Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee
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The Hole in Whole Foods Market’s “Whatever Makes You Whole” Campaign

I like overpaying for groceries just as much as the next guy.  I’m a big fan of Whole Foods, especially the Austin location’s taqueria, but a few of the new campaign ads are missing something.  I’m always grateful when any brand invests to bring laughter to its audience, but it feels like the brand didn’t fully commit.

Preexisting Conditions 

In one of my early classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater,  I opened a scene as a pool guy who was meeting the homeowner for the first time.   It fell flat.  My instructor Armando Diaz told me that the scene would have been much more interesting if I had made the choice to reveal a history between the two characters.   We could have explored a universal truth of how two different points-of-view need to work together through conflict, or how they avoid conflict.   Otherwise, we’re stuck in a transactional scene, which is boring.

In “Meat Santa,”  the first half of the scene is the Whole Foods butcher preparing the customer’s order.   The customer creates the awkward moment, then the butcher calls him “weird.”  I’m no marketing expert, but I would avoid ending a commercial by insulting your customer.   Instead, we could have witnessed a playful conversation with inside jokes that reveal the butcher remembers that this customer used his grandmother’s recipe to brine the turkey for Thanksgiving and anticipates what the customer might need to prepare the Christmas meal.

Here are the winners of the series, and the comedy approach that makes them work so well:

“Just One Item”

A pain point anyone over the age of 35 can relate to.   The setup fills the frame with an overpacked grocery cart and is paid-off perfectly.   I would have ended the spot at the :10 mark since the follow-on joke isn’t as strong as the feature bit, but no one asked me.

“Backup Thanksgiving”

Another very relateable pain point, as we’ve all suffered through a turkey day at the crazy in-laws’ house, where they’ve tried to be overly innovative with the stuffing recipe.  The backup concept is hysterical, and I love the direction and the actors’ performance.

“Pastabilities”

This one hits a little too close to home.  I receive this exact same response from my daughter at least three times a day.  I love, love this young actor’s performance — she cracks me up.  Bravo!

Whole Foods wouldn’t even need to advertise if they would bring back breakfast pizza.

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Pizza for breakfast! Thank you @WholeFoods

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