The Magic Behind 1994’s Super Mario Mac & Cheese Commercial

With the Sega Genesis edging out Super Nintendo sales in the heated 16-bit console wars of the mid ‘90s, Nintendo decided it was time to unveil their groundbreaking secret project.

Of course, I’m speaking about Rare’s pseudo-3D Donkey Kong Country.

But the same year that brought the barrel-tossing ape back into the spotlight also featured a new Super Mario-themed macaroni and cheese from the masterminds at Kraft. Which one of these decisions pushed Nintendo back to the top of the market? It’s hard to say.

Well, not really. It was definitely Donkey Kong Country.

Even though Super Mario World had launched alongside the Super Nintendo three years prior in 1991, there hadn’t been any cheesy Mario characters and items to gorge on for some time.

And when you have a snazzy new mac and cheese theme in the works, it’s only natural that you would want to promote it with a eye-catching commercial.

Thirty seconds of airtime doesn’t seem like much, but when it comes to mixing traditional animation, stop motion animation and live action elements, it becomes quite the undertaking.

The fine folks at the now-defunct Curious Pictures (who worked on everything from the Baby Einstein cartoon series to the Rock Band games) were responsible for cobbling together this fast and furious masterpiece.

At some point Curious Pictures also released an insightful and strangely monotone breakdown of their newest Kraft commercial. The video has been floating around the web for quite a few years (and was brought to my attention by Twitter user Forest of Illusion), but a behind-the-scenes look like this can always use a little more exposure.

There’s something hilarious and oddly alluring about the pacing, wording, and matter-of-fact delivery throughout the video as a whole. You have Mario jumping into the seaoni, caves with stop-motion dinomation, and boy bites galore.

It’s less of a detailed explanation and more of a step-by-step list of what the production staff needed to accomplish in each and every frame.

Strange presentation aside, it’s still a fascinating peek into the staggering amount of work it took to produce a single commercial in 1994. Really gets your noodle goin’.

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