Pity the ad agency assigned to the “Miracle Whip” account. (mcgarrybowden NY, in case you MUST KNOW.) How do you distinguish a bland sandwich spread from the other bland sandwich spreads? I mean, I always assumed Miracle Whip WAS mayonnaise. (Turns out it’s got a little more corn sugar in it. Oh.)

Aaaaand… that’s as much thought as I’ve EVER given Miracle Whip.

Until now. Turns out MW is MAVERICK, for TRENDSETTERS, for CONTROVERSIAL RABBLE-ROUSERS. Miracle Whip isn’t for EVERYONE. Many people DESPISE it. It breaks up families. The ones who like it—well, we’re a part of your secret club.

The problem of brand differentiation is a tough one in many markets… how do you distinguish a faceless bank from another faceless bank? One tasteless, pisswater light beer from another? (“I know! The label turns blue when it gets cold!”) This campaign to position Miracle Whip as the bold condiment for young thrill-seekers gets an A for effort, but ultimately it feels inauthentic. It’s sweaty… it tries too hard. It’s like Poochie the Dog, the character network executives added to “Itchy & Scratchy” for an episode of “The Simpsons,” when they wanted to push the cartoon “…to the extreme!”

What if they had embraced that inauthenticity? What if they had let the target market peek through the cracks? If the attitude was, “We know this positioning is bullshit, but here’s how The Man would try to sell it to you, kids,” then I could really get behind this effort, and creatively it would kick it a quantum level up. As it is, it bugs the white, creamy condiments out of me.

—Brad, 10/11