I'm a little upset that despite an entire undergraduate and graduate experience dedicated totally to all things advertising at VCU (GO RAMS!) that I was never exposed to the genius of these Wilkins Coffee spots. And in order to make up for this oversight, I am sharing them with the world. An odd mix of violence, puppetry, and salesmenship, these :10 spots probably would only be able to run today as webisodes. (Because we all know that on the internet you can get away with saying words like 'boob stab' and 'triple kill _____'.) The victim of these spots, Wontkins (get it?) dies in more ways than SouthPark's Kenny, and some think the main character, Wilkins, was the beginning of Kermit the Frog. Yep, these 1950s spots were produced by none other than Jim Henson. I would LOVE to know the writer of these puns too. You can read more about this crazy campaign here. Here. and Here.
They remind me of something that Bryan Buckley of Hungry Man told us (while we were filming a documentary about the SportsCenter campaign back at—yes—the VCU AdCenter, in 2000). Roughly quoted: "When you do a ton of spots, you don't have to worry about each one being good. You just shoot a ton, a ton of spots." You just shoot and have fun. Now, these Wilkins spots aren't good per se, but you get the idea. There's a bunch of 'em and I bet they had fun doing them. Puns and cliches be darned.
Coffee Can Mail-in Puppets:
Wilkins & Wontkins Vinyl Toys:
I may have just been a bad student, enter former AdCenter director Diane Cook-Tench via twitter:
@graphicologycom I distinctly remember Wilkins Coffee being shown at the Adcenter, don't know how you missed it? Great stuff!
So, um, maybe it was an Ad Student failure.