theory, using Alton Brown to explain and illustrate the antioxidants you can get from grapes and drinking grape juice is a great idea. He's perfect for it. It's exactly what he does on his show every day. I think my issue with this spot is exclusively with the art direction.
The feel of the ad just seems too color saturated, dreamlike and whimsical where Alton Brown's quick delivery style and show seem a bit more goofy. The spot pulled a couple characteristics from the show in the beginning, but his show has a quirky low budget feel to it that suits his hands-on, prop-using way of teaching about food. So Alton Brown walking around in a fake-looking, idealistic vineyard with a too-perfect looking chalkboard just feels jarringly wrong. I want him drawing and illustration or using some props to show me about polyphenals and antioxidants, not just checking off generic terms on a preplanned chalkboard. They used the perfect celebrity spokesperson, but left a huge chunk of the celebrity spokeperson's individual style.
Great idea, poor execution. Am I being to harsh?