8.24.2006

Stop the Personification of Food Ads

Am I the only person out there who is sick to death of ads that personify food and then do violence to it?

Pop-Tarts leads the way with its constant ads showing their little pseudo pastries running around with arms and legs and getting lured unto death by consumption. They're either being shoved into vans or ice cream trucks or giant toasters or pounced on by starving islanders! Most recent ads are cartoons, but I remember the one with the guy in a strawberry costume being stalked as he walked blissfully to work then shoved into a truck to be made into Pop-Tart filling. No matter that Pop-Tarts have no relationship to real fruit, I'm just sick of seeing food made into humanlike beings then chased, kidnapped, and prepared for slaughter/devouring.

The human-in-a-food suit continues, too: Papa John's now has a little person in a brownie cube suit being chased by a hungry horde. And Eggo frozen waffles have people in waffle suits falling from heights to be smashed and turning into cereal.

The sweet, innocent Tin Man with the Chef Boyardee can painted on his back is another variety of the same, and I just can't watch that evil lunchroom kid telling everyone to lock the doors. I can't decide if it's a Suddenly Last Summer/Lord of the Flies cannibalism moment that horrifies me so or the idea that little boys just have no souls.

I am sure many people find these ads funny, or they'd be off the air rather than a growing trend. Certainly, people dressed up in food suits has a long tradition, from the Fruit of the Loom guys all the way back to the girls in food box outfits on variety shows.

But this is different for its cruelty. The aim of the commercial is not simple anthropomorphization. Like the Chick-fil-A ads that feature cows pointing at chickens so you'll eat them not cows, it's about cutthroat meanness. The goal is to trick or to torture something that has been brought to life only to be tricked and tortured. It is another example of psychic numbing and our culture going down the crapper of intolerance and greed. And it's not funny.

6 comments:

larry said...

At West Washington and Mechanic Sts. the chickens do a dance to proclaim the Corner Bar as having the best wings.
The announcer asks the chicken what's the best chicken
you happen to see?
Why what's the best chicken?
Chicken of the Sea!

Anonymous said...

did you really spend several minutes of your life dwelling on this? who cares?

Elyce Rae Helford said...

Did you really spend several minutes of your life dwelling on what I wrote and writing that anonymous response? Bully for you!

Scott L. said...

Good one, Elyce!

Zack said...

not anything to do with the blog... sorry. but thought your sci-fi interest might be piqued by this cute little video: High Tech Noon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1m44VNw3O0
interesting, no?

Elyce Rae Helford said...

Very silly yet fun, Zack. I am amazed what folks can do with editing software. I love the challenge Stephen Colbert made for viewers to use his bluescreen light saber stunt geekiness.

Thanks for sharing!