Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's NOT Offensive!

With so much asininity going on all over the place today, I decided to flip a coin. Then I flipped it again. Then I flipped it again. Then I flipped it yet again. Finally, I got bored flipping the coin and decided I needed to pick a topic. I went with one of my favorite occurrences, one I love to despise. I went with a company pulling an ad because A group complained about something that doesn't even exist to complain about.

The gutless, spineless, wussy-ass company in the spotlight this time is General Mills and the commercial for the product that shouldn't even be in question is for Yoplait yogurt. According to the Huffington Post, a group called NEDA (the National Eating Disorders Association) believes that the commercial "...could trigger dangerous behavior in those suffering from eating disorders." Wow. That's a pretty powerful commercial. Or not. Let's see what the commercial entails.

According to the article (well, and the commercial), what we have is a young woman who appears
to be of regular weight standing in front of an open refrigerator. In front of her is a massive raspberry cheese cake with a huge slice taken out of it. The woman does what a lot of people (not just women) do when they're looking at a delicious freaking dessert like raspberry cheesecake. She starts to figure out how she could eat some. She thinks first about how it would be all right because she had been "good" that day. (I'm assuming that is referring to her eating habits and not some sort of willfull disobedience of the law.) Then she ponders whether eating celery sticks along with the slice of cheesecake would balance it out. (I'm pretty sure that works.) Then she comes up with the idea of jogging in place while she eats a large slice. (I'm pretty sure that would work too.) Then she wants to jog in place AND eat the cheesecake AND eat the celery sticks. She's just full of ideas, that lady is.

That's when a co-worker or some other mystery woman comes up behind her and exclaims, "Oh! Raspberry cheesecake!" And she reaches into the refrigerator and grabs a container of Raspberry Cheesecake Yoplait yogurt (which is delicious, by the way). The would-be-jogging woman notices that the yogurt woman looks like she has lost weight. Cut to a picture of the product and then back to the woman who has decided upon the Yoplait yogurt for herself instead of the cheesecake and is sitting happily at a table eating her yogurt. The end. Do you feel like developing an eating disorder now? No? Huh. I guess that's because NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS!!

HOW on earth is that supposed to trigger something in people with eating disorders?! Well, if you ask the president of the very annoying NEDA, a one Lynn Grefe, she will tell you "[For those with eating disorders], opening a refrigerator is like walking off a bridge. And to see this behavior in a commercial tells people with eating disorders, see, it's even on TV. It's ok and normal for my head to go through all these mental exercises." Oh, for Christ's sake.

Soooo....God, I don't even know where to begin. I guess the obvious. Does that apply to any depiction of an opening refrigerator on TV? Because if it does, half of the TV shows out there and half of the commercials out there are going to need to be cancelled. And don't forget about the movies! My GOD, the movies! And if this applies to food, of course it must apply to other things. For example, people who are violent. If they see violence being depicted somewhere, they must automatically think that it's OK. Same with drug users. Same with people who are knocked up. All just fine because, by using the NEDA logic (which I can't not recommend enough) if it's "even on TV" then "it's normal for my head to go through all of these mental exercises." Oh, there's something mental going on here, that's for sure. But I'm not so sure that it's exercises.

Why does this have to be about eating disorders? Why can't this be about eating healthy and being a reasonable weight? Isn't that what
Michelle Obama has been trying to drill into the soft, soft heads of the American public? We need to make better food choices? How is that commercial anything other than a woman trying to make a good food choice? She isn't saying that she wants to eat the entire cheesecake and then vomit it up in the company bathroom five minutes later! She isn't saying that she has starved herself for the past two months, eating nothing but dust and Chiclets because she feels fat. No, she's trying to figure out how she can justify eating something that probably isn't the best choice all the time. How is this commercial about anything other than selling yogurt and trying to make responsible eating decisions? I don't get it.

According to various sources on the Innerwebs, it is estimated that approximately 8,000,000 people have some sort of eating disorder in the United States. With a population of approximately 307,000,000, that amounts to about two and a half percent. But if those two and a half percent complain, by God, you had better do something about it, right? Wrong! There isn't any INTENT in this instance! There isn't even any SUBSTANCE in this instance! The VP of Corporate Communications for General Mills, a one Tom Forsythe, responded "We had no idea...The thought had never occurred to anyone, and no one raised the point. We aren't sure that everyone saw the ad that way, but if anyone did, that was not our intent and is cause for concern. We thought it best to take it down."

You thought best to take it down WHY? Because you're spineless? Of course that thought never occurred to anyone. Why would it?! It's a non-issue. No one raised the point because there wasn't a point to be raised! And while he's right that everyone did NOT see the ad that way, he's totally wrong when he says that "We thought best to take it down." NO! That's not best. That's not best AT ALL! ALL a company needs to do in this situation is simply say, "We're sorry you're 'offended'. That wasn't our intent. We don't see the commercial as 'offensive'. We're not taking it off the air because there is nothing wrong with it." That's it. For a long time I have said that the first company to actually take this sort of a stance on an issue like this will see a windfall of profits. I guarantee you that if that article was about how Yoplait was NOT pulling their ad because a bunch of tight asses thought it would do...something....(I'm still not clear on their actual complaint)...I guarantee you that people would take notice and would buy that product. I don't even eat yogurt that often, but if Yoplait had kept the ad on the air, I would have made sure than whenever I did eat yogurt that it was Yoplait. The non-offensive video is below. But be warned! You could develop some sort of eating disorder by watching a woman open a refrigerator and try to decide what to eat. Lord only knows what other conditions you could come down with after watching it and I won't be held responsible. It's your doing, really.

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Mark said...

My question is how we get Lynn Grefe to walk off a bridge.

Mare said...

Hey, Mark.

Apparently, using her logic, all we need to do is show her a picture of a bridge and she'll just go strolling right off it!

~ Mare

Mare said...

And if that doesn't work, I'm all for giving her a nice, hearty shove.

~ Mare