When Every 90s Commercial Ever went online yesterday, it immediately drew comparisons to last year's Too Many Cooks. This new video though, is—spoiler—way more fun about its use of gore, and it's more of a direct parody than Cooks, going after the bizarre tropes advertisers used to appeal to kids in the 90s, particularly a surreal series of commercials for Capri Sun (remember those?).
I didn't know I needed this to exist, but when I found out it did, I had no choice but to track down Dez Dolly, the horror fanatic who made it, so I could find out how it came to be.
VICE: So I just watched Every 90s TV Commercial Ever and it was hilarious.
Dez Dolly: Thank you very much.
What do you think of Too Many Cooks?
I'm honestly embarrassed to say I haven't seen it.
When did this idea come about?
We've got this big board on a wall with all these weird, crazy ideas that are more for our amusement; we don't think they'll ever get made. And we found ourselves in this really rare situation where someone came to us and asked us to make a video to promote a thing, and told us we could do whatever we wanted, which never really happens. We said, "Are you sure? Anything?"
So technically it's branded content?
It started that way—and I can't say much about it—but when we delivered the final cut to this particular brand, it scared the living shit out of them. They asked us to remove all of their branding and never mention our association with them whatsoever. So it started off as an original idea, then got funded as a piece of branded content, and in the end, it just turned out to be what it was.
And they completely relinquished any rights to it that they had to it?
So what are those weird old Capri Sun commercials going for?
What they're going for is to get kids to ask their parents to go buy that crap. I don't understand how kids turning into liquid metal and throwing basketballs around is going to get that to happen, but I'd like to see the brand studies on that. I would love to go back and meet those people. Just be in the room when they're thinking up those ideas.
Why'd you go to the trouble of technically matching the appearance of the original?
It would've been easy to just rip that kind of thing apart, but there was this fine line of approaching those spots both lovingly and ironically, simultaneously.
Can you talk to me about getting those kids to act like that?
We actually have this really interesting behind-the-scenes video that one of our people put together and you see that we had to sort of take them through "90s Commercial Camp," where we showed them hours of these spots, [and] we were all exemplifying that accent, that affectation, that rad, excellent, extreme 'tude. They just absorbed it and picked up on it. We just created this really radical mood on set and everyone kind of lived in that.
"Creating a radical mood" sounds like an awesome party.
It was pretty fun.
Tell me a little about the process of creating Downtown Darius Jackson.
I was reminded, when we were talking about the script and working in the room, of those old Charles Barkley spots or those old Michael Jordan pieces, where these guys were just out of their element. It's just hilarious. Now that you go back and look at it, they're all wooden.
The name itself—we probably spent more time trying to come up with the line "Downtown Darius Jackson" than anything other line in that script. "Neon Deion Sanders" was the inspiration for that.
Where'd your monster come from?
My favorite flicks as a kid were Ghostbusters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and also The Thing, if that says anything about my particular style. I was a child of the 80s. I originally wanted to be a makeup special effects guy, so I sort of really connect with pieces like this where you get to play with the lost art, if you will. We just found these guys, and they did really amazing stuff. The Thing type stuff, specifically. We just wanted to get them to make something really horrific and funny. But definitely The Thing was the main influence. Like, take a look at these Capri Sun spots, and let's go The Thing with it.
How'd the video do yesterday?
I think we were top spot on Reddit for a short period of time. We might still be there. It was a good day.
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