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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 17, 2024 | 4 min read

A new commercial directed by Kip Dynamite actor Aaron Ruell sees Jon Heder reprise his iconic role to launch the innovative ‘Ore-Ida Tot-Protecting Pants,’ which keep his tots fresh and crispy.

In 2004, Napoleon Dynamite became a cult classic, thanks in part to his love for tater tots. One of the most memorable scenes involves Napoleon sneaking tots into class, only for a bully to crush them with a kick.

To celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary, Kraft-Heinz’s Ore-Ida brand, the creators of the original tater tots, has enlisted Napoleon Dynamite actor Jon Heder to reprise his role as Napoleon in a new campaign.

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Directed by Aaron Ruell, who played Kip in the film, the commercial recreates the quirky charm of the original movie. Heder dons an Ore-Ida t-shirt instead of his iconic ‘Vote for Pedro’ ringer tee. While reflecting on the traumatic tot-crushing incident, he introduces ‘The Ore-Ida Tot-Protecting Pants’ – pants specifically designed to safeguard tater tots from bullies.

These pants, inspired by fan requests, feature a stylish dark gray crocodile-print pattern and a unique, food-safe pocket to keep tots crispy and fluffy.

Jackie Britva, senior brand manager for Ore-Ida at The Kraft Heinz Company, commented on the campaign in a statement: “For over 70 years, Ore-Ida has prided itself on delivering crispy and fluffy potatoes every time. With June marking the film’s 20th anniversary, we knew it was the perfect time for Ore-Ida to solve Napoleon’s tot-tastrophe in a way only the inventor of tater tots could.”

The Kitchen, Kraft-Heinz’s in-house creative agency, led the campaign, while Carat handled its media plan.

“There’s no denying that Napoleon Dynamite is an iconic piece of indie film history, and thanks to the infamous tot-crushing scene, it became a pop culture phenomenon synonymous with Tater Tots,” added Simon Au, executive creative director of The Kitchen North America.

“So, for Ore-Ida ... the film’s 20th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to step in and provide a solve for crushed tots everywhere with Tot-Protecting Pants – something truly special for the fans ... To bring Jon Heder on board was incredible, and to also have Aaron Ruell, AKA ‘Kip Dynamite’ direct him, was the magic that truly brought the authenticity of the project to life.”

The comprehensive campaign will feature the hero spot and cutdown versions across connected and linear TV and the social media channels of both the brand and Jon Heder.

Additionally, Ore-Ida and Heder are partnering with Jimmy Kimmel Live for a special integration airing on June 17 and with Disney for creator support promoting the new pants.

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