Altoids A Slap to the Cerebellum

Altoids, the strong mints, are promoted as a slap to the cerebellum since 1780 in a campaign out of the dark ages. The three TV ads in the campaign are set in London in the 1780s, the place and time in which Altoids were first developed as a stomach calmative by Smith & Company. It was the time of King George III, slave ships, the American Revolution, and the third series of Blackadder. The human brain (especially the cerebellum) needed to be attentive, sharp and focused.

Cerebellum Slap


A public servant (with bad teeth) is inspired by Altoids to come up with a new communication system as an alternative to courier pigeons, using electric eels, dots and dashes. But will he be heard? The electric telegraph was not to be developed until the 1830s.

Click on the image below to play the video.


A clerk is inspired by Altoids to come up with a solution to a broken printing machine. Fortunately her ideas are taken seriously.

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Promotion (Corner Office)

Two men of the street get ideas about promotion, in the context of beheading, jousts and the Black Death. The plague or Black Death appears to have last been seen in Europe in the early 1770s. Jousting was popular in Europe until the early 17th century, perhaps 150 years before 1780.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Slap to the Cerebellum campaign was developed at Energy BBDO, Chicago, by chief creative officer Marty Orzio, group creative directors Jim Hyman and Greg Braun, creative director/copywriter Mike Roe, creative director/art director Frank Dattalo, executive agency producer Brigitte Whisnant, and agency producer Liz Wzorek.

Filming was shot by director Tom Kuntz, via MJZ, and edited by Steve Gandolfi and Cut & Run. VFX and animation were handled at The Mill. Music was provided by Stimmung.

Altoids Promotion screenshot

Steffan Postaer, who was one of the first people to work on the Altoids account when it was with Leo Burnett (with Mark Faulkner), came up with the phrase, “Curiously Strong”. In his Gods of Advertising blog Postaer critiques the departure from the “Curiously Strong” for “Slap to the Cerebellum”. He remarks on the fact that the cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for motor control, not thinking. The cerebellum links sensory perception with motor control, along with the processing of language, music and other stimuli.

Via AdRants, the Altoids Slap YouTube channel, and Best Ads on TV (Promotion in quicktime).