Cards Against Humanity will do anything to get attention. The game company is specifically known for its Black Friday stunts, like raising $100,000 to dig a hole just to fill it back in; pitting its own writers against Artificial Intelligence; and selling things like a presidential mahogany casket, a 24-carat dildo, and an actual working Ford Fiesta all at 99% off. During Black Friday 2021, Cards Against Humanity paid people to complete tasks like getting vaccinated, giving a hot dog to a mail carrier, and sending in real human teeth. While most of the tasks seemed simply for the amusement of the staff, there was one request that has now come to fruition for all to enjoy: Bring back Clam-O-Naise.
During Black Friday 2021, Cards Against Humanity paid tens of thousands of people $5 each to tweet at Hellmann’s official account, sharing what appears to be an actual jar of the condiment from the 1990s. #BringBackCLAMONAISE trended on Twitter, and the Hellman’s account even chimed in.
Well, it turns out that was all just part of the bit. Clamonaise never existed at all, let alone as an official Hellmann’s product.
“We went to an extensive effort to create a realistic fake photo of ‘Hellmann’s CLAMONAISE,’” a spokesperson for Cards Against Humanity told The Takeout in an email. “We bought an actual ’90s film camera, set the date to 1994, filled a vintage ’90s mayonnaise jar with actual (food-colored) mayonnaise, wrapped the jar with a label we designed, took a photo with the camera in one of our parents’ untouched ’90s kitchens, got that photo printed, and here we are.”
And the effort didn’t stop there. Cards Against Humanity decided to make this wholly invented condiment a reality, working with food scientists and professional chefs to create Clam-O-Naise, a product that the company claims is “actually delicious.” In fact, Cards has trademarked the name so now Hellmann’s couldn’t even create its own version if it wanted to.
The ’naise itself does sound tasty. The flavors were inspired by Clams Casino, a dish that consists of clams baked with butter, garlic, bacon, and white wine with a lemon on the side. Cards Against Humanity describes its concoction as a “tidal wave of tangy, smoky, garlicky flavor, with just a hint of real clams.” And unlike many of Cards Against Humanity’s stunts that you can only get via the website or at a popup, Clam-O-Naise can be purchased nationwide at Target.
If you’re looking for a jar in stores, skip the mayo aisle and head to the game section. The shelf-stable condiment will be sitting there because along with an actual edible product inside the jar is the new Cards Against Humanity Clam Pack. The pack contains 30 new cards and a QR code that when scanned will reveal an extra prize ranging from a real pearl to Clam-O-Naise merch (which is also for sale online) to a “one-of-a-kind Toyota Clamry.”
As it turns out, getting that card pack in the mayo jar was the biggest hurdle to making Clam-O-Naise a reality.
“We spent months developing an FDA-approved, vacuum-packed, food-safe, mayo-proof card-wrapping system so we could safely submerge the all-new, 30-card Clam Pack inside the mayonnaise,” said a Cards Against Humanity spokesperson. They say that this mass-produced clam-flavored mayonnaise and all that comes with it is the company’s greatest achievement yet.
“We create products that we would want to buy and do stunts that make us laugh,” the spokesperson says. “That’s the business philosophy. It’s fun to play around with food and comedy, especially in a society where you can buy 20 different flavors of Oreos on a trip to Target.”
And none of these food products exist in a vacuum. It’s a chance for the entire team at Cards Against Humanity to flex their comedy chops with not only the new cards, but in the case of Clam-O-Naise, also a book called Clammy Dick, “a version of Moby Dick where the giant whale is a giant clam, and the ocean is called ‘The Great Chowder,’ among thousands of other edits,” and a game called Clams Aclamst Huclamity, “the same game you know and love, hastily rewritten to change all 600 cards to be about clams and mayonnaise.”
A Cards Against Humanity spokesperson tells me this definitely won’t be the company’s last food-related stunt. The team has their eyes on a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s that can also raise money for a cause both brands are passionate about. But they’re also willing to stick a pack of cards in just about anything.
So why clams?
“Nothing is funnier than clams.”