Rejected submission: Gulden’s mustard commercial

As a man ages, he realizes that he must give up childish pursuits. As my rapid, chronological descent into adulthood brings me ever closer to sobering reality, I am forced to confront such wisdom. Once upon a time, I enjoyed writing, simply as a creative release; an exercise in conceptualization. Now, I look to the future: how can I turn my passion into something less personally engaging, but something far more profitable?

This line of thought has led me, inevitably, to writing ad copy. The copywriting field has long been a lucrative abort-button for the creatively inclined who lack the ambition to write the next great American novel, or who otherwise enjoy eating and living inside things as compared to never eating and living outside. Given that, I have sculpted the next great masterpiece, as far as mustard commercials go.

Edit: This piece was originally withheld from publication on BLAG, as I was submitting it for publication elsewhere. It was rejected. Fortunately, my failure is your victory and you can now read the submission in its entirety, below.

Gulden’s mustard commercial (to be used during the Super Bowl)

Two men sit at a high-top table in a burger restaurant. The waitress arrives with two cheeseburgers.

“OK, you’ve got the cheddar burger. And the California burger with swiss, for you. Can I get you guys anything else?”

“Yeah,” says Man #1, “can we get some mustard?”

“Sure,” says the waitress. “We have French’s or Gulden’s.”

“I’ll take some French’s, please,” says Man #2.

“And for you?” the waitress asks Man #1.

“Oh, I’ll have Gulden’s, please,” he replies.

The room grows dim, as if the ambient light has been sucked through a hole in the wall. The camera jumps to the faces of some of the other customers in the restaurant. The music that had been playing lightly in the background stops abruptly. As the room darkens, the customers look around, confused.

Suddenly, the groaning of old, thick spruce beams fills the dining area, as if a clipper ship was being bent from stern to bow. CRACK. The ceiling shudders under the tremendous stress. Customers begin looking upward just in time to see the ceiling give way to the magnificent force. A complexity of fractures begins to appear, line by line. The cracks reach critical proportions. Chunks of the ceiling begin breaking free, only to be pulled upwards, revealing a violent, galactic tempest. It appears as if a black hole is destroying the restaurant. People are crying, praying. Through the now gaping hole in the ceiling appears a nebulous charybdis, inhaling napkins at first, then place settings and food, tables, empty chairs and, finally, some of the customers. Their screams echo briefly, before the very sounds of the restaurant exit through the overwhelming wormhole that has formed where the ceiling once was.

Man #2 looks at Man #1. “What the hell is happening?!” he mouths, but his cries are whisked into the gaping maw overhead before they can ever reach Man #1.

Man #1 says nothing. His eyes begin to roll back into his head. His hair, standing at ends, writhes like thousands of electric snakes wriggling in all directions, as if escaping a scalp set aflame. His skin begins to illuminate as his eyes whiten and glow as if two 1,000-candle flashlights were jammed into the back of his skull.

Man #1 begins to rise from his seat, just as the high-top table he and Man#2 are placed at suddenly shoots upward and through the hole in the ceiling and out into space at incalculable speed. His stool falls sideways, but makes no sound as it hits the ground. In fact, everything is silent now. Man #1 is levitating. His skin turns a polished bronze, his eyes now blinding Man#2, burning his skin. Man #2 tries to look away, but cannot unfix his gaze. Suddenly, Man #2 is thrown against a wall. Immobilized, he can only watch in awesome fear as Man #1 levitates higher, now in the center of the dining room. One by one, each of the other restaurant patrons appear to be screaming in agony. Still, there is no sound.

Man #1 is now hovering in the center of the room. His hue changes again, from a dim copper to a near-blinding gold. His expressionless face becomes invisible to mortal eyes amidst the overexposure. One by one, the other customers seem to devolve into creatures formed purely of agony. And, one by one, their heads explode without the slightest sound, bodies collapsing into heaps on the hardwood floor.

Then, as suddenly as it began, the unworldly tempest ends. The ceiling replaces itself, piece by piece. The cracks glow, then meld and disappear. Man #1 regains his human hue, his eyes dim back to a calm blue. He floats, gently, back to his seat. He carefully squirts some of the Gulden’s mustard that the waitress had brought moments before on his California-style burger with avocado and replaces the top bun and takes a bite. “Mmm,” he says. “That’s a good mustard.”

The shot cuts to the Gulden’s logo. Voiceover: “Are you a Gulden God?”


[ETA: I kind of get why they rejected this, in retrospect]

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3 Responses to Rejected submission: Gulden’s mustard commercial

  1. creeped says:

    I don’t think they appreciated your vision and your dogged dedication to the playful pun. It totally works. Shame on them.

    • AJ says:

      Hey, it’s been a while! Thank you — I hardly ever get the kudos I deserve for my unpaid corporate art.

      • creeped says:

        Yeah I disappeared due to a complete lack of inspiration, wit, gumption, empathy. Choose one or choose them all!

        I’m back. Glad to see somethings haven’t changed. Although you should be getting paid for this stuff by now.

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