Pardon me? Grey Poupon to return

The famous advertising campaign for Kraft Foods' mustard will return with a splash -- er, spread? -- during the Oscars. But will it help boost sales?

By Aimee Picchi Feb 19, 2013 4:38PM

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard jars on a shelf at Gristedes Grocery in New York (Robert Caplin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)It was an advertisement so famous that it spawned spoofs from the movie "Wayne's World" and the sitcom "Married with Children." Now, after a 16-year break, the famed "Pardon Me" Grey Poupon mustard commercial will return to television on Sunday. 

It's not returning for just any broadcast, however. The commercial will air during the Academy Awards show, one of the priciest advertising venues on television, according to The Associated Press.

The big question for Kraft (KRFT) will be whether the ad can reverse soggy demand for the mustard. Sales for the condiment are flat to down over the past four years, the AP notes.

"Grey Poupon is not as relevant as it was," Sara Braun, who leads the Grey Poupon, Miracle Whip and Mayo brands at Kraft Foods, told the news service.

The new commercial puts an irreverent spin on the classic campaign.

It begins the same way, with a gentleman chauffeured through the countryside in his luxury car. When another car pulls up, the windows roll down, and the second man asks, "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" The first man replies, "But of course," and hands him a jar through their windows.

In the new version, however, the second car zips off before the mustard is returned, leading to a car chase. (See the ad here.) The spot was directed by Bryan Buckley, who has worked on dozens of Super Bowl commercials, and comes from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the AP notes. 

The commercial will point viewers to a longer, two-minute video that continues the story on Grey Poupon's website. 

Still, despite the flashy ad, Grey Poupon might have a tough road ahead. A lot has changed since the commercial first aired in 1981. Back then, consumers typically had fewer than a handful of mustard choices: French's bright-yellow mustard (for hot dogs and hamburgers), or Grey Poupon (for fancier foods or to dress up a burger.)

Now, it seems like every supermarket stocks dozens of brands and varieties, from organic to spicy flavors. And Grey Poupon isn't immune to the trend either. It now comes in flavors such as "savory honey" and "mild & creamy."

The campaign won't come cheap for Grey Poupon. The average price for a 30-second spot in Sunday's Oscars telecast is about $1.7 million, according to

More on moneyNOW

Tags: Food
Feb 19, 2013 7:46PM
Sixteen years later and we still remember it!  Go for it Kraft!
Feb 20, 2013 1:23PM
The mustard is great, the ads were funny...  The awful jar it comes in, not so much...  Redesign the jar!   Try something more peanut butter like...
Feb 19, 2013 8:13PM
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