Funny New Hanes Ad Uses Cute-Yet-Surly Kids to Hawk Eco-Friendly Underclothes

The new Hanes commercial is a mini horror flick (scroll down for video). It opens innocently enough. Two guys, James and Pete, are walking through a mall, both dressed casually in t-shirts and hoody sweatshirts. It seems pleasant enough, but then a kid in a stroller throws what appears to be Fruit Loops at Pete, and when he glances over she’s scowling at him. Next, a little girl in a glass elevator glares at him as the car descends. Soon, all the kids in the mall are staring at Pete, the music builds, and the angry children start closing in. James, meanwhile, is totally oblivious. That’s because, we learn, he’s wearing a Hanes undershirt, and the fabric in 67% of these garments is made using renewable energy. And he also had the foresight to put on Hanes’ EcoSmart socks made with 55% recycled fiber.

“In little ways, James and Hanes are helping the planet for future generations, and Pete is not,” the announcer says.

Ok, maybe “horror flick” is an exaggeration—there were no blood and guts, nobody died, though the mood was somewhat ominous. Still, I laughed out loud when I saw the commercial last night, which is pegged to Earth Day. Like Audi’s Green Police Super Bowl commercials, I thought the spot was effective because the company went for funny, not preachy. Hanes says its EcoSmart polyester fiber is made from recycled platic bottles, and its EcoSmart cotton yarn used in some of its socks is made from textile cutting waste. The company’s eco efforts might not be on par with, say, Patagonia, but it’s encouraging to see a huge mainstream clothing manufacturer moving in the right direction.

A quick look at the comments on YouTube shows that not everyone agrees, of course.

ReimerKeith wasn’t buying it: “Cute. But very counterproductive as advertising. I will never buy one? of their products again."

And then there were a few stronger reactions, like samyjess21: “Because Hanes has obviously drank the Kool-Aid and bought into? the save the planet, global warming Earth day crap. I'm saying goodbye to Hanes products for good as well.”

But by and large, I don’t think the commercial is going to hurt Hanes’ sales.

molliemuse27 “this is hilarious -? first commercial in a long time to make me laugh-out-loud. not sure why people say this makes them not want to purchase. not sure where you get leftist = fascist, either. just enjoy the funny commercial, geez.”

What's your take?

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