Friday, February 13, 2015

Get bready, 'cause here I come

This is technically a public service announcement, so I feel a little bad talking shit about it. But come on, what the HELL is this thing.


Obviously, the message - folic acid in your diet can help prevent certain kinds of birth defects - is important. The particulars, though, are just awkward. I mean, white bread? Okay, enriched white bread is probably a perfectly fine source of folic acid, but how about eating some green vegetables or citrus fruits, which are good natural sources of folic acid? White bread is, literally, one of the least inherently nutritive foods on the planet. This is like one of those ads that talks about how Lucky Charms or whatever are a source of vitamins and minerals. I'm glad that producers of what is otherwise pretty much utter junk - seriously, sugar-frosted oat bits and marshmallow pieces, for BREAKFAST - have managed to artificially cram some important nutrients into their product, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is somehow equivalent to "eating healthy."

Even beyond the issues with the pitch, this is a weird ad. For one thing, it spends FOREVER getting to the point. Did this really need to be a minute long? Did we need to spend FORTY SECONDS of that minute just watching this woman follow the "bread trail?" (Also, how many loaves of bread did this guy waste setting this dumb shit up? Two? Three?) Then there's the implication of what's going to happen next - "Eat this sandwich so we can fuck!" Who says romance is dead?

I have to give them SOME credit: next to the sandwich on the plate is what looks like a spinach salad with some orange segments - in other words, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. (Though it did take me at least three viewings of the ad to notice they were there, and you see that plate for only a couple of seconds whereas bread appears in virtually every shot.) And they do mention leafy greens in the final narration. Given that the PSA was co-produced by the Grain Foods Foundation, it's a little impressive that they bothered to mention other sources of folic acid at all.

Still, there were about 500 different ways you could have made a pitch for people to get more folic acid in their diet. This has to be one of the weirdest options. "Substitute bread for rose petals to woo your lover! Make her eat a sandwich before you have sex, JUST IN CASE!" And it's one thing when actual ads drag their plots out to make you wonder what product is being sold - shouldn't a public service announcement be a lot clearer and up front about its message? Wouldn't that be way more helpful than spending 40 seconds on something so tedious that half the audience is probably ready to change the channel before they have any idea what you're trying to talk about?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The man must be George Costanza, and wants to mix sex with pastrami sandwiches and television.