The American Cheese
One of my recent assignments for my health counseling program suggested that we look at packaging and advertising to assist in thinking about our own marketing strategies. I wasn't quite sure what do with that, since I tend to deliberately ignore and/or be oblivious to advertising.
But it reminded me of a commercial I started seeing around the 4th of July for Kraft Singles, which still appears in different formats. It started off by saying that Kraft was "the American cheese", the implication being that it was this way because it's a "can-do" type of cheese. (What, exactly, does cheese do?)
But the part that really got me was this: "Hey, our country put a man on the moon, maybe because we put cheese in our sandwiches."
Yes, they used the qualifier "maybe", but even the possible association between cheese sandwiches and the space program is ludicrous. Is that why we landed on the moon before the U.S.S.R. - they didn't eat enough cheese? Or more specifically, not enough Kraft Singles, which they wouldn't have probably eaten anyway because it's an American product?
Apparently I’m not the only one to be bothered by this. I did a quick internet search on Kraft Singles to see if I could find the exact commercial (I couldn’t – all the YouTube ones are shorter versions that don’t include the man on the moon reference), and found:
Digital Papercuts writing about the shock of the ad and the horror of processed foods
CommercialsIHate.com has some interesting comments as well
And more on The Straight Dope
Even assuming the advertising department at Kraft views this as tongue-in-cheek (which I doubt), it completely trivializes the fact that many Americans actually suffer after eating cheese. When I was little and having cheese sandwiches every day, I assure you that it did not give me a "can-do" attitude or make me a better student. If anything, the opposite was true. Being allergic, all the dairy made me feel like I had a constant cold, complete with runny nose, sore throat, and muzzy head. Once I stopped eating it, I was able to get through the day better since I wasn't constantly blowing my nose or sneezing. Does this make me un-American?
I’m sure that many people support this type of advertising, but personally, it does make me sometimes want to live elsewhere. Somewhere, for instance, that doesn't treat processed foods as manna. Furthermore, do we really want to say that our country got where it was by suckling cows? Somehow, to me, that doesn't make me a proud American, and it’s not a marketing scheme I plan to use.