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State Fair ads too hip to survive

Published October 4, 2010 1:16 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the Utah State Fair launched Thursday, the fair's board laid down the law: The fair is no place for cool, hip or edgy.

On Thursday, the fair's board voted to pull a pair of new TV commercials off the air. The ads, directed by Utah filmmaker Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite," "Nacho Libre"), feature a cool black guy singing, in a soulful Barry White-like voice, about the various cuts of a pig and the joys of funnel cakes. (Click on the image above to see the pig ad.)

The ads received an endorsement of sorts in the cool world: A mention in USA Today's PopCandy blog.

Fair Board chairman Lorin Moench Jr. told KSL that "the two that we had set up, we just didn't feel that they met the demographics, just the flavor of the fair." Instead, ads from two years ago will be used for the rest of the fair, which runs through Sept. 19.

If the "demographics" of the fair audience are uncool families, then maybe the ads are too cool for school. But the Fair Board's late-in-the-game complaints may show that the cattle barns aren't the only things producing big piles of manure.

UPDATE: The Tribune's Glen Warchol talked to Hess, who wonders of the Fair Board's decision is racially motivated — because the TV spots were pulled but the radio ads, which feature the same audio as the TV ads (but without seeing the black guy singing like Barry White), are still on the air.

Warchol also got this gem of a quote from Roger Beattie, vice chair of the Fair Board: "This would not incentivize me and my family and my circle of influence to attend the fair."

Suddenly the pot-bellied pig isn't the ugliest thing associated with the Utah State Fair.




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