Orville Redenbacher’s Inkblot Test

Redenbacher's inkblot

Rorschach inkblot

Like a Rorschach inkblot card, this ad for Orville Redenbacher’s 100 Calorie Smart Pop! popcorn asks the reader to make sense of the image they’ve used.

Is it:

  1. A pig head thing?
  2. A goat head thing?
  3. A dog head thing?
  4. An elephant balancing on a ball?

The copy doesn’t offer much help:

Our 100 calories make their 100 calories feel small.

After careful scrutiny, the reader will figure out that it’s an elephant made of popcorn balancing on a ball made of peanuts. If the reader thinks about it some more, he eventually understands that they’re saying that 100 calories of popcorn has more volume than 100 calories of peanuts.

A few questions:
  • Why make the reader do so much work to figure out the ad’s message?
  • Why compare popcorn to peanuts? Why not compare Orville Redenbacher’s 100 calorie popcorn with other brands that sell 100 calorie popcorn? Which one tastes better?
  • Why does ConAgra Foods think this ad is going to sell their popcorn?

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