In 2004, Quiznos cited "creative differences" and parted ways with the Martin Agency, who gave them their Sponge Monkey fame. They hired Siltanen & Partners out of Los Angeles, who circa 1999, created an ad for Federal Way's Freeinternet.com (aka FreeI Networks, Inc.) using Baby Bob.
Baby Bob was orginally based on Freeinternet.com founder Bob McCausland.
Somehow, when the company died the same death of so many other dot coms, CBS picked Bob up in 2002 as a short-lived sitcom, with Ken Campbell as the voice of Bob and starring Adam Arkin, Joely Fisher and Elliot Gould.
Not many were fond of the show, as this TV reviewer shows.
Offensive as it might be to build a show around an advertising mascot, it's especially off-putting when you consider this mascot helped put its company out of business.
That's not the main problem, however. If they were entertaining, we'd gladly watch "The Energizer Bunny Goodtime Show" or "Snuggle the Bear's Static Cling Story Hour."
Baby Bob just isn't very funny or interesting or anything.
OK, so you have a talking baby. Cute. He's got to say something--anything--worth hearing. This script is as bland, predictable and tasteless as strained peas. By the first diaper joke, you'll be ready to throw something at your TV, assuming you didn't throw your set out the window with the first nursing joke.
Baby Bob was the brain child, so to speak, of Rob Siltanen and his agency.
"Having a spokesperson [or baby] is a really smart move: He can talk directly about [the] product, to showcase and romanticize the food," Siltanen said. "I always felt like with the right client, the right business plan, [Bob] would be awesome."
What's not so strange is this isn't the first ad icon/mascot reincarnated for a different brand. In 2002, Pet.com's sock puppet got a second shot of fame in ads for 1-800-BAR NONE. And even though it's not quite the same, that same year, the Taco Bell Chihuahua shilled for Geico insurance, while the Maytag Repairman Men showed up in ads for Chevorlet Impala. And , we saw the Pilsbury's Poppin' Fresh Doughboy in 2003 in an ad for Sprint and last year in a Got Milk ad. This cross fertilization of brands is something we even see in ads for Master Card- where they specifically point out retailers, like Banana Republic and Travelocity.com.
Something that is a bit different about these ads from Quiznos prior ads, is that, at least for the brand, they are quite a bit tamer. Although one blogger finds the ads as stupid as the rest. "The baby responds to the woman in part by saying, "Spoiling you has never been easier." The baby then talks about Quizno's subs and all that good stuff. Then the woman says to "Baby Bob," "You're looking very hunky." ...This is still a freakin' baby, stupid CGI effects or not, and here is a grown woman hitting on a baby in order to sell toasted sandwiches." Many others in the big 'ol blogosphere feel the same way. Titles for posts range from "in the creepy-what-the-hell-were-they-thinking" to "Quiznos Needs A New Ad Agency" to "BABY BOB: QUIZNOS’ LATEST FLUB."
Quiznos does seem to have a flare for using unoriginal characters, from Sponge Monkeys to Space Ghost. Maybe it's lazy creatives. Maybe it's some strange management at Quiznos. Maybe it's just trying to tap into the 18-25 year-old market requires bizarre stuff to capture attention.
To check out the history of Quiznos advertising, type "Quiznos" into the search box and watch campaigns from the last three years.
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