menu

Food Brands’ Ads Remind Us Why The American Diet Is So Poor

Food Brands’ Ads Remind Us Why The American Diet Is So Poor
Advertising

While Jamie Oliver tried to save America from bad food, advertisers like Ragu and Hellmans tried to argue their processed food was healthy.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 29 march 2010

In the middle of a 2 hour TV special where chef Jamie Oliver tried to convince children, their parents and their teachers to stop eating processed food and eat simpler, fresher and better, the makers of Ragu reminded us in the ad breaks why the American diet has got so poor.

While Jamie stood before a class of students who didn’t know how what the basic vegetables he was holding were (see video below), Unilever, who manufacture Ragu, demonstrated why everyone in the class was so ignorant; in the Ragu ad, a child sits at a kitchen an table and feeds his broccoli to his dog until his mom serves him what he wants: a Ragu drenched pasta that offers to give the kid all the nutrition the kid needs.


Beyond suggesting that serving processed food to a kid is better than fresh vegetables, the advertiser forgot to explain that the only vitamin that Ragu will give this cheeky chap is vitamin A. His broccoli fed dog on the other hand will enjoy the benefit of vitamins C, K, A, B6, B2, B5, B1, B3 and E. The boy also has to deal with the 1,512.5 mg of sodium in the average serving. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommends an approximate daily range of 1,100 to 3,300 mg of sodium for an adult.

Food Brand's Ads Remind Us Why The American Diet Is So Poor

On ABC, the same network that ran Jamie’s show, Hellman’s is advertising its Real Mayonaise (also made by Unilever). While Jamie’s program showed the parents of an obese 12 year old boy who may die in his 30s because of diabetes, Hellman’s ran an ad with a cooking show where food blogger Elizabeth Peterson was shown how to make a heavily Mayonnaised meal.

Hellman’s seems to have picked up that by suggesting that their food might be natural, it can get considered as healthy. In fact Hellman’s Real offers zero nutritional value. There is no benefit in eating the product: no vitamins, no iron, no zinc, no anything. It’s also interesting to note that Hellman’s Real contains such ingredients as Calcium Disodium EDTA (Oregon State’s Food Resource website says that it “may cause intestinal upsets, muscle cramps, kidney damage, and blood in urine”).

Thankfully, Jamie offered us a way forward. He took the 12 year old under his wing and showed him how to lose weight by embracing food. The chef gave him a lesson on how to cook a chicken stir fry with fresh ingredients. The boy felt that there was a glimmer of hope, and thankfully there was not a brand in site.


It’s not that we have a major problem with Unilever making products they want to – it’s just the way the soap-maker promotes them as healthy foods. It leaves us wondering which ad agencies are making these ads for them? Surely they should understand the conversation that is taking place around these food and health, and be advising the clients against putting out such work. But then again, Unilever seems to have large enough budgets to overcome ethics in the creative community.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver’s “Facts and figures about how obesity and diet is affecting America’s health, food facts and information about the federal school lunch program” (pdf)

Advertising
Trending

Gilt's Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You'll Want To Live In

Retail
Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Advertising Today

The Hottest Chip In The World Comes Packed In A Coffin-Shaped Box

The individually wrapped snack is made from the spiciest known chili

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Related Expert

Katie Salen Tekinbas

Digital Learning, Gaming, Youth

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

Work Today

Microsoft Wants To Help Workers Better Communicate With Their Coworkers

Project Sonoma is a new app designed to help employees chat and coordinate shifts with their associates

Advertising Today

Real-Time Data Used To Calculate The Brand Power Of Athletes

Brandtix has develope a digital platform with a complex algorithm that combines social media variables with player performance to predict the next A-list pros

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Toyota Is Using Sewage To Power Its New Electric Car

A new hydrogen-fueled vehicle is driven by what we flush away

Culture Yesterday

Catch A Concert On This Small Floating Island

A man-made archipelago in Italy is hosting music and art performances

Design & Architecture Yesterday

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Woodenwidget says its detailed guides are suitable for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike

Social Media Yesterday

The United Nations Has Launched Its Own Social Media Platform

A new app aims to get younger audiences more involved in sustainable development goals

Design Yesterday

Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

The clever device offers games, education and the uniquely rewarding experience of destroying your high-flying airship

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Free Sneakers Given Out To Motivated Marathon Runners

Strava will give the shoes to athletes who run the second half of their race faster than the first

Culture Yesterday

Someone Invented A Robot Just To Serve Trays Of Beef Jerky

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, in partnership with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, creates an automated snack delivery system

Millennials Yesterday

Why A Social Networking Site Decided To Rebrand

Meetup, a platform that connects like-minded individuals, has taken steps to stay relevant amongst millennials

No search results found.