The Rugrats Movie Presents The Mercury Villager

The Villager is also being advertised in
various magazines. To see this ad from
the November 1998 issue of "Good Housekeeping", click here. (Ad (c)
1998 Ford Motor Company. Rugrats characters (c) 1998 Viacom.)

Ford Motor Company's Lincoln-Mercury unit will be using Rugrats characters to unveil their new minivan, the Mercury Villager, around the same time as the movie's release, with the Rugrats riding around in the animated version of the Villager (actually, a photo of a Villager on an animated background, similar to the ad at left).

In one ad now playing on some TV networks, Stu & Didi talk about how their new movie stardom is going to affect the well-being of the kids; Didi mentions that the babies' newfound stardom may go through their head, according to Dr. Lipschitz. Then, as Howard was taping the Rugrats playing, Angelica, with sunglasses and a feather boa, steps out of the van (with a picture of a yellow star taped on the door) and says to the camera, "Mr. DeVille,. I'm ready for my close-up!"  The tag line:

Announcer: "The Mercury Villager. Endorsed by parents..."

Angelica (blows kisses as announcer talks, then removes sunglases): "...and babies!"

The TV ad is part of Mercury's ongoing "Imagine TV" campaign, where each TV show & commercial features a Mercury vehicle, complete with a Mercury logo "bug" in the lower right corner.

This is the first time Nicktoons characters were used to sell stuff specifically for grown-ups, but it's not the first time animated characters in general were used to sell them. A couple of years ago, Speed Racer was used to sell Volkswagens, and all of you already know about Peanuts and Met Life insurance. As a matter of fact, Peanuts characters were used before in the early-1960s to sell Ford Falcons.

If you haven't seen the ads yet, look for them soon, and look for the Villager "at the sign of the cat" (Fluffy, that is).

(Source: Animation World Network; special thanks to Don Del Grande)

Above: A mini-poster of The Rugrats Movie and the Mercury Villager, handed out as premiums at some theaters. Picture is the same as the magazine ads, but the ad copy is different, with more emphasis on the movie.To see a larger version, click here.

(From ebay; ©1998 Ford Motor Company / Viacom.)

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