I hate watching TV. There is nothing really worthy watching anymore. I despise “reality” programs (and the people that talk about it like it was real) and I can’t sit through commercials anymore. It’s depressing. Sitting through an hour of television and having to watch twenty minutes of people trying to sell you crap that nobody needs… well, I just can’t do it anymore.
I used to be a graphic designer, but then I stopped because I couldn’t deal with the sleazy marketing. All companies are out to make lots of money and they will tell you anything you want to hear to get all your money.
I’ve been reading “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss and unfortunately, it strikes a rather large rage bone with me. The book is a fascinating look into the history of the contemporary American food industry, notably the food giants like Kraft, Kellogg, General Foods, Pepsico, Coke, etc. The book’s message is clear. They are not out to make you healthy – they are out to get your money and their armies of scientists, marketers, salespeople, statisticians, and apathetic executives will make sure that happens.
My beef today is with Kellogg, who had the audacity to show this commercial in public:
I’m all for positive body image, let me be clear about that. I don’t have a problem with the message, but rather, the messenger. Special K (and other Kellogg products) has had a long history of “You can’t pinch an inch” weight loss claims. It is my personal belief that there is nothing good inside a box of Special K, just highly processed rice gluten, lots of sugar, and injected vitamins. The only way anybody could get skinny eating Special K is by eating the 1 cup portion and very little the rest of the day – part of the US recommended starvation diet. So, the message from Special K is “Starve, but make sure you buy the jumbo value box.” They tell you “Good choices mean good health,” so don’t buy those pop-tarts – which Kellogg *also* sells, but buy our “healthy” products, which are still loaded with chemicals and sugar. They are healthier than pop-tarts, this much is true.
But now they have a ridiculous campaign to make people “forget” about the waistline. A noble message, if it came from any place else, but Kellogg’s true intentions are clear: buy more of our processed foods – it’s okay. They aren’t the ones to bring up waistlines, since they are part of the problem. The question isn’t choosing Special K over Froot Loops, the real question is what to choose instead of any product made by Kellogg. A bowl of fruit or some bacon and eggs might be a better choice. Those options, are, in fact, heresy in the eyes of Kellogg.
There’s a interesting article over on The Frisky titled, “The Wolf In The Cereal Bowl: How Special K And Other Companies Co-Opt Body Acceptance To Sell Body Shame” detailing the female’s perspective (which I can’t really comment on, I’m a guy), but obviously they don’t really like the campaign either.
We’re bombarded with product advertisement every minute, rarely is it actual healthy food. We as a people have mostly stopped being critical of such things. The proof is that advertisers treat us like children when it comes to selling us garbage. They know how to not-so-discreetly tug on our emotions and psyche. They overflow our senses with nonsense information, so much that we rarely have a chance to ask ourselves “Do I really need that product in my life?” because almost every time, the answer will be “no”.