Sex from a box

"The spicy kick of her Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuit crackers bristled on her tongue. Senses aroused by this new treat, her thoughts of Diego quickly faded. Tracy gazed at the box. She'd found flavor where she least expected it.... A tasty romance awaits."

My first inclination is to criticize these two print ads, primarily because they mingle mass-packaged supermarket snacks with relational intimacy. In fact, they do more than mingle the two: they switch the values. "You know how thrilling romance can be, right? Well, that's nothing."

But the switch is so obvious and so exaggerated that I am partially disarmed of my criticism. Food cravings sometimes lead to outlandish comments, not because we would forever exchange sex for Shredded Wheat, or the deep thrills of a romantic encounter for seasoned crackers, but because the right food, in the right moment, begs for more than an unembellished description.

Questions to ponder:
1. If you were to create a personalized version of one of these ads, what would you be eating and what inherently valuable idea would be down-played?

2. Does the medium change the message? In other words, does this type of exaggeration in a magazine advertisement differ from the same message in a poem about food?

3. As a U.S. citizen, I already have enough trouble governing my quest for pleasure, especially when so much is available to me. Do these ads (and the many like them) create potential dangers for consumers? If so, what are these dangers?


Mark Goodyear June 18, 2008 at 6:13 PM  

Hilarious post title. My first response is to rejoice that satire still exists even if it's in a snack ad.

But it does bring up the old Freudian idea that there are no jokes. If there are no jokes, then are these ads dangerous somehow?

Sure. But isn't everything? That's why we have to always think about ads and media.

L.L. Barkat June 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM  

Okay, I'd be eating chocolate. The really dark kind that has just a touch of bitterness. Bitterness as a flavor is somehow psychologically connected to longing, which I absolutely see mixed in with romance.

Truly, though, I cannot equate a cracker with a vision of romance. It's just.... well, too dry and not at all soothing in its sound. Which makes me kind of agree with MG... these particular ads come off as satire, comic.

Sam Van Eman June 24, 2008 at 5:13 PM  

l.l., when there are no lemon icing-drizzled scones about, as I mentioned in your post, dark chocolate is the undisputed stand-by for me. If you want the specifics, my choice with "just a touch of bitterness" is the acclaimed Ghirardelli Twilight Delight.

But though I agree that crackers and romance lack poetic beauty, there are those times when ANY food - not just chocolate - can seem perfect.

In response to you and Mark, this makes the ad only partly satirical.

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