So about those Tony The Tiger spots....

The world's all been all aflutter since #Tonyisback descended upon our consciousness with ironic, and crude spots, reveling in their cheap, stupid use of violence and abuse and prostitutes to make some comedic point about..something.

Speculation was rampant. Is it a production company trying to make ground? Who is behind Twitter and Facebook were quick to suspend the accounts, although for whatever reason Youtube hasn't even though trademark infringement is against its terms of service.

But just when it looked as if we'd never know the person behind the site, Huffpo found out the creator behind the stunt, as well as the production companies: Tantrum Productions and Route 1, courtesy of film permits in L.A. totaling $1,279 for the permit fees.

So who is the person behind it? An Ad-Busters-like artist from Finland named Jani Leinonen who has nothing to do with advertising but uses advertising and marketing as his palette. According to his Finnish Wikipedia page he's well-known for food-related stunts and vandalism like this.

In 2012, Leinonen and two other persons were sentenced to 60 days fine for fraud and forgery their stealing the McDonald's restaurant offers Ronald McDonald performing plastic statue, which they later destroyed. The group was intended to call into question the McDonald's and the company's code of ethics and the origin of the products.

So Leinonen who is part of the Food Liberation Army takes very brave stands against corporations and rich people. How radical. But actually, that's not quite true. He doesn't hate all global corporations because he has no problem buying ads for his art project on Google-arguably the biggest monopoly in the world at the moment. I guess it's because they don't sell food.

By the way, those ads aren't cheap to buy, either. And neither was the production, unless Leinonen exploited the production companies for cheap or free labor. I would hope not as that would certainly seem anathema to his ethos. Again though since they don't serve fast food perhaps he's cool with it.

Stunts like this seem so terribly first world, and childish, at least to me. But I guess that's what passes for art for the Tumblr generation.

Come to think of it, wouldn't it be a hoot if Finnish taxpayer money was given in the form of grants to make this? It's totally speculation on my point, of course. We know that Leinonen's Hunger King spot was partially funded by the Finnish Cultural Institute, which receives funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland. Wouldn't it be an interesting dynamic if that were the same here. Because it would almost be like Finland enabling, and by extension endorsing this POV? I wonder how many people Kellogg's and McDonalds employs in Finland?

By the way, Leinonen isn't only an against American companies. He has also messed with Finnish food brands, too, putting porn on food brands and brands on porn stars which reminds me of Safe For Work porn and Diesel's "borrowing" of it for their worldwide Dirty 30 campaign.

So there you go. Tony's not really back. it's just a stunt by an artist with a hard-on for food. Nothing more to see here.

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Dabitch's picture

The painted porn stars project really looks a lot like Diesel, but it also reminded me of the Dutch design student Raoul Balai project offering to brand actual prostitutes.

And of course, Leinonen has crucified Ronald McDonald and made fries packaging headstones.

Interviews with Leinonen, here at art21 and at we make money not art

James's picture

Jani's on record as saying he actually likes to eat at McDonald's, but has some problems with their ethics. He probably doesn't mind many aspects of Google, either.