Making Fin: Pom Wonderful’s Oddball Dolphin-Impaled Man

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POM Wonderful - dolphin man

Pom Wonderful has communicated its healthfulness message by personifying the antioxidants in its pomegranate juice as transparent, Transformers-style monsters, wielding potent nutritional weapons against the various physiological pests that afflict human existence.

POM Wonderful - dolphin man

Now the brand is introducing its biggest branding campaign to date, including its most robust digital effort in brand history, with “Dolphin.” The conceit here isn’t anthropomorphic monsters but a man who has been “impaled” by a dolphin and survived, the duress making him more concerned about his health.

That’s right—in its new ad campaign, “Jeff Kowalczyk” is a man living with a dolphin impaled through his chest. There’s no explanation how the animal pierced the human or why the dolphin is still living in kind of a weird Siamese-twin arrangement (including wearing its own bike helmet) as his human host gets on with things.

In addition to the bizarre premise, the ads provide touches of subtle humor, such as a kitchen scene where the dolphin lunges after the live salmon that Jeff is preparing on the kitchen island; its tail nudges the wife’s posterior, causing her to presume it’s a loving pat from her husband. As we said: bizarre.

Jeff is depicted as pursuing a variety of activities after his “health scare,” including exercising and drinking at least eight ounces of Pom Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice each day, for its antioxidants and potassium content. The wacky scenes show him lifting weights, bicycling and running with his constant companion. The fine print says that Pom Wonderful consumption has been shown to boost “verbal memory performance” and “post-exercise arm strength.”

Pom Wonderful said the spots “poke fun at mundane pharmaceutical-industry advertisements and use humor to talk about what people typically want to avoid: what they should do after a health scare.”

“We came up with the metaphor of dolphin impalement to make the subject of health scares a little less, well, scary, and to deliver the Pom message in a way that’s impossible to ignore,” said Darren Moran, chief creative officer of Wonderful Agency, the in-house outfit that created the campaign.

In making fun (or fin) of U.S. requirements regarding making any medical claims or health benefits, Pom Wonderful is all too aware of its years of knocking heads with the U.S. government over its own marketing claims.

In 2016, the Supreme Court denied Pom’s attempt to roll back the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling that some of its advertisements had misleadingly promoted purported health benefits of drinking Pom Wonderful juice, including prevention or mitigation of heart disease and prostate cancer.

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