Turn on, tune in, pop out

Advertiser/brand Trebor Basset/Butterkist

Agencies Michaelides and Bednash/Carat

Background Think popcorn, and most people immediately think cinema. For years Butterkist sought to build on that association with a classic cinema commercial. "Of course I loves you," said the voiceover. "I buys you Butterkist, don't I?"

A marketing strength, however, can also be a weakness. For all its virtues, Butterkist doesn't want to be associated only with cinema. For starters, even though 30pc of cinema-goers regularly buy popcorn, it's not the only thing on offer in the foyer these days.

At the same time, if it is to have any chance of increasing sales, Butterkist has to reach out beyond cinema to new eating opportunities.

One of the biggest is staring it in the face: TV, where, its research shows, just 3pc of viewers typically snack away on popcorn. The trick, however, is finding a way to target that market at the appropriate time.

Advertising on TV is, in a way, too late. By the time consumers are watching the ad, they can't buy any. The ads need to reach them before but in such a way as to remind them to buy popcorn.

What happens The answer, inevitably, is staring Butterkist in the face. Advertise in the TV listing sections. Thus we have the creation of the Butterkist family, a group of couch potato TV addicts who appear in a series of cartoons watching their favourite TV programmes such as Pop Rivals, Friends and Blind Date. The mini cartoons appear in the Daily Mirror on the days the programmes are broadcast.

Comment In the ultra-competitive snack market, budgets of £10m and more are common. As a secondary product in the Trebor portfolio, Butterkist doesn't have that luxury. It has to fight smarter and this is a good example of a media idea dovetailing neatly with a marketing idea.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2831041/Turn-on-tune-in-pop-out.html

What does the title "Turn on, tune in, pop out" exactly mean?

  • 2
    Could you quote it here to save us wading through the pageful of dodgy-looking cookie settings? Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 2:36
  • 1
    To avoid having this question closed, you should explain what research you've already done. For example, are you familiar with Timothy Leary's famous phrase? Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


It is intended as a humorous riff on the phrase and concept "Turn on, tune in, drop out" popularized by Timothy Leary in the 1960s.

Leary was encouraging taking thinking for yourself, taking psychedelic drugs and abandoning the conventions of society.

The ad is encouraging eating popcorn while watching TV.

Humorous? Well, they thought so.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .