I Hate Miracle Whip… But I Love This Ad

In this post, I’ll deconstruct Miracle Whip’s “Take a Side” ad, explaining why its one of the best ads I’ve seen in awhile.

First Mental Image:

“On a scale from one to 10, I HATE Miracle Whip at like 22.”


Just like that, you’re captivated by a high-impact, First Mental Image (FMI), which is critical when marketing something as ho-hum as a condiment. C’mon, admit it, you weren’t expecting to hear unpleasant remarks about Miracle Whip, were you?

But that’s exactly what you got, and it snapped you to attention.

Here’s the thing: Far too many ad writers would have led with a positive FMI. The preferred route would have been to replace the word “hate” with “love” in the ad’s opening line. But that wouldn’t have caught the attention of a gnat, and the ad would stumbled out of the gate.

Now before we move on to the message, know that your FMI must be more than just an attention grabber. A solid FMI must also be relevant, and set the correct tone for want you want your audience to feel. And as an ad writer, you must be careful when conjuring up a negative emotion such as hate.

That said, the main idea that Miracle Whip introduces with its FMI isn’t hate… it’s polarity, which sets the tone for the rest of the ad, brilliantly.


The Message:

Miracle Whip isn’t for everyone. Admittedly, you’re either gonna love us or hate us. That’s okay. But no matter your preference, don’t sit on the sidelines. Try our product and choose one side or the other.

Society is spellbound by polarizing issues and figures in pop culture. Rush Limbaugh and Brittany Spears anyone?

Miracle Whip is no different. Anyone who has ever tried this sweet and creamy concoction can tell you whether they love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground. None.

The ad even features two polarizing celebrities: Political consultant and commentator, James Carville, and one of the goons from the television show, Jersey Shore. (And I’m not buying for a minute that this guy DOESN’T use Miracle Whip as hair gel. Just look at his shellacked dew. I dare you to tell me differently.)

A fresh dose of honesty also helps Miracle Whip cut through the clutter and noise of advertising to grab your attention. Reminiscent of Domino’s Pizza recent “Our Pizza Sucks” advertising campaign, Miracle Whip tells you what you already know to be true. In other words, the company doesn’t try to arm-twist you into believing that everyone loves its product. A move that boosts its credibility.


Stylistic Signature:

Miracle Whip’s ad is fresh and fun. It uses humor, and yes, even some sexual undertones, in a way that isn’t at all irrelevant or distracting. That’s rare in today’s advertising.

Switching back and forth between a “love” viewpoint to a “hate” viewpoint keeps you engaged. For fun, here are a few of my favorites:

“Ya know, if you’ve got these like fancy-dancy mustards and stuff like that… that’s an elite kind of thing. Okay? Miracle Whip is America.”

“Miracle Whip tastes like lotion, but sweet. And who wants a sweet, lotion sandwich?”

“Miracle Whip tastes like an exotic lady is kissing you, but she’s got a little bit of sugar around her mouth. And then at the end she goes, ‘Caliente!’”


Last Mental Image:

Are you a Miracle Whip? Get a taste and decide.

The Last Mental Image (LMI) comes full circle to the main idea introduced by the FMI. (Remember, it’s not the reference you want to circle back to, it’s the idea.)

You can’t decide which camp you fall into unless you’ve tried the product, right? We’ll Miracle Whip has tickled your interest just enough that you’re likely to buy a bottle during your next trip to the grocery store.



Miracle Whip understands that it’s much easier to change behaviors than beliefs. In other words, it’s easier to convince you to eat Miracle Whip than to convince you that eating Miracle Whip will be pleasurable. That said, I expect a lot more people to try Miracle Whip after watching this ad. Well done.

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7 Responses to “I Hate Miracle Whip… But I Love This Ad”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant stuff, Tom. Truly great deconstruction of the ad, with some solid advice thrown in to boot. Thanks!

  2. Tom Wanek says:

    Thanks, Jeff! Glad you enjoyed it. This ad is a lot of fun!

  3. Nima says:

    Very nice deconstruction. The ability to do this well is borderline extinct. Do stay safe and keep doing this :)

  4. Tom Wanek says:

    Thank you Nima, I’m glad you enjoyed it. More to come.

  5. Tom,

    I think you nailed it with the last paragraph – “It’s much easier to change behaviors than beliefs.” Providing an honest, and yes, funny look at how people feel about Miracle Whip was indeed refreshing. If someone hates it, nothing you can do to change their mind. but for anyone in the middle, maybe you can get them to try it.

    I agree with you that the negative was the correct first FMI to get your attention.

    The one thing I would have changed was the image of the woman sniffing the jar – she had a negative reaction. To have someone actually sniff the product – you have a chance to tap into mirror neurons and the strongest sense we have – smell. To have that particular image be a negative was a mistake in my opnion. I’d have the weaker scene (someone talking about not liking miracle whip) as the negative, and the stronger scene (someone actually smelling the product) be a positive.

    Other than that, I agree – great job.

  6. Tom Wanek says:

    Holly, YOU nailed it. That scene bothered me for some reason, and I couldn’t say why. But your assessment is right on the money. Yes, it was simply too strong of a negative reaction.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion!


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