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Children Who’ve Walked In On Parents Going At It: Ragu Feels Your Pain

An ad for Ragu’s “Long Day of Childhood” campaign empathizes with children who’ve discovered that their parents still, um, enjoy each other’s company.

Children Who’ve Walked In On Parents Going At It: Ragu Feels Your Pain

Some say that being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but being a kid is pretty rough too. You get lied to regularly about everything from the amount that iodine is going to hurt when it soaks into a scrape to the existence of Santa Claus. Even worse, at any moment you teeter on the brink of forcing an impromptu sex ed class from hell by walking in on your parents going at it—a fate that befalls the young star of Ragu’s now-notorious ad.

Part of the pasta sauce company’s “Long Day of Childhood” campaign, created by agency Barton F. Graf 9000 NY, the Parent’s Bedroom ad premiered during prime-time Olympics, and caused a stir immediately. After a young boy fails to knock on his parent’s bedroom door, he walks in and has his innocence shattered (thankfully, though, the camera doesn’t follow him into the room). The only thing that can soothe this child’s presumable loss of innocence is a hearty bowl of Ragu-laden pasta, the ad finally suggests.

It seems like a rather brazen move to make a kid-focused ad that so clearly alludes to sex, and premiere it during one of the most-watched, family-focused events in the world. That’s a tough balancing act, but BFG pulls it off, mostly through perfect casting. (The look on the little boy’s face as he recoils with horror seems like the kind of thing that will live on in the collective unconscious for a while.)

Watch more ads from the “Long Day of Childhood” campaign below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.