Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sweetness Is My Weakness

While it has been a couple of years since they debuted and though they are seldom really seen today, I still feel I have to belatedly profess my strange affection for the series of TV spots for the sugar substitute Truvia. While there was nothing particularly worthwhile about the commercials visually, I was utterly drawn in by the idiosyncratic charm of the individual jingles performed in each ad. I have always been a fan and supporter of the well written commercial jingle, which has become a critically endangered species as of late, so I was already halfway on board. However, what really made these songs stand out for me was their uniqueness. Each ode to the wonders of Truvia is sung in this odd, quirky acoustic-folk style in a non-traditional, slightly unpolished sounding voice (for those of you who wish to know it's some random actress-singer named Therese Hegler). As for the lyrics, they are these odd little first person love ballads to Truvia's natural, calorie free delights, with accompanying dramatization, about being in a miserable relationship with a psedo-personification of "sweetness" (who sort of comes off as a terrible boyfriend in each song) and then finding a a new love (a zero calorie true love!) with Truvia; strange rhyme schemes and weird metaphors abound.

The jingles walk an extremely fine line between shaggy charm and irritating quirkiness. If their youtube clips are any indication (the clips tend to skew about 1/3 to 1/2 dislike rate along with comments that range from "So fucking adorable. i love this commercial" to "i wanna punch that voice") they are fairly polarizing. While I normally hate this sort of overly precious (dare I say "adorkable") work, there's something weirdly genuine about these ads. I think it's because the product is so mundane (it's just another kind of Sweet'N Low) and the melodrama of the jingles are so needlessly high (seriously who has that kind of wonderous life change just from switching to sugar substitutes?) that there is a legitimacy to its cute lack of coolness, I can really believe that they are not trying hard to cool at all. It's a hell of a lot more real than that insufferable old Zooey Deschannel cotton ad.

I recall seeing at least two different adverts on TV, but from what I've gathered there are at least four different commercials. If I had to rank them by some subjective personal metric from least favorite to favorite:

Sweetness comes off as manipulator, a toxic emotional vampire that sort of delights in playing head games with the protagonist. The "guilty crumbs in my bed" line creepily infers a weird sexual relationship. In regards to the video, I don't frequent guilt laden stare downs with chocolate bunnies are all that common a complaint among modern women.

Sweetness is now a serial philanderer to which the protagonist finally resolves herself to escape his chocolate covered charms. Also, four women sharing one tiny desert? They have some serious issues with food that even Truvia won't cure.

Sweetness is just a straight up jerk here, plain and simple. I like the line about Truvia not landing on "my hips or my thighs" followed later with "it's better than flirting or french fries" (although I have to disagree, few things in this world are better than french fries).

This is the most literal representation of sweetness, it has made the protagonist's butt fat; a valid cause as any to leave a relationship (perhaps this is some sort of sick feederism based relationship?). I consider this the best because it's the most straightforward and relatable with the target audience. As an ad it works the best.

For those seeking a fuller effect, check out the medley with the lyrics.


  1. I don't remember ever seeing these before in my life. These are amazing. What shows were you watching that played these? A lot of Oxygen or Lifetime?

  2. Now that I think about it I probably saw them mostly on Hulu, although this is also the sort of thing I'd come across during the Price is Right.