A scarred child, a creepy soundtrack and Ragu – three ingredients for a commercial that left us feeling dirty after we watched it.
Little Billy (a name we made up) wanders up the stairs searching for his mom. Judging by the book under his arm, Billy needs some help on his homework. He opens his mom's bedroom door only to find his parents doing a bit of homework of their own. Cue a soundtrack that we imagine had to have been sung by a guy with a luxurious mustache. Ragu, the pasta sauce company, wants you to cover your child's noodles with their sauce after he walks in on you (too many puns, too little time). Suddenly, pasta sauce is edgy.
"Give him Ragu because childhood is tough. Give him Ragu, he's been through enough."
Ragu's tagline, seen above, could have featured any number of scenarios that a child might encounter. School bullies, missing the bus, a failed athletic competition. All of these ideas would have seemed a bit more appropriate for Ragu but instead the company opted for the topic of parental sex. A bold, yet interesting choice that has created a distinct divide between those that were amused by the ad and those that were horrified by it.
The ad has already seen plenty of opposition. One Million Moms voiced their opinion that the ad should be pulled immediately based on the grounds that the spot is not only tacky and inappropriate but also damaging to children.
Give Ragu credit where it is due. Their scheme has everyone talking. Honestly, when – if ever – have you talked to your friends about a pasta sauce commercial?