Those who appreciate the finer things in life are generally against the idea of sequels; they’re so crass, so money-grubbing, so… déclassé, unless you’re talking about the Ring Cycle. But snobs and slobs alike should be delighted to hear that Grey Poupon, the label that single-jar-edly made it okay for America to move beyond French’s yellow mustard, is bringing back its iconic “Pardon Me” ad campaign for one night only.
Anyone who watched television in the ’80s or ’90s will remember the campaign’s general conceit: A fancy-looking man drives through a quaint country scene in a chauffeured car when another expensive automobile pulls up alongside him. The back window rolls down to reveal a similarly fancy-looking man, who asks, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”
“But of course,” the first man replies, handing over a jar of dijon mustard. The tagline: “One of life’s finer pleasures.”
The initial “Pardon Me” commercial aired in 1981. Variations on that original idea appeared on TV throughout the decade and into the late ’90s — including the following spot, which is my personal favorite (“It’s a frank-FUR-ter!”):
16 years later, the mustard company has revealed that it’s reviving “Pardon Me” for a spot that will air during this Sunday’s Oscars. As the Associated Press explains, the new commercial is a bit more action-oriented than its predecessors: “The scene continues with the second car speeding off without returning the mustard. A wild car chase through a golf course and city streets ensues, complete with explosions.”
While this may sound like the work of Michael Bay, the ad was actually directed by Bryan Buckley — a commercial helmer who recently shepherded Super Bowl commercials for Best Buy (starring Amy Poehler!) and Tide. Buckley also happens to be up for an Academy Award for Best Live Action short this weekend.
In keeping with Grey Poupon’s elitist image, the “Pardon Me” revival will air only once on live TV. Don’t fret if you plan on missing the Oscars for a yacht club party or midwinter nighttime polo match, though — GreyPouponChase.com will host an extended video of the car chase right after the 30-second version plays on air. How perfectly grand!