I miss the Spongemonkeys. Sure they were short lived, disgusting and divisive. But they got people talking about Quiznos, and they could kick Baby Bob's ass any day. (Talking babies. Please, just don't.)
But the Spongemonkeys represent one in a bunch of new cutter clutters. Those brands seeking to root around in the backyard (basement?) of human emotions. Disgust. Confusion. The creeps. The willies. That feeling when you can't help but watch a car wreck (voyeurism?). You have Waking up with The King (BK). The enigmatic bleeding doll (PS3). Prehensile beards (Skittles). First person car wrecks (VW).
As the depths are being plumbed of ways to reach people, the line of what’s acceptable is being stretched. Some of these things are clearly one-offs. I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that the Spongemonkeys were not part of some grand rebranding of Quiznos. They were an executional gimmick with a lot of talk but little else.
But when being a little off center, even weird, is part of your brand DNA that is a different thing. That's what I think BK has done: Brought a new attitude to the brand and infused it throughout the brand experience. And what Orville Redenbacher has not: Created a bad one-off that took a risk on a CG technique and in my opinion ended badly (the new executions still don't add up to a cohesive thought).
I like weird because it forces the question, Why? By its very nature there is more than meets the eye. Which is why I like the above picture so much, even if it's not an ad. It is a simple, yet kinda creepy idea that stops you in your tracks makes you think differently about the environment around you.
Not every brand can take a weird turn, nor should it. The point is that there are more human emotions out there to explore. And not everything has to be fully understood to be interesting.