NEW YORK —
A commercial debuting Monday opens with a voice-over explaining that the ancient Mayans made offerings to their gods of beans, corn, and potatoes, all of which he calls boring.
''No wonder,'' he says, ''the gods decided to end the world.''
An actor depicting a Jell-O executive in a safari outfit is led through the jungle by guides. Some carry a large wooden crate, an offering ''that would finally appease the gods.''
When they reach a Mayan temple, they pry the lid off, revealing cups of chocolate pudding.
''Jell-O pudding — the funnest sacrifice ever,'' says the voice-over as the men stack the pudding into the form of a pyramid. ''Fingers crossed, we'll see you on the 22d.''
The commercial closes with the slogan Jell-O is introducing with the campaign: ''Fun things up.''
The commercial, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, of Boulder, Colo., will run on television and online through Dec. 21.
On Dec. 22, Jell-O will introduce a second commercial that concludes the premise, and which will run only through Dec. 23. The brand declined to reveal the content of the second spot, for the sake of suspense.
These days Jell-O, particularly the gelatin variety, has a ''bad rap,'' writes Victoria Belanger in ''Hello, Jell-O,'' a recipe book published in February that takes an unexpected gourmet approach, with recipes for molds like eggnog rum and watermelon basil agar.
''What people mostly think of when they think of Jell-O is cafeterias and hospital food,'' said Belanger, who publishes a blog, The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn.