The Simpsons and Butterfinger brand chocolate bars had a long and fruitful endorsement deal – one that began even before the series started – generating over a hundred (!?!) commercials over a period of 13 years. Then, for unknown reasons, Butterfinger terminated the partnership in 2001. Not one to leave bridges unburned, The Simpsons poked fun at their former corporate partner in the 2002 episode Sweets & Sour Marge, as described in Chris Turner’s book Planet Simpson:
In a Season 13 episode, the Springfield court imposes a total ban on sugar. A giant bonfire is built to burn all the sugary treats in Springfield, and some police officers attempt to throw a pile of Butterfingers onto the blaze. As they hit the fire, though, a sort of force field surrounds them, and they’re thrown back, unburned. “Not even the fire wants them,” Chief Wiggums notes ruefully.
A later episode, Half-Decent Proposal, featured the chalkboard gag “I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers,” indicating Butterfinger was unhappy with the joke and made their displeasure known.
And so, for over a decade, Bart Simpson never so much as laid a finger on a crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery Butterfinger. Spokespeople including Seth Green, Lou “Iron Man” Ferrigno, and Jaime Pressly were brought in as replacements for Bart, but things just weren’t the same. Could those two bar-crossed brands ever reconcile and form a new advertising partnership?
Bart Simpson reunites with @butterfinger in Nestle’s “Nobody Better Lay A Finger” campaign. Follow the reunion on Twitter! #LoveAtFirstBite
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) April 5, 2013
YES, hence the existence of this post! They’ve set aside their differences to prey on consumers’ lingering Simpsons nostalgia, just in time for Butterfinger’s “90ish” anniversary and The Simpsons‘s 50th! Everybody’s happy, except for this guy:
Why exactly Nestle USA wants to reconnect with a property that hasn’t been funny or relevant since even before the company severed all ties with the once great sitcom is a mystery. Especially considering that it’s rumored – by the fan community, at least- that The Simpsons will end next year at season 25.
At risk of sounding like a corporate shill, I find the old Butterfinger commercials sort of a fascinating, underlooked part of the Simpsons oeuvre. They tended to use a lot of neat, zippy camera movements and angles that rarely occured in the series. Here’s a compilation: