Sunday, April 2


Remember how commercials for kids' toys used to show the toys doing stuff that kids might imagine they could do, but the toys wouldn't actually do by themselves, and advertisers were eventually forced to drop these flights of fancy? There's an analogous situation in a commercial I just saw when I watched a Bravo show that contained a five-second clip of my quail-hunting game.

The commercial, from the dairy industry, depicts a neighbor known to avoid milk attempting to pick up the handles of a wheelbarrow, and his arms falling off. A kid who has been exhorted by his mom to "drink your milk" (again, reminding us that kids actually dislike cow's milk whenever it doesn't have cookies attached and have to be cajoled, threatened and wheedled into drinking it) sees this and is shocked into drinking his milk, spilling it all over himself and the table in his eagerness.

So I get that this is all supposed to be a big hilarious joke, but it's occurring in the context of an ongoing disinformation campaign through which the dairy industry attempts to persuade the public that cow's milk is essential for strong bones. There's no indication within the reality of the ad that the neighbor is "pretending" to have lost his arms, thus a violent tragedy is presented without qualification as the clear result of not drinking milk.

Other than kids' toys, where's the analogy here? Is there any other food, medicine or otherwise, that is allowed to lie to the public through this "entertaining" venue? Would an ad depicting how eating one hamburger causes an immediate heart attack pass muster on the airwaves? For link fun, here's a fun overview of some of the issues involved in deceptive advertising, and this one certainly fits right in there.

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