Connor Burke – Think back to 2011, when you saw the theatrical poster and trailers for The Muppets and read the tagline “Get Ready For Muppet Domination.” I don’t know about you, but when I read that sentence, I was indeed ready. Ready for kids everywhere to be wearing Muppet T-Shirts, ready for every commercial to have Kermit saying “buy *insert product here* and then go see The Muppets on November 23rd!”, ready for so many TV spots, trailers, and marketing tie-ins that I feared I would get tired of The Muppets!
However, as the day before Thanksgiving 2011 grew closer, I saw very little of our favorite felt friends, aside from the trailers and YouTube clips that I was watching obsessively. True, there were commercials for a few companies like Alamo Rent-A-Car, AMC Theaters, and a few foreign ones like Orange and Cravendale, but besides that, Muppet Domination felt more like The Great Muppet Buzzkill.
Fast forward about two and a half years to January 2014. Knowing that Muppets Most Wanted (or as I still enjoy calling it The Muppets… Again!) was coming out soon, I was not expecting much aside from the two trailers that Disney had released with Planes and Frozen, and maybe a couple character posters. However, when Toyota seemingly out of nowhere announced that they were making a Superb Owl (am I allowed to say Super Bowl?) advertisement starring Terry Crews and The Muppets, I was convinced that “Muppet Domination” might finally be upon us.
Since then, Muppet Domination has definitely been upon us. The Muppets at the Puppy Bowl, a Muppets Most Wanted Superb Owl Pre-Game Show (not on ABC, no less!), the Toyota spot, internet videos on the Toyota Facebook page, commercials for Subway, Wonderful Pistachios, Go-Gurt, Lipton Tea, among others, performing on the finale of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and a music video for the opening song being released three weeks before the film’s release! Heck, even Jimmy Kimmel has had three Muppet-related guests in one week, with appearances from The Great Gonzo, Sam the Eagle, and Ricky Gervais.
Normally, I’d be the first to shout “Sellout!”, but these commercials (aside from the Go-Gurt one) are all clever and at least entertaining ads. My favorite is the Lipton Tea one with all the Animals, and it’s great to see that Disney is staying true to their two and a half year old word, delivering “Muppet Domination” onto the world. I’m happy to see that Disney really does consider The Muppets a valuable franchise, just 10 years after the big purchase. But why DID it take so long to deliver on the promise?
Maybe it’s all because of the films being released around the Muppet film. When The Muppets came out, one film unfortunately took it on; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One (not a great title). Disney probably knew what was going to happen; Twilight takes number one, and Muppets coming in at a close second. So, Disney didn’t really take that much thought into the advertising. Unfortunately for the Muppets, the box office has been poor this go around… but I’m still so glad Disney is taking our favorite felt friends out of their black suitcases, and giving us all Muppet Domination.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org