The Time Miracle Whip And Stephen Colbert Feuded

Ah, 2009. It was a simpler time: the world was full of hope; we had a new president, and all we had to worry about was Stephen Colbert feuding with Miracle Whip. Some of us may remember the humorous incident and the resulting advertising blitz from Miracle Whip. For those who don't, let's get nostalgic.

Before inheriting "The Late Show" on CBS in 2015, Colbert lampooned right-wing statespersons on the satirical "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central from 2005-2014. He didn't stick to politicians, though; everything was fair game—even salad spreads.

Miracle Whip is the tangier, sweeter cousin of mayonnaise. While taste is subjective, it's a divisive condiment that people either love or love to hate. When one user on Reddit asked, "What does Miracle Whip taste like?" many users had no qualms about posting their opinions. One user described it as "rancid" mayonnaise, while others said it's just "sweet mayo." Even users who grew up with Miracle Whip prefer mayonnaise as adults.

Don't be so mayo

In October 2009, Miracle Whip ran an ad that attempted to position the tangy salad spread as edgy, cool, and decidedly non-mayo. It features young hipsters dancing on rooftops, sharing sandwiches and dips, all seemingly made with Miracle Whip. "Don't be ordinary, boring, or bland," the voiceover quips. "In other words, don't be so mayo," it continues. We do admit it seems a little over the top, but we appreciate the effort.

Well, the ad fired Colbert up into a frenzy. "Don't be so mayo? I am offended," he rants. With his trademark bluster, Colbert launched a full-throated defense of mayonnaise and threw down the gauntlet by "...prov[ing] once and for all that mayo is the illest condiment in the hiz-ouse." The segment continues into a spoof of the original commercial: young people enjoying what appears to be a mayonnaise-themed party, complete with a mayonnaise keg stand and a bong.

Miracle Whip fires back

The dig at Miracle Whip did not go unnoticed. In what was a rather genius advertising move, Miracle Whip published an open letter announcing that it had bought ad space in each commercial break of the November 12, 2009 episode of The Colbert Report. "With every ad break, your viewers will be exposed to hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry," they wrote. There is no such thing as bad press, and Miracle Whip's creative team took the opportunity and ran with it. 

In the space, they ran an ad that the company seemed proud to have pinged Colbert's radar, even declaring that Colbert had given them the finger. It was a gentle ribbing of the host for his send-up of the sandwich spread, stating, "We're Miracle Whip, and we will not tone it down."

"I know when I've been bested," Colbert admitted. He thanked them for their ad buy, as advertising revenue in the television industry was low. He could "... certainly use the money. To buy more delicious mayonnaise."