the absurd observers

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sell me cereal, but only if everyone else stays fat

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The NYT reports:

Labeling Shrek cereal by General Mills and a promotional children's book that features Kraft's Oreo cookies as extreme examples of marketing to children, Senator Tom Harkin issued a sharp rebuke on Wednesday to the nation's largest food companies.
And Harkin is not alone. The article explains that food companies have been shifting the allocation of advertising dollars away from sugar-loaded kid food to healthy food. The article does not mention the old gun control argument, which in the cereal debate reads: "if we stop marketing Shrek cereal to kids, then only criminals will have Shrek cereal". But, I think they may be saving that rhetoric for a rainy day.

I too am for curtailing the marketing of cereals and cookies to children, but not because I think children are fat. I want advertisers to start marketing cereal and cookies to me. The twenty something professional. I want to see boxes of cookies that have a picture of a couple people talking at the coffee machine. Maybe some cereal boxes with the picture of a guy throwing his alarm clock across the room. How about a marshmellow cereal with the picture of a bunch of guys playing poker, smoking cigars, and drinking beers. That would sell, I think. The point is, I feel left out. Maybe there could be a "401SpecialK" cereal.

However, if this whole marketing shift creates a reduction in the number of fat people in America, then we have a host of new problems. Football teams will get smaller, "you so fat" jokes will decline in sophistication, and fat people nicknames (Tubby, Chubby, Slim, and Jaba the Hut) will all but dissappear. The dieting industry would become obsolete. People would live longer and soak up more social security benefits. There'd be no strangers to talk to at McDonalds. I guess what I'm saying is: America needs fat people. And I'm willing to forego my desires for advertisements targeting me if that means that we can keep America plump.

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