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The Halls-mark of charm

BY PATRICK BIGSBY | NOVEMBER 18, 2009 7:21 AM

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Lately, my attempts to turn on the charm have fallen flat. With all the striking out I’ve been doing, I considered giving up all together. Fortunately, America’s advertisers have struck gold with the ultimate pickup line: “Would you like a Halls Refresh?”

In case you haven’t been trolling Hulu lately, allow me to summarize the TV spot — a mother is helping her son move into his dorm room, when the son’s socially awkward roommate offers the tired woman a Halls Refresh lozenge. She accepts and enjoys the candy-like lozenge while sharing extended eye contact with the roommate. Her son and husband enter, agog.

Seems like any other medical-supplement sales pitch to me, but apparently the Halls Refresh is killing on the singles scene.

I would never have suspected that this seemingly innocuous offer of a cough drop would have such a steamy connotation, but according to the American Decency Association (I didn’t know it existed, either), the ad is “disgusting” because of its brazen display of “a mom standing inches apart from a young college boy staring at him as he stares at her as the camera focuses on their mouths moving in sexually suggestive ways while the voice-over shares their suggestive thoughts.”

The decency association goes further to call Cadbury, Halls’ parent company, “morally bankrupt.”

Call me out-of-touch, but I didn’t know that soothing a sore throat was the gateway to second base.

Cadbury assured the association that the ad “is intended to communicate the product’s key attributes — refreshing, juicy, and mouth-wateringly intense flavor enjoyment,” but this explanation has done little to quell the outrage of the group’s members (who, obviously, will be handling flu season with the help of pure, wholesome Ricola).

Despite these objections, it’s hard to argue with the young man’s results, morally bankrupt or not. I think it’s reasonable to conclude that most singles would be interested in a very real connection that stems from a mutual love for the salivary sensation that is a Halls Refresh.

Ladies, take note — this weekend I’ll be out on the town with a roll of Halls Refresh in my pocket.
I think it’s you who will be happy to see me.


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