Space Jam was a 1996 advertising campaign launched after Swackhammer Enterprises acquisition of the Looney Tunes. It was an absolute disaster, largely because Bugs Bunny starred in it during his rape allegations.
The Looney Tunes hadn't had a break since Who Framed Roger Rabbit when they all performed supporting roles, and there were no slots available for them on Animaniacs. With the advent of Bugs Bunny declining into a sex-crazed drug-addict, the Tunes seriously needed some support.
Simultaneously at the same time, the Stick E. Sweet Jam Company had also been acquired by Swackhammer Enterprises. The company was having poor sales since the Marmalade Famine of 1994, and was purchased cheaply. The company seriously needed help to advertise their products in order to increase sales.
An agreement was reached between Swackhammer Enterprises and the Fox Bros. Network to air several commercials of the product with one Looney Tune at a time on a continuant loop during prime-time TV. Each character would appear solo and explain the different ways that the jam could be used in cooking and around the house.
For no apparent reason, it was decided that all such adverts would be set in a research laboratory on the Moon, as if the Looney Tunes were experimenting with the use of jam, hence the nickname Space Jam.
Each recurring segment featured each Looney Tunes character as follows:
- Bugs Bunny
- Daffy Duck
- Sylvester the Cat (credited as Sylvester Stallone)
- Tweety Pie
- Porky Pig
- Elmer Fudd
- Road Runner
- Yosemite Sam
- Foghorn Leghorn
- Marvin the Martian
- Beaky Buzzard
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (credited as Bill Clinton)
Some nude shots of Lola Bunny were recorded but went unproduced after Bugs Bunny set fire to them because they featured Lola Bunny macking with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Each commercial was then shown between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on the Fox Bros. Network during the summer of 1996.
The Famous "You Talkin' To Me?" Scene
In a controversial screening of the film in 1990, cartographer Picasso used a set of Crayola markers to color over the original film before rolling.
With the fame of Bugs Bunny spiraling downward, everyone who saw the commercials simply muted them until they were over. Many newspapers and critics saw it as an attempt to place the Looney Tunes back in the spotlight, completely ignoring the product in question, and using the commercials simply to attack Bugs Bunny. The Anti-Bugs Bunny League in general uses Space Jam as anti-Bugs propaganda to this day.
However, it wasn't all bad. The media attention led to sales of Stick E. Sweet Jam shooting up by 197% in the first week alone. Although Space Jam had been a disaster for the Looney Tunes, it was an absolute success for the Swackhammer Enterprises.