WandaVision Commercials Defined: Breaking Down the In-Episode Adverts

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision, Season 1, Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall”]

WandaVision is upon us, friends, which means it’s time to get excited about the MCU again. The Disney+ series, starring Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany, throws The Avengers’ reality-manipulating sorceress Wanda Maximoff and erstwhile nerdy android Vision into a sitcom universe where they live as husband and wife. They charmingly fumble their way through cliché sitcom plots dealing with wacky neighbors and overbearing bosses and get into countless hijinks, all in front of a live studio audience. However, something is wrong here, and as the series progresses, strange and sinister clues begin to leak into their perfect world hinting at a grim reality that neither Wanda nor Vision are ready to face.

After years of having every stage of the MCU already mapped out for us, it’s beyond fun to be watching a new Marvel story and having exactly zero idea where it’s going or what it’s building up to. (Note to Marvel – please stop laying out your six-year slate of movies for us, it’s way more fun when we don’t know what to expect.) And while it’s made pretty clear early on that Wanda is at least in control of this universe if she didn’t create it entirely, the rest of the mystery of WandaVision is as intriguing as it is dense, with multiple Easter eggs in each episode leading to several possible theories about what exactly is going on.

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Easily the most cryptic part of each episode are the commercial breaks – brief minute-long interludes that interrupt each episode to deliver an in-universe advertisement that starts out vaguely bizarre and gradually gets more disquieting as it progresses. These commercials are packed with MCU references, and for the next several weeks, I’m going to do my best to break each one down and extract whatever clues might be hidden within. I’ll be updating this article as each new episode premieres, so be sure to keep checking back to see what you may have missed.

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

First, some general observations:

  • Most of the commercial breaks have (so far) only come during the first traditional act break of their respective episodes. I have no idea what this might mean, if anything.
  • The commercials have (so far) featured the same man and woman, whose roles change with each commercial.
  • Some of the commercials feature clocks that display two different times. This could be a reference to the series jumping forward through sitcom time periods, or it could be a broader reference to the nature of time and how Wanda’s pocket universe exists outside of time’s restraints. (Basically, time doesn’t matter in here.)
  • Two of the commercials (so far) feature a countdown that begins to increase rapidly, implying that we are on some sort of time table that will soon expire.
  • The commercials emphasize stereotypical gender roles. I’m not entirely sure what this might mean, but it could be an element of the subconscious trap in which Wanda has locked herself. She’s cast herself as a Leave it to Beaver nuclear family housewife for a reason, and she only breaks from her passive role when something threatens to disturb the peace of her sitcom reality.

As far as my brain can theorize, this could mean one of two things. Either the two actors in the commercials are S.W.O.R.D. agents using the format of commercials of the era to try and subtly communicate with Wanda without tipping her off or freaking her out, or the commercials are a manifestation of Wanda’s subconscious fighting against the dissociative reality she’s created. Either way, at this point it seems like the goal of the commercials is to gently lead Wanda back to reality.

Episode 1 – Toast Mate 2000

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

The first episode breaks for an ad extolling the virtues of the Toast Mate 2000, a stereotypical “space age” kitchen appliance from the 1950s. It’s essentially a sleek toaster oven, with a lower heating compartment for warming and/or reheating food. (Remember, this episode is set before microwave ovens were available for home use.) It begins with a nameless Commercial Man (Ithamar Enriquez) standing in a kitchen with tacky food-themed wallpaper and an old clock on the wall reading 6:00. On the table in front of him is a junk toaster adorned with three ribbons that burns the hell out of some toast. He subtly berates us for being so foolish as to use this obvious clunker to cook bread for our husbands before moving on down the line to a slightly different kitchen setup. The wallpaper is the same, but the light fixtures are more modern, as is the clock, which now reads 12:00. A nameless Commercial Woman (Victoria Blade) dressed like a stereotypical housewife of the area stands quietly off to the side. He introduces the Toast Mate 2000 from Stark Industries, a combination toaster and food warmer that absolutely embarrasses whatever bucket of bolts we were using previously. The woman looks directly into the camera and says, very deliberately, “Say. This machine has some shine.”

She drops in some toast and pushes the lever down, which makes the same sound as Iron Man’s repulsor blasts. As the cook timer counts down, the man begins reciting different dishes you could reheat with the Toast Mate 2000’s lower food warmer, specifically naming meatloaf, cherry pie, and open-faced cheese sandwiches. The timer begins beeping rapidly the instant he says the word “meatloaf,” and we see that the light on the front of the Toast Mate 2000 has begun to flash red. This is the first bit of color we have seen in the series. The timer beeps more rapidly until the light flashes orange and the timer finally stops. The colored lights could be a reference to the colors of Iron Man’s armor. We then cut to a glamour shot of the Toast Mate 2000, complete with the product’s slogan: “Forget the past, this is your future!”

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

Obviously, there are a ton of direct references to Iron Man here – Stark Industries, the color of the timer lights, and the sound the toaster level makes when the woman depresses it. The two clocks reading two separate times doesn’t seem to have any immediately obvious significance, but some pattern may emerge in future commercials as the series continues. There also doesn’t seem to be anything significant about the three dishes the man chose to highlight, unless the timing of the accelerated beeping with the onscreen appearance of meatloaf was an incredibly subtle hint that musical icon Meat Loaf is about to join the MCU. Finally, the slogan “Forget the past, this is your future!” could be interpreted as Wanda’s own psyche telling her to repress everything that happened with Ultron and Thanos (and, specifically, Vision’s death) and accept this sitcom world as her new, permanent reality. The other possibility is that all of the references to Iron Man and Stark Industries are alluding to the Stark Industries bomb that killed her parents, which is what drove her and Piotr to Strucker, and subsequently to Ultron, before Wanda finally joined the Avengers – “Forget the past (Iron Man killed your parents), this is your future (joining Iron Man and the Avengers).”

Episode 2 – Strucker Watch

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

This commercial opens with the same Commercial Man and Commercial Woman, silently playing out a scene as a husband and wife getting dressed up for some incredibly formal evening engagement. He adjusts the bowtie of his tuxedo in front of a mirror as she slinks out and helps him smooth out his jacket. An announcer informs us that the two most important accessories a man can have are his wife, and his Strucker watch. We briefly see the watch on his wrist, with the hands pointing at 9 and 2, or roughly 9:10. The man and woman, seemingly pleased with their respective appearances, head out for the night, and we cut to a close-up shot of the Strucker. The hands on the watch are now pointing at roughly 3 and 8, or approximately 2:42. The faceplate reads “Strucker, Swiss Made, Hydra 1000M,” with the Hydra logo proudly displayed in the center. The ticking of the watch begins to rapidly increase as the announcer reads the Strucker slogan – “Strucker: He’ll make time for you.”

First off, the obvious connection is Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), whom you might remember as the villainous Hydra operative who was seen experimenting on Wanda and her brother Piotr during the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He also appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which the titular insane robot Ultron absolutely murders the shit out of him. But the important thing here is that Strucker gave Wanda her powers, giving her a permanent connection to Hydra.

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

The slogan “Strucker: He’ll make time for you.” paired with the fact this product is a watch seems to be hinting towards the true nature of the sitcom reality Wanda has created. It might be telling us that this is a pocket universe that exists outside of time, and considering we’ve already seen how Wanda can rewind time and manipulate reality, this makes complete sense. However, the slogan specifically says that Strucker will make time for you (the pronoun “he” is extremely conspicuous here). Could that mean that Strucker is somehow alive, and has somehow trapped Wanda in this reality? That seems pretty unlikely, but the fact that the wording of the slogan points so specifically at Strucker himself is worth noting. It’s also worth noting that Strucker gave Wanda her powers by experimenting on her with the Mind stone (the same stone that Ultron used to bring Vision to life), and not the Time stone, but time is partially a perception of the mind, so who knows.

Episode 3 – Hydra Soak

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Image via Disney+

The episode breaks right after it starts raining in Wanda and Vision’s living room, to a montage of absolute chaos breaking out in Commercial Woman’s kitchen. Her kids kick a soccer ball through a bowl of breakfast cereal, the dog pees on the kitchen island, she badly overcooks what appears to have at one point been a roast, and a blender explodes all over the counter while she tries to make a smoothie. “Do you need a break?” a voiceover announcer asks, to which the visibly frazzled Commercial Woman responds, “You read my mind!”

She slowly closes her eyes, then opens them to find herself soaking in a luxurious bubble bath while a toga-clad servant fans her with a palm frond. The narrator continues, “Come with me. Escape to a world all your own, where your problems float away. When you want to get away, but you don’t want to go anywhere, Hydra Soak. Find the goddess within.” We then see a close-up of the Hydra Soak box, which reads “Hydra Soak Luxury Bath Powder. Net Wt. 4 OZS. Made in USA.” The box is decorated with several grasping octopi.

Ok, so obviously, obviously, the name “Hydra Soak” and the horrible octopus-laden design of its packaging are direct references to Hydra. What that means here could be a few things – the concept of a “Hydra soak” that lets you “escape to a world all your own” could mean that Hydra is somehow partially responsible for keeping Wanda (and by extension Vision) in this pocket universe. Or, it could simply be another reference to how Wanda got her powers in the first place, through Hydra experimentation.

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Image via Disney+

The product’s slogan “When you want to get away, but you don’t want to go anywhere” seems to be a direct reference to the fact that Wanda has created an alternate reality to escape from the real one, in which Vision is dead. (“Escape to a world all your own, where your problems float away” really hammers this point home.) “Find the goddess within” is likely a reference to Wanda (and most MCU fans) discovering that she has this incredible ability to bend reality to her will. She’s one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, but we’re only just now beginning to see the extent of what she can do.

Finally, when the commercial begins, we can see that the Commercial Woman has two children, which could be foreshadowing the birth of Wanda’s twins at the end of the episode. Another interesting thing to notice about the children is that this appears to be a mixed-race family, which stands out simply because you wouldn’t have seen that family on a TV commercial in the ’70s. So far, the commercials have gone out of their way to fit in with their appropriate time periods, primarily by reinforcing antiquated gender roles that made housework solely the responsibility of women. I’m not sure what this means if anything, but it’s perhaps an indication that the fabric of Wanda’s sitcom reality is beginning to break down.

Episode 5 – Lagos Paper Towels

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Image via Disney+

The episode breaks for a commercial much later than normal, less than ten minutes before the end credits, after Wanda’s angry confrontation with the S.W.O.R.D. agents gathered outside Westview. We cut to the Commercial Family enjoying breakfast when the kids spill a glass of Westview Juicery Fruit Punch on the kitchen table. An exasperated Commercial Woman tries to wipe up the spill with the next leading brand of paper towel and just ends up with a soggy mess. Luckily, a cheerful announcer informs her that she needs to be using Lagos brand paper towels, which leech up the puddle of juice much more efficiently than the next leading brand in a side-by-side comparison. Commercial Man appears in the next shot, accidentally tipping over a glass of beer on the kitchen counter. But not to worry – the announcer informs us that husbands can use Lagos too, and he sheepishly mops up the spill with a few sheets of the premium paper towels. Finally, the commercial ends on a shot of a small puddle of the spiled beer on a wooden tabletop getting whisked away without a trace, with the announcer happily reading the brand’s slogan – “Lagos. For when you make a mess you didn’t mean to.”

The obvious connection here is Lagos, the Nigerian city where Wanda tried to use her powers to prevent Crossbones (Frank Grillo) from detonating a bomb in the opening sequence of Captain America: Civil War. Instead of safely diverting the blast, she accidentally directed it into a nearby building, killing several innocent people in the process. This led directly to the Sokovia Accords, which gave the UN oversight over the Avengers and placed Wanda more or less under house arrest at Avengers headquarters, where Vision essentially was her jailer. Lagos was the beginning of the events that would ultimately lead to Wanda leaving the Avengers and Vision getting killed by Thanos. The slogan is a direct reference to the accidental destruction she caused and her desire to “clean it up.”

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Image via Disney+

Another interesting aspect of this commercial is that it marks the first time in which the man is seen doing housework. The previous three commercials all strictly adhered to the gender roles of their time periods, with the woman tasked with cooking and cleaning and caring for the children. (She’s even described as an accessory in the Strucker watch ad.) But in the Lagos ad, Commercial Man cleans up his own spilled beer. It’s even his hand we see wiping away the final mess when the logo pops up. This would align with the events of the rest of the episode, which sees Vision beginning to question the reality of Westview and accusing Wanda of holding everyone in town hostage. Wanda is in control here, and Commercial Man’s more subservient role in the Lagos ad might be an example of her conscious will exerting increasing power over the sitcom universe. Of course, it could also merely be a product of WandaVision moving into the 1980s, when stay-at-home dads were becoming more normalized in pop culture by things like Mr. Mom and Who’s the Boss? Either way, while the ultimate purpose of the commercials remains unclear (if there is any), it does appear that each one is directly referencing an important event in Wanda’s life.

Episode 6 – Yo-Magic Yogurt

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Image via Disney+

The commercial interrupting Episode 6, “All-New Halloween Spooktacular,” is a distinct change of pace from past weeks — utilizing claymation in the grand tradition of 1990s and 2000s-era commercials, a little boy is trapped on a deserted island. “I’m so hungry I’d eat anything,” he says, which is a surfing shark’s cue to appear from the ocean! (Of course the shark is wearing sunglasses and surfing.)

The shark offers the boy some Yo-Magic yogurt, which he says gives him time to “hang fin,” before swimming away. Unfortunately, the boy is unable to remove the yogurt lid, and as days and nights pass, he literally withers away into a skeleton. Tagline: “Yo-Magic — the snack for survivors!” Um, yum?

Unlike previous commercials, where there was a pretty direct link to Wanda’s past history embedded in the mix, this ad for Yo-Magic is… a bit unclear. If the previous ads all were moving us chronologically through Wanda’s life story, the Lagos commercial from Episode 5 seemed to bring us close to the present (with the exception of the events of Infinity War/Endgame). So there are a lot of different ways to interpret what’s happening here (and really, props to WandaVision for taking a chance and letting the audience have something to really puzzle over).

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

The boy on the island could be a reference to the citizens of Westview, trapped under Wanda’s control and slowly dying in isolation. The fact that it’s not tethered to any specific memory could also be an indication that Wanda (who is ostensibly the one “controlling” this broadcast) is losing said control over her reality. However, later in the episode there is the scene where Pietro asks Wanda how she took over Westview and she tells him she doesn’t remember how she did it: “I only remember feeling completely alone… Empty… endless nothingness.” Kinda sounds like starving to death on a deserted island — hoping that magic might save you.

Lesson: Never trust sharks in sunglasses, even when they have surfboards. It’s one of the show’s darkest moments yet, if only for what it implies about where things are going.

Episode 7 – Nexus Antidepressants

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

Ok, so there were a number of major reveals in this week’s episode, but I’m sticking to the commercial beat here, and judging by this latest ad Wanda may be close to finally coming back to reality. The clip opens with Commercial Woman sitting on a park bench looking absolutely despondent. The world around her is grey, and storm clouds begin gathering above her as an announcer asks, “Feeling depressed? Like the world goes on without you? Do you just want to be left alone? Ask your doctor about Nexus, a unique antidepressant that works to anchor you back to your reality. Or the reality of your choice.” We then see a shot of a Nexus pill, along with the drug’s full name (Nexulpromocide) and a dosage amount (10.3%).

Commercial Woman trudges into a pharmacy where Commercial Man is waiting for her behind the counter, as the announcer begins to rattle off the side effects of Nexus: feeling your feelings, confronting your truth, seizing your destiny, and possibly more depression. “You should not take Nexus unless your doctor has cleared you to move on with your life,” the announcer continues, and the world changes into bright, cheerful color as Commercial Woman leaves the pharmacy, smiling confidently. Finally, the announcer leaves us with Nexus’ slogan: “Nexus. Because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Or does it?”

First off, Nexus is a pretty clear reference to Wanda’s situation. A nexus is a central point, and the commercial makes constant references to being the center of the universe. Wanda is the nexus of the reality she’s created in Westview, a world that literally revolves around her. Also, in Marvel Comics, Wanda is known as a “nexus being,” someone who can manipulate reality around them, and the point where the fabric of the universe is weakest is called the Nexus of All Realities. (We know WandaVision is going to tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so planting this seed makes sense.) Notably, Nexus the drug is an antidepressant; Wanda created her life in Westview out of grief over Vision’s death, and the commercial seems to be her own subconscious arguing with her to essentially “shut down” the hex around the town and move on with her life. The announcer keeps going back and forth between encouraging her to let go and supporting her continued control of Westview.

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Image via Disney+/Marvel Studios

The Nexus pill itself is red and gold, another reference to Iron Man’s colors that we keep seeing throughout the series. I’m not sure what it means in this context, other than Wanda’s need to let go of the people she’s lost, like her parents and her brother. The drug’s pharmaceutical name Nexulpromocide seems like it might mean something as well; the suffix “-cide” generally denotes some kind of poison, so perhaps the drug’s name is another reference to Wanda’s internal struggle over whether to give up Westview and move on or continue living in her false reality. That’s my best guess, anyway. Finally, I have no idea whether the 10.3% number is significant in any way, but Avengers issue 103 features Earth’s Mightiest Heroes battling a Sentinel, so it is my responsibility to say that this is definitive proof that Sentinels are heading to New Jersey.

WandaVision Episodes 1-7 are now available to stream on Disney+. New episodes of WandaVision premiere every Friday. For more, check out our running updates on the show’s biggest Easter eggs.

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There’s a Credits Scene at the End of This Week’s ‘WandaVision’

Don’t touch that remote!

About The Author

Tom Reimann
(655 Articles Published)

Tom Reimann is a writer and comedian and somehow an Associate Editor at Collider. He has written for Cracked.com, Mad Magazine, BunnyEars.com, and Some More News, and is the co-founder of the Gamefully Unemployed podcast network.

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