Mentos Lessons: The Car Movers

A number of different Mentos flavors

A number of different Mentos flavors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We can all agree that when something needs to be made fresh, Mentos should be involved. Of course, if we can’t all agree, I can always use the power of those mints to convince any foolish naysayers.

I am a fan of the old Mentos commercials, the ones that showed how resourceful people who ate that candy could be. Mentos consumers were not only minty fresh, but capable of creatively resolving any situation while winning their tormentor’s admiration.

This is the first of a series of occasional posts I’ll be writing to discuss the lessons of, and the complete spectacularness of the old Mentos ads. Today’s lesson will be on the classic ad, The Car Movers.

Let’s watch:

Plot Discussion

An inconsiderate man puts our heroine in a difficult situation. He squeezes his Lincoln Continental into a parking space, but does not leave her enough room to get her sassy Euro-girl car out of the parking space behind his gas-guzzling land yacht.

Before we go on, I’d like to acknowledge the skill of this man. Parallel parking a Continental is no small feat. Doing so in a very tight space, without hitting other cars is very admirable. Kudos to him for being able to do it. As we know, I am the king of parallel parking, but this guy does some top-notch parking and has my respect for it.

That said, he is kind of a jerk. Alerted to the situation he has placed this young woman in, he responds by indicating he is far too busy and important to help. Then he runs away. Literally, he runs away. I don’t respect that, and hope you don’t either.

Our heroine, let’s call her Dana, because I’m tired of impersonal pronouns, does not panic as she watches The Jerk run from her. Dana reflects on her freshness and comes up with an idea.

She calls for assistance. Four burly Sven looking guys in bib overalls come to her aid. The Jerk watches the situation evolve from his office. This development concerns him – what is her plan? Is he about to take a beating from four Swedes who won Honorable Mention ribbons in the local Super Mario look-alike contest?

Of course not, The Freshmaker never advocates violent solutions. The four Svens heft the sassy car out into the travel lane to Dana’s delight and The Jerk’s relieved wonder. Reassured that he is not about to take a beating and out of admiration for Dana’s problem solving skills, The Jerk delivers a head tip of respect. Dana does not respond by taunting him;  The Jerk’s acknowledgement is sufficient for her.

Lessons Learned

What are the lessons of this ad?

First, it depicts the benefit of not panicking. Most any situation is resolvable. Careful consideration is key, panic interferes with that. Dana quickly resolves a dilemma by calm assessment and accessing the resources available. I’ve no doubt that if the Sven quintuplets had not been walking by, Dana would have resolved this problem in some other unique manner.

Second, thinking outside the box is good. Only violence is off the table. When The Jerk ran away, Dana did not become enraged and give chase. She kicked that old box aside and started thinking. Her solution was creative and effective.

Last, victory is its own reward. Once the Overall Gang freed the Sassy Mobile from its parking spot, Dana did not gloat. Her good attitude allowed The Jerk to give her the props she deserved without having his nose rubbed in his insensitivity. As Bruce Springsteen once said, “in the end, nobody wins unless everybody wins.”  By not crushing The Jerk with her victory, Dana demonstrated what Bruce espoused.

That concludes today’s lesson. Be fresh, my friends.

20 Comments on “Mentos Lessons: The Car Movers”

  1. lbwoodgate says:

    Good lesson. I would have unloaded the entire pack of Mentos in a 1 liter bottle of coke and placed it under the jerks car. That would have moved it every bit as fast and let’s face it, only in commercial fantasies do people in such situations not lose their cool. 🙂

  2. I am impressed with the insight you have of the psychology behind the mentos ads. Although I would probably agree with ibwoodgate on this one, I will be looking forward to learning more.

  3. Most excellent. Really amazing. I think you have a future in using media as a teaching tool. However, I would add….The jerk and the girl hooked up later and dated for a few miserable years before the girl finally realized she could do so much better.. The girl is in her 20’s. Girls that age love jerks in expensive suits, with office jobs. By the way, can you parallel park in Chicago, downtown on a Saturday, with horse carriages moving in and out of traffic? I can. I guess I need to read the parallel parking post. Cheers!

  4. benzeknees says:

    The only thing to make this commercial more special would be if she shared her Mentos with her burly saviors!

  5. I remember this commercial well and I really thought lifting cars was NBD after being exposed to this far too often at an impressionable age. But I was always kind of bitter that the jerk didn’t get his comeuppance.

    • omawarisan says:

      The no comeuppance thing is part of the Mentos mystique. The jerk knows Dana could have directed her overall guys toward him. She even makes eye contact as if to say “you see this, right?” The implied message is “the next time it might be you.”

      • I mean, I already have to take the high road everyday in real life. At the very least, I could get a satisfying conclusion to my Mentos commercials.

        • omawarisan says:

          Ok, how about:

          Dana does not panic as she watches The Jerk run from her. Dana reflects on her freshness and comes up with an idea.

          She calls for assistance. Four burly Sven looking guys in bib overalls come to her aid. Using the picks and shovels they were using on their job site, they bash The Jerkmobile over and over. Then they gather on one side of the car and flip it up onto a curb, taking care to ensure that the parking meter pierces the roof. Dana downs the last three Mentos and tosses the wrapper in through a broken window before she goes to her car and drives off.

  6. As typically brilliant as your analysis is, I’m not entirely convinced that Dana’s final Mentos thrust does not qualify as a taunt.

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  8. shoutabyss says:

    I’ve thought about it and carefully considered. And I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t have handled the situation in precisely the same way as Dana. Not to put too fine a point on it but my approach would be ever so imperceptibly different. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice the difference in approaches, to be sure. But please don’t think this is criticism of Dana’s approach. We’re all just different and that’s what makes the world so fun and keeps us on our toes.

    This is one of those times that lore gleaned from the internet would finally be helpful and most likely save my life. I’d take my handy stick of Mentos (always at the ready) and drop them into the car’s gas tank. Then I’d rock the car back and forth until the chemical reaction in the innards caused the thing to blow up. Most likely I wouldn’t survive, either, but something tells me I could live with that.

    I’m the Freshmaker!

  9. spencercourt says:

    I love Mentos. Unfortunately, I’ve had to give them up because I’m worried they may crack a tooth and I don’t need any more of that.

    I’d like to see an “updated” version of the commercial you used and replace the car with the Costa Concordia and how Mentos gets that ship off the rocks….you can direct!

  10. planetross says:

    Is that a young Helen Hunt in this ad?

    Mentos are like PEZ … except they are minty, chewy, and aren’t dispensed from the mouth of various cartoon characters.
    … there should be a Mentos dispenser, maybe something that looks like a gun.

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