2009 is, among many other things, the 25th anniversary of the Libby’s Zoodles commercial. (Assuming it really did start in 1984 and not earlier.) Libby’s is an American company, but this was a Canada-only commercial, produced in Toronto. Those of us who grew up in Canada have this commercial, with the jingle sung by Don Francks, as a permanent part of our cultural consciousness. We all wanted to eat hippopotami and giggle like that unseen girl at the end. It occurs to me now that this commercial also shows how the culture has changed: today you could never get away with doing a commercial that advocates hunting, particularly one aimed at kids.
But Libby’s didn’t stop there; they then created an even more memorable commercial, where a hideous mutant multi-armed giggling puppet guy menaces a bunch of children at mealtime. “The Alpha Getti Gobbler,” which begins at 0:31 in the following clip (after a commercial for superhero toys), has obsessed a generation. We cannot forget our bafflement at why they thought this was going to sell their product (the commercial implies that if we eat this product, this horrible monster will invade our house, and we won’t even be able to eat because we’ll be fighting with him to get it). Also, the line “you’re the Alpha-Getti Gobbler,” apparently dubbed over by some adult actress pretending to be a boy, is kind of an underground catchphrase.
And finally, Libby’s went animated (the kind of animation with moving lines because it was made without a clean-up stage) with Dino-Getti, thereby completing a great Canadian trilogy.