Sunday, August 5, 2007

What Makes People Laugh at the Baconator Commercial Makes User Experience Designers Cry

The TV Commercial for The Baconator from Wendy's superimposes the heads of middle aged men over crazed teen fanatics most likely from the Beatles era. The men have the same hysterical faces that the teenage girls did for the Fab Four, only this time it is for a bacon cheeseburger.

This is overtly funny. There is nothing subtle about it. It's the same humor that anchors countless comedic films such as "All of Me," "Switch" and "Freaky Friday."

This sort of persona switch happens all the time in User Experience Design, only there usually isn't much smiling going on. It's not obvious when it happens and it is like swimming upstream to challenge. It can derail meetings and design in its most egregious incarnations.

The next time it happens, I'm going to bring up The Baconator commercial.


Anonymous said...

Where can I get a CLEAN TiVo/DVR copy of this commercial? A friend of mine is actually in the clip, but doesn't havbe a copy of it for their persoal enjoyment. (Central NJ)

Michael Grossman said...

I wouldn't know, sorry. Who is he in the commercial? How did he get in it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Actually the person is Irene, a girl filmed at the Plaza Hotel in 1964 waiting for The Beatles on Feb 7, 1964. (If you look closely, you'll see the right-side of the "Meet The Beatles" LP being held in the hands of a fan in the clip.)

For years I've been assisting Irene in collecting various footage of her and her friends from that day. In the Baconator, Irene is the "body" used in the Top-Left photo of your Baconator 4-Photo Highlight Icon used above. At the event, she was originally holding a sign that read "Elvis is dead. Long Live The Beatles", which was changed to "Bacon" in the clip.

If ANY can get me a High Quality MPEG2 or S-VIDEO copy of the clip, it would be much appreciated by Irene and myself, as it would be a HUGE improvement over the flash-video versions available on the internet. Please contact me at Thanks! Sincerely, Gary (02/22/2008)

Michael Grossman said...

I hope someone reads this and can help you out, Gary. The web is chock full o' serendipity. Good luck!