It's not unusual these days to see a brand co-opting an internet meme to try and relate to the cool, hip teenz. But back in 2004, the idea of a real life adult corporation acknowledging internet culture was still extremely new. Plenty of millennials and younger Gen Z kids were simultaneously amused and traumatized by this ad from Quiznos, which brought an internet meme called the Spongmonkeys to life to sing about sandwiches.
The Spongmonkeys were a creation of Joel Veitch and the website B3ta, a hub for strange internet animations that made up the foundations of our earliest memes. Below is a video of the Spongmokeys performing one of their original works, in the time before your parents were on Facebook.
Suddenly and without warning, the memory of these adorable and horrifying little creatures has taken over Twitter. Users are at once waxing nostalgic and re-traumatizing themselves with the memory of these little snack rats.
I think about this commercial once a week, easily.
My eyes often loose focus and I'll chant "dey got a pepper bar" in a high pitched wail directed up towards an uncaring god. Does he hear my cries? Does he care? Only the shadows truly know and they refuse to say as of yet.
— Ryan Hartman (@RyanHartmanWins) June 17, 2019
Is this the source of our generation's downfall? Or just a haunting memory we as a people have yet to face? It's hard to be sure. What we do know is that this ad was probably the first in what quickly became a new normal: for brands to take weird internet culture and make it a thing that sells stuff.
At the time this commercial seemed *so* bizarre and now most brands do shit posts as ads https://t.co/ds2FmLZ5b5
— Bedder (@itgetsbedder) June 17, 2019
I entirely forgot that quiznos was advertising with a short lived internet meme long before the current state of corporate twitter.
Like they actually aired this on tv where your dad could see it. Ahead of their damn time.
— Silveretta (@Saint_SIl) June 17, 2019
But while this once wired trend may now be considered tired, it's useful once and awhile to look back on our shared history. If only to see how far we've come, and maybe to exercise some old demons that still haunt us.
every time someone brings up the quiznos rats i feel the need to remind everyone that i was absolutely fucking TERRIFIED of those commercials as a kid, to the point that i'd literally run out of the room screaming and crying when they came on
— 𝕨𝕒𝕣𝕡 💖💜💙 (@hoofscout) June 17, 2019
It's okay, everyone. The Spongmonkeys can't hurt us anymore. Or, so we hope.