Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're Pretty! (Overworked? Self-absorbed?)

Hillshire Farms has an entertaining new commercial that I find myself watching and laughing at every time I catch it. Because it's so outrageous it's funny. But it's actually not funny - it's appalling, it's sneaky, and the message is so alluring. Before I explain, watch the video if you haven't already:



The actress in this commercial (Wendi Mclendon-Covey) claims Hillshire Farms slow roasted turkey breast is so good she can serve it to her family (and they'll eat it because they believe she really loves them). But wait! It's all just an act! Hillshire Farms turkey is just a crutch she can use to get a quick dinner on the table so she can get back to everything she'd rather be doing - like tennis, horses, massages, and strange parties where everyone's wearing cocktail dresses.

Granted, the commercial is intended to be light-hearted and outrageous - who practices tennis with goggles, poses with a horse crop but doesn't bother with the horse, or joins a party just to gush "We're pretty!" So it's all just good fun, right? A harmless commercial promoting deli meats, right?

Oh, if only it were so harmless. The commercial actively encourages people (women specifically) to get out of the kitchen because they could be doing more enjoyable things for themselves. In fact, the whole second half of the commercial is about self-indulgence (real or fantasized). Who cares if you feed your family deli meat - they like it and you'll have time for everything you love!

The commercial trivializes the importance spending time together - how is a pile of deli meat slapped between two slices of bread and scarfed down in less time than it takes to make it considered quality family time? For that matter, what happened to caring about the nutrition of the people you're feeding? What happened to cooking because you care?

I get it - people (parents especially) are overworked and constantly trying to beat the clock. And greedy companies are smart enough to hatch witty, entertaining commercials that weasel innocently into our minds, slowly convincing us that we too should get out of the kitchen. Because we are overworked. Because our family likes slow roasted turkey breast (never mind health). Because at least the kids are eating something besides McDonalds. Because I could be getting a back massage and looking fabulous.

I'm sorry - how does love fit into this again?



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