Sunday, March 8, 2009

Math is hard! Let's bake some cookies for the boys!

You might remember this gag from when Breyer's did it first, years ago, using cute preschoolers and ice cream in place of grown women and canned soup. Sadly, that ad could not be located online, but the premise was that a preponderance of ingredients that the children could not pronounce, like "polysorbate 80," meant frankenfoods, while Breyer's, which contained only "milk, cream, sugar and natural flavors," was clearly wholesome and nonthreatening. Adorable. Effective.

Now here's this:

Announcer: What might you find in Progresso Light?

Woman #1: [surprised] Artificial flavor!

Woman #2: Wonolatteeee, uh...

Woman #1: Monosodium glu- gluta- mate?

It's cute when small children stumble over big words. It's ridiculous when adult women are hired to act like wide-eyed dumbasses, and you know they're struggling to act when the blonde says "monosodium" perfectly and then has to remind herself to stutter through "glutamate."

Woman #3: That's MSG.

Announcer: All light soups are not created equal. Select Harvest Light has good stuff.

Thank goodness for abbreviations and shorthand like "good stuff." All those other details and syllables make tiny female brains hurt.

Woman #4: Pasta with whole grain!

Woman #5: Natural sea salt.

Woman #6: There's roasted natural chicken in here!

Through the miracle of modern science.

Announcer: Progresso weighs their light soup down with MSG and sodium.

Woman #1: Sodium, sodium, sodium.

She's certainly got "sodium" down. I can tell she practiced for hours. Probably with a coach.

Woman #6: This is heart healthy.

Woman #5: 80 calories.

Announcer: New Select Harvest Light, from Campbell's. Real ingredients, real taste.

Woman #6: [smiles cutely and holds up her bowl] More please!

As we've established earlier, you are a grown woman. Go get your own damn soup.

And thus ends the unintentional theme for today, which is that women, like children, become overwhelmed by all your polysyllabic words and science-y chemical mumbo-jumbo. It's unintentional because presumably, every actor in this commercial was cast to act confused and naive, and presumably the reason that all the actors were women was that women are the key demographic for light soups. This commercial would have been off-kilter even with a mix of male and female adult actors, but manages to strike a worse note because only females appear.

I don't buy your script, because it's obvious that all of these people are playing dumb. And I won't buy your soup, because your commercial is a damn mess.


Windier E. Megatons said...

Forget about "use your words, you're a thirtysomething woman." I know she likes it.

TRichter said...

I STILL don't know anyone that says "use your words". It just sounds incredibly stupid, like it's part of a engrish slogan or something.

Besides that, and this is just as tangential to the original subject of the post, but I HATE when companies or people rail against sodium like it's the devil. The truth is, unless you suffer from hypertension or cardiovascular disease, you can eat as much damn salt as you want, so long as you balance it with an appropriate intake of water. I'm not a big fan of salty foods, but no one had a heart attack because they ate a soup with a lot of sodium. It's just not that bad for you. I won't even get into the MSG hysteria and glutamates in general, which are incredibly (naturally) prevalent in popular cuisines like Italian food, but only get a bad rap when they're in take-out Chinese or soup.

capewood said...

Instead of sodium, the Progresso soup has sea salt. The only difference between sea salt and salt is that sea salt was more recently in the ocean.

Windier E. Megatons said...

That killed me too. "We don't have sodium in our soup! We have salt!" That is just the ultimate insult to an audience's intelligence. They're basically just saying they don't think we know what sodium is except that we've heard it's bad. "But wait, natural sea salt? If it has 'natural' in the name it must be awesome!" What a con job this ad is.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Before we let Breyer's off the hook, take a look at this:

Apparently women weren't any smarter in the 80's...

Knitwear M. Groundhog said...

Re: the older commercial, at least she can read the label. I fully buy that she can pronounce the words, but doesn't know what all those ingredients are and isn't sure she wants to eat them. In the Campbell's commercial, Asking the viewer to suspend disbelief while the actors pretend they can't read just distracts from the message about the product.