Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oreo No-No

In my book, Oreo starts with a few strikes against it. First off, it's one of the many freaks of modern food science designed to disguise as much government subsidized GMO corn as possible. I also have never liked the texture, at least outside of ice cream. But now I have a new reason to hate the Oreo: it purports to be a tool for racial healing.

In a commercial I recently saw before the unfortunate experience of watching Iron Man, a white man shares an Oreo with his apparently mixed race, Spanish speaking son. The father dopily tries to follow along as his son describes how to eat an Oreo in Spanish, eventually speaking a few shaky words himself. They then share the cookie, thereby closing the cultural gap between them as though it were nothing more than vanilla "cream," which of course is actually sugar and hydrogenated oil, or until recently, lard.

I found two things unsettling about this commercial. The first is the fact that they now subject you to full commercials before a movie. The second is that the advert fails to mention that foods like Oreos are in large part responsible for the plague of diabetes and obesity affecting many lower income, often Spanish speaking families.

Forget local, sustainable and organic; households such as the real life equivalent of the family in the commercial have less and less access to anything that isn't heavily processed. For instance, vegetables. What do they have? Oreos. And now anyone from such a community who saw Iron Man will be that much more likely to eat one.

Also, does Nabisco think their cookie has the validity to become a symbol of racial harmony because of its color scheme? Guess Seinfeld was right.

(photo courtesy of Steve Gorlin)

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Jay said...

whoah whoah whoah. I'm fine with bashing oreos (into little bits and sprinkling them on my ice cream and then covering them in fudge) but Iron Man?

Come on Aaron, that was a fun movie. Were you insulted that Gwyneth and Terrence were on the sidelines while Downey was the hero? Was its attitude towards arms dealers and American imperialism too flip? Seriously, why do you even go to dumbed down, big budget blockbuster superhero movies anymore? You never like them.

One last thing, if you ever listened to Wilford Brimley or Bret Michaels, you would know that it is pronounced "diabitis."

Debs said...

That's pretty disturbing.

Jon Lee said...

Additional strike against Oreos: THEY DON'T USE BUTTER!!!! Wah? It's true, yo. There was a day and age where the Oreo included butter. But now, no way Jose. Instead, it's all about racial harmony with the margarine or some sort of emulsifier with a letter and number juxtaposition.

Brendan said...

I gotta back up Jay here; Iron Man was the bizomb. Even my girlfriend liked it.
I think you've touched on an international marketing strategy, actually; this commercial reminds me of the ones they're running in China (they redesigned the Oreo into a Kitkat-like wafer thing when its initial launch got a tepid response). There, the subtext is not so much racial harmony as "we are cultured pseduo-Westerners with strong family values". The children featured, notably, are boys. Definitely worth googling-

Aaron Kagan said...

For the record, what I didn't like about Iron Man was pretty much everything. For instance, the oversimplification of the conflict in Afghanistan.

I have no problem with mindless superhero movies, but when they attempt to take on real and serious scenarios, they have to do better. He flies over there in his little suit and stops one scuffle, and we're supposed to think the problem's solved? Wolverine would have made SURE the problem was solved!

However, there is nothing I don't like about butter.

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