It was the horniest biscuit ad the nation had ever seen, and became one All Black’s defining pop culture moment. We revisit the Toffee Pop ad starring Carlos Spencer and a whole lot of lust.
First published in 2017
The best shitty made trash cookie that you can buy in a supermarket, in my opinion, is the Toffee Pop. A plain biscuit with a thick caramel on top and coated completely in milk chocolate.
As a luxury cookie, you don’t get a huge amount in a packet, just enough to share with your favourite workmates – or to eat alone at home in one sitting after a slightly disappointing breakup. The first experience I had with Toffee Pops was watching this frightening ad in the early 90s:
That evil laugh haunted my childhood for years, until I was saved by the new Toffee Pops ad. It was the go-go 90s, the new millennium was fast approaching. Hair gel and lip liner was all the rage. Television advertising was arguably at its peak before a fast decline towards the 2010s, when streaming TV and file sharing was the new hottest illegal craze.
Back then, agencies had big budgets to create huge hype around their clients’ products, products to sell to someone the industry might call “the household shopper”. This person doesn’t necessarily earn all the money, but is most likely in charge of it and is usually also in charge of the running of the home.
Traditionally, advertisers assumed this person to be the mum in a family or a single woman living on her own. She is 25-54 years old, loves to unwind, has a sweet tooth and enjoys romance and tasteful sexual situations.
It is true for this world that sex sells. With the success of this old Diet Coke ad and sensual Moccona heft meer mMmmmMmm ads, Toffee Pops also went with the rule and created their own sexy advert with pretty it boy Carlos Spencer. If you’re under 30: imagine Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams without social media and a cheaper haircut.
The commercial starts off with a woman aged 25-54 years, unwinding in what looks like a very expensive house, satisfying her sweet tooth with a Toffee Pop.
Suddenly, Carlos Spencer walks in – abs first – wearing loose white undergarments and a silk robe. He saunters down a white staircase lined with open candles (fire hazard).
The scene is intoxicatingly erotic and heavy lidded. As it goes on, bosoms heave faster until the hallucinatory effects of the Toffee Pops wear off and the woman is confronted by the true form of her husband. Short, balding and portly, he is a far cry from the hairless marble-bodied Carlos Spencer.
End the most arousing television ad of the 90s. And if you were left wanting more, they also made the double Carlos ad for the Toffee Pop Extreme biscuit:
The ad was such a hit, Griffin’s went on to search for the next Toffee Pop Hunk of the Year. Many names were thrown into the competition from the public including Hercules’ Kevin Smith, gold medalist Rob Waddell and young spunk Jeremy Wells (all of whom said no). The promotion was so controversial there was even a formal complaint laid with the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority claiming that it was “offensive to men”.