Open thread: Food advertising

I guess I’m a delicate flower when it comes to the ad I blogged about yesterday. Based exclusively on comments, I’m in a tiny minority of people who are offended by that ad. Certainly the ad I blogged about is mild in comparison to bikini-clad babes, macho guys, or robots in many beer ads, which often make me scratch my head and wonder what are they selling anyway?

My reaction comes from a place of total advertising saturation and complete exhaustion of corporate shenanigans. I think that beer ad was the ad that broke the camel’s back. Ads are everywhere and most are boring, ugly, offensive, misspelled, or stupid. I appreciate parodies, but as I move into my jaded mid-thirties even Super Bowl advertisements that used to seem “witty” to me are far less interesting. I’m watching less and less TV in general and now I’ve stopped watching TV news completely. I can’t take the commercials. I can’t stand the advertisements masquerading as news. I can’t listen to my husband yelling at the TV anymore. It’s so easy for us to see it for what it is: a sham. (I’m no puritan though; I indulge in Netflix)

The most important thing for every citizen to do is to call advertisers on their offensive ads. To sit silent is to condone. Also we need to be aware of insipid ads creeping into our every day lives. Did you read about the school that started selling advertisements on children’s report cards? I was shocked at first and then I saw the brilliance. Next up -targeted ads on report cards. Getting all D’s on your report card? Try ABCD tutoring services!

Advertising must be responsible. I’ve come to realize that no corporation will become responsible on its own. It doesn’t begin with government regulations (because let’s face it — they don’t get passed). It starts with people at the grassroots level saying, “Hey something is wrong with this picture.” We have to demand it. No one is going to come in on a white steed to save the day.

What food advertising just burns you up?


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17 thoughts on “Open thread: Food advertising

  1. There is one, I believe it is for a tortilla chip or some potato chip company, and they show a lady going out to farms and picking fresh ingredients for their CHIPS – Pu-leeeease! That commercial is beyond annoying to me. *sigh*

  2. One sort of ad that really upsets me are a lot of the PETA ads – especially ones like the image of a semi-naked pamela anderson with her body parts sectioned off like cuts of meat. I always feel that these tactics are exploiting women in the name of animal rights – why do we have to throw out women’s rights in order to accomplish this? Drives me crazy.

    (Here’s the ad:

  3. There was a Frootloops commerical awhile back I think, that had kids playing doctor. Basically saying, “it has added fiber it’s healthy!” yet first ingredient is sugar? or the high frutose corn syrup commericals. sigh.

  4. I agree with you, people are desensitized and brain washed, they let the media tell them what to eat, drink and think. Could you imagine that ad inn the 30s 0r 40s?

  5. Carl’s Jr. Paris Hilton rolling around on top of a car, “making love” to her burger. Pathetic, and it causes an uncomfortable conversation with my 8yo son. I seriously don’t understand when sex & food became entangled in the marketing world, but they really, REALLY need to stop.

    Also, “corn sugar”. ‘Nuff said.

  6. I get a little bothered by the Chuck E Cheese commercials that run between shows on PBS. What food you can buy at Chuck E Cheese that “helps you live an active lifestyle” is beyond me.

  7. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a commercial on TV –we stopped watching TV years ago, and just use dvd’s and streaming now. My tween daughter has never seen a commercial on TV at our home (the doctor’s office, on the other hand . . . . )

    One of the great things about not watching any TV is that I don’t have to see any political ads –I think those annoyed me the most.

  8. For a long time, Subway’s ads annoyed me. They would tout their sandwiches as being low in calories or low in fat, but you’d have to read the small print to see that these claims only applied with certain condiments and breads. So no cheese, no mayo, no oils or vinaigrettes. Who goes out and buys a sandwich that is just veggies and meat?

  9. It’s not exactly advertising, but I really HATE it when our local Lucky grocery store piles up big stacks of cookies, rice krispy treats, and other such stuff around the area where you run your credit card to pay for groceries. Right within reach of a two-year-old in the cart, and perfectly designed for the following scenario:
    Kid grabs cookies while mom writes check for groceries.
    Mom tries to take it away and put it back.
    Kid screams and begins to tantrum (not helped by the fact that this is often an hour before dinner and everybody’s hungry), while everyone behind Mom in line waits impatiently and glares.
    Mom gives in and buys the cookies to prevent a huge scene.
    Score! The store has made another sale of something that would otherwise not have been purchased.
    As if candy bars in the checkout lanes aren’t bad enough…

  10. The quality of our homelife improved ten fold the day we got rid of cable. We only use Netflix now. The lack of commercials alone, WOW! We are so much happier now that we dont have all that pollution permiating into our home. We tend to be oblivious to advertising outside of the house now too, mostly because we are so behind on the daily trends that by the time we notice a new item it has already been replaced by something else.

  11. I hate the commercial sponsored by the Corn Association, you know the whole “sugar is sugar no matter what form it’s in”. Right, “corn sugar” sounds less harmful then corn syrup. And for the record, the body does process table sugar and corn syrup “sugar” in different ways. The brain reacts to it differently too. The only reason the corn association needs these commercials is to try to convince people the studies coming out are wrong. Hey, corn syrup is cheep to produce, I don’t blame them, but it is harmful for our health. I have an array of different digestive issues and if I have too much corn syrup (think soda + candy + junk food + other food with corn/syrup) i’m sick for days. It’s easier to avoid with my organic diet, but if I ever want to indulge in some “normalcy” for a 21 yr old, I can’t go to an ice cream shop (who’d want the hormones anyway) or get a drink at the mall, movies, or a restaurant. It’s a constant struggle to ensure the food I eat contains no corn syrup what so ever because I do like to eat a piece or two of candy/chocolate some days and sometimes that means it contains corn syrup. I made the mistake of believing a restaurant when they told me the tea contained sugar – I can’t tell if tea contains corn syrup like I can if it’s a soda – and I was sick all afternoon, not fun.

    What concerns me more the the commercials is the push from the corn association to drop the “sugar” component of corn sugar and just call it sugar all together. That way, we will be unable to see the source of the sugar in a product – after all “sugar is sugar”! I was enraged by this move! First of all, I’ll be unable to see if a product contains something that will make me ill and others who are sensitive or allergic to corn will be doomed too!
    That’s my two cents. Thank you =)

  12. The ads that annoy me the most are those implying that eating a balanced diet is nearly impossible, so you should just use their product. One of the worst was for a fiber tablet; it said something like “Who has time to eat the 25 grams of fiber that experts recommend? Just two of our tablets will fulfill your daily requirement.” During the voice-over, a lady was doing ridiculous things like munching on a whole stalk of broccoli while walking on a treadmill. First, it’s funny, because what fiber-devoid food is she eating at mealtimes that require her to eat raw vegetables at inconvenient times? But then, it’s just maddening. It is telling people that a healthful diet is *so* difficult to achieve that it’s foolish to even try.

    There are some others for fortified cookies, children’s liquid meal supplements, etc. I’m sure that some people, especially those with certain medical conditions, would find these products useful. But the average, healthy person shouldn’t be encouraged to replace nutritious food with pharmaceuticals.

  13. The Chef Boyardee! The ones where they tout the serving of veggies, but shhh don’t tell the kids. Eck! With all the other crap in there it doesn’t really matter there’s “veggies” in there. Eat some carrots. Or sliced tomato. Or a cucumber. Not ravioli in a can. 🙂

  14. I’m so sick of advertising. I just feel bombarded everywhere. I try to avoid them at all costs. That’s why I Tevo all of my TV shows and use my pop up blocker to prevent those annoying ads that pop up on web sites. There isn’t one in particular I’m just tired of ALL of them.

  15. I don’t find the ad offensive but I think it is important to speak up when you find an ad offensive or dangerous. Recently some of my friends and I spoke up about a Jimmy Johns ad we heard recently where a racecar driver said it was okay for him to be on the phone while he was driving because he wasn’t texting. After losing a friend to being hit by a distracted driver (using a cell phone) we saw it necessary to bring the dangerousness of their ad to their attention.

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