One of the most incoherent Muppets has become a non-stick spokesman.
When a chef endorses a product, it can certainly do a lot to legitimize that brand in the culinary community. But what if said chef is a puppet or, more specifically a Muppet? Well, if you've ever watched the Swedish Chef flailing around his kitchen and wondered "What cooking spray does he use?" you can bet from here on out it's PAM, as the iconic character is now the company's spokesperson for its "You PAM Do It" campaign.
In the first set of ads, the Swedish Chef and his chicken assistant tout PAM's olive oil product, and also use the baking version to make a croquembouche for Swedish royals. Of course, the kooky, Scandinavian stereotype chef is the natural choice to promote a cooking product. Not just because he's a chef, but also due to the fact that he's the only Muppet with human hands. Let's face it, canola oil-soaked fur probably isn't the image parent corporation ConAgra wants to put out there. Sorry, Elmo. Then again, original PAM is a remedy for keeping your dog's coat ice-free while romping in wet snow.
(Incidentally, due to his human hands, the Swedish Chef is seen sporting a wedding ring which raises the question "who is he married to?")
In recent years, The Muppets have found themselves appearing in a number of ads, from Kermit's very meme-able Lipton Tea commercial to Miss Piggy's pistachios. But before you go damning Disney, the loveable creatures' parent company, for selling out your childhood heroes, just remember that if it weren't for advertising we might not have The Muppets at all.
While producing low-budget children's shows in Maryland, Jim Henson also started putting his puppetry to work in local commercials. The fuzzy, bug-eyed figures and sardonic, almost jazz-like humor were a hit with customers and companies alike. Brands like Wilkins Coffee and La Choy Chow Mein saw sales bumps from Henson-directed campaigns, and that constant stream of experimentation (and income) was instrumental in the famed puppeteer pioneering concepts like full-body character and using the television screen as the proscenium, instead of ducking behind facades or popping up in kitschy puppet theaters like his predecessors.
Like many of their human actor counterparts, The Muppets started with small gigs in TV spots, got their own show, made some big movies and then went back to commercials to stay afloat. Hey, if George Clooney can push Nespresso coffee machines, a foam rubber chef can certainly sell you some cooking spray.