Posted by: Hil | November 17, 2008

Food Ad Watch

I think the messages that advertisers try to send about food are intriguing.  Our culture sends so many mixed messages about food, and the world of advertising is no different.  I thought it would be fun to have an ongoing feature to highlight the good, the bad and the bizarre among food advertisements.  If you see a food commercial that really strikes you, email me to let me know!

Out:  Kraft singles.  Whenever you hear the word “wholesome” in a food commercial, you know that the advertisers are trying to convince you that something is good for you, but could not find a way to use words like “healthy” or “nutritious.”  And the message that the best way to save money on food is to eat processed cheese is both inaccurate and unhealthy.  Boo!

In:  Ghirardelli chocolate.  I’m not a big Ghirardelli fan myself…Lindt Excellence and Valrohna are my personal favorites…but I love that a chocolate company is promoting savoring their product in moderation.  Food commercials so rarely present moderation as a choice–it’s either complete abstinence (drink some protein water instead) or go completely crazy.  Kudos to Ghirardelli for using their advertising dollars to promote the idea that one, perfect square of chocolate may be all you really need to feel satisfied.

In other news, the Lemonator will be checking in soon with some tasty baked goods recipes.  I hope everyone had a good Monday!



  1. I saw that kraft commercial today and I was so pissed. Kraft singles trying to act healthy?!?!? I hope that no one falls for it, but somehow I think a lot of people do.

  2. I dislike the Kraft commercial but I must say that I also have a problem with the chocolate…Most chocolate/dessert commercials in general depict:

    1. Strictly women eating chocolate
    2. They’re usually alone, as if hiding, or going to their place of comfort from stress with a dessert.
    3. It’s all very, for a lack of a better word, “sensual.” It’s almost as if they’re trying to associate sex with sweets!

    To me, it seems as if it may inadvertently be promoting the idea that women seek comfort in food and should indulge alone…since it’s not that socially acceptable.

    I really like the concept of the ad watch!

    Here’s one that frightened me:
    Corn Refiners Association:

  3. GREAT post!!

  4. I love this idea! Great job!

  5. Fantastic and I heart you.

    Basically any time a food manufacturer says that their product has “added ___ nutrient!” or “now with real white meat” (seriously, how gross was that when McDonalds starting doing that?), you just KNOW that there’s got to be something wrong with their product in the first place if it needs to be infused with x vitamins and minerals.

    Also Lindt is my favourite chocolate too:)

  6. Olga–Excellent points about the chocolate ad. I absolutely agree with your point about the fact that only women eat chocolate in these sorts of commercials. Food commercials are a feminist trainwreck in general.

    I know what you mean about the chocolate = comfort and chocolate = sex associations that crop up in commercials. To me, they weren’t as blatant in this commercial. This seemed to be more about the pleasure and sensuality of food, which is a real and lovely thing. A bit over the top, to be sure, but it didn’t offend me. Thank you so much for offering your insights…I love it when posts prompt discussion!

  7. Oh, and I think the corn syrup ad is hilarious and will probably provoke a lot of debate. I would love to use it in my next installment.

  8. The things I hear in commercials, food or otherwise, are ridiculous. Then I hear people talking about them as if they contained accurate information. I know not everyone is as skeptical as me, but come on people!

  9. Thanks for sharing those commercials. I rarely watch television on the tube, so I don’t get to see much commercials. But definitely agree with you!

  10. What a great post! I agree with your note on moderation, and the whole vibe of the Ghiradeli commercial is so much different than the Kraft. This really helped open my eyes.

  11. Maggie-i totally agree with you. When people who are not as educated see the kraft commercial..they will think pure and simply what a great way to get calcium in my diet!

    WRONG O!

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