A family of bears cook up Bear Creek pasta in new spots

Scene from Element 79’s new BearCreek commercial

The bears have it.  Whatever it is. The big furry animals have certainly fascinated more than a few advertising creatives over the past decade.

Two high-profile TV spots of relatively recent vintage — both quite popular and widely viewed — prominently featured bears.  One, the award-winning John West salmon “Bear Fight” spot had a brawny fisherman and a big bear showily going mano a mano to see who would get the fresh salmon from the river.

Then there was the charming “Proud Papa” spot, which had a papa bear and his young son foraging for McDonald’s in a surprising and ultimately strangely touching turn of events.

Now comes the latest bear story from Element 79/Chicago for Bear Creek Country Kitchens pasta mixes, a new product from Specialty Brands of America, which is advertising for the first time.

In this debut spot  a whole family of bears — real ones we are told — is seen cooking up a Bear Creek pasta dish in the kitchen, then preparing to chow down on it at the same sort of dinner table where millions of Americans eat their meals.

The best thing this new commercial has going for it is the shock value of seeing the bears in cooking mode.  And that wasn’t an easy effect to achieve.  It took, so we’re told, a full month to train the bears and prepare them for their culinary adventure.

But for all their ability to perform as well as they do, these bears still come off a bit stiff and emotionally distant in the commercial.  

Unlike “Proud Papa,” where the papa bear is given some actual spoken lines to help humanize him, all the talking in this Bear Creek spot is left to the voiceover announcer with his very proper British inflection.

The kid bears are cute enough, and the parents look to be your typical doting types. But they all need more definition and dimension to pop satisfactorily in a spot such as this.

Still the animal trainer(s) deserves props for getting these bears to strut their stuff in this commercial.  

And the appearance of the bears also allows the brand to introduce a catchy twist on a familiar phrase in the campaign tag line:  “The Heartiest Taste. Bear None.”

While it admittedly wasn’t enough to totally wow us, watching the bears do their tricks in the kitchen may be just enough to help people remember the new Bear Creek pasta mixes.  

Consumers sure better be able to remember the new Bear Creek product, because it is going up against serious competition from offerings manufactured by Knorr, Pasta Roni and Kraft.

Agency credits: ECD, Candice Neary, CD, Chris Laubach, copywriter, John Barry, AD, Lih Min Yuan, producer, Cheryl Lindquist.  Production company: uber content, director, Chris Hooper. Edited by Matthew Wood of The Whitehouse, music Spank Music.

Contact Lewis Lazare at LewisL3@aol.com