Throw Your Food

What are you doing?! It’s *full*!

I’ve noticed that whenever you see food advertised, more often than not it’s flying through the air. There must be some psychological weakness that we all have that equates airborne food with “Why yes, I must eat Go-Gurt now.”

I realized this last night when I was watching TV. There was an ad for granola or muesli or something, and every time they showed the product, it was either being tossed through the air or scattered across a table or raining down from the heavens. But what was strange is that I didn’t even think anything of it. It’s just something we’re all used to seeing. Next time you’re in a movie theater, notice that even the ads before the movie ascribe to this marketing device. There’s the bucket of popcorn being forcibly thrust up through the mountainous pile of kernels lining the bottom of the screen, sending popcorn flying in every direction. Sour Patch Kids and cookie dough wads are ejected from some off-screen food cannon. And my favorite, the “Coke and Popcorn Collision” ad, where a giant vat of Coke is hurled from one side of the screen, a cauldron of popcorn is flung from the other side, and they meet in the middle to form this churning tsunami of moist, inedible foodstuffs. But for some reason, seeing a still picture of that collision is not only acceptable to us, it seems to make us hungry.

The food collision technique is one that we’re familiar with outside of the movie theater. It is also used whenever a snack that consists of a combination of two flavors is advertised. Most often, it’s liquid chocolate being poured over some sort of cookie-crisp wafer moving across the TV screen in some unknown trajectory. (Caramel is occasionally involved, although it is usually not poured; caramel may only be drizzled with a quick back-and-forth motion, allowing it to ooze down to full coverage on its own impetus.)

Makers of juice are the most excited about the flying food school of advertising. Rotating slices of lemons, limes, and oranges crash into spinning strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. All of which are just drenched with water being hosed in from some open firehydrant off stage. I just feel terrible for the poor people involved with such a production. Everyone’s sopping wet, people are trying to dig the raspberry seeds out of their teeth all day long, that lady who happens to be a “cutter” is writhing in pain because lemon juice is getting into last night’s X-acto knife wounds.

But it must work. After all, Americans eat less celery than they do Pringles, the flyingest of all snack foods advertised today (have you ever seen Pringles at rest? Of course not…they’re always blasting out from the top of their cannon-like packaging). Maybe that’s the secret to solving our rampant obesity problem. We can make signs and everything. “Throw Your Food — Start With the Vegetables.”

About these ads

About Todd Werkhoven

I'm a writer, humorist, nanny, tutor, childcare provider, after-school teacher, and wearer of t-shirts. My writing has been seen in books, newspapers, magazines, websites, billboards, television, buses, radio, podcasts, and live performances. Want to know more? Drop me a line! todd [at] toddwerkhoven.com
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61 Responses to Throw Your Food

  1. Vinny Grette says:

    I suppose they want to take the ordinary out of this world… I tried it once myself with milk – the photo was pretty good. Then I painted it purple and it was even better :)

  2. sybaritica says:

    Just so long as they’re not throwing *up*

  3. There’s probably a market for that :)

    • Great post… :) I never really paid mucha ttention to how they :throw food” to attract attention and gain a market. :) LOL. I strated paying attention to it on TV after reading this…and You’re right! LOL!

  4. not even lying, my mom emailed campbell’s (or maybe a different company, can’t remember) about their commercials because she thought the flying soup looked like vomit.

  5. I think it started with the old-school Reese’s peanut butter cups commercials. You know the ones, all laden with innuendo and motion and trajectory and whatnot: “Hey…you put your chocolate in my peanut butter…” (…so I’m just going to take a huge bite of your germ-infested chocolate bar and discover a taste sensation unlike any heretofore…)

  6. bharatwrites says:

    Nice one. I’ve always believed that advertising is a good barometer to the opinion of the masses. Advertisers stand to profit from knowing what others are thinking. I guess it excites us in some way when we see food dancing around and liquids almost spilling over.
    Also, LOL at ‘have you ever seen Pringles at rest?’
    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  7. Dee Birks says:

    This makes me want to throw some food in the air and photograph it. “I throw my food up in the air sometimes, saying ayo it’s an Eggo!”

  8. nkeller29 says:

    Nice post. I totally agree, I have never really thought about why our food is always flying in ads. I think as a culture we have just come to accept it and not question it. It would be interesting to understand the social psychology of this phenomena. Thanks!

  9. I actually didn’t really notice this until I read your post. Now as I watch food commercials I have to share a laugh with myself. I don’t get why throwing food is soooo appealing! I too, would like to know the social psychology of this as well!
    -Carissa
    http://www.ntracks.com

  10. When I was a kid, I got used to seeing flying milk at dinner because my dad would pound the table when he got mad at one of us, and the milk would slosh up. Maybe that’s why I never noticed the commercials.

  11. Colors also play a BIG part of these ads and restaurant signs. Most will use brown, yellow, red, orange, and green to help sell their products or stores. It’s said that we get hungry when we see those colors.

  12. Hahaha.. this is so true! I guess if it’s video our “still life” photography style would be boring on a screen? Love your blog and glad to be following you! xx

  13. I just couldn’t stop laughing reading this – although I find all this throwing somewhat depressive. I now pour water “from the heavens”, to my mum´s disguise. I guess I’ll just blaim advertisement. Good post!

  14. The only way to make a liquid look sexy? Toss it trough the freggin air!

  15. pavel triska says:

    Advertized food looks better than in reality. :)

  16. Excellent description of yourself ‘wearer of t-shirts’. Love it. Simple yet very insightful!

  17. I never really thought about that, but you are so right. Food is constantly flying across the TV screen. Weird.

  18. This post made me want to throw my can of coke in the air but I resisted due to it being open.

  19. This is so funny! Flying food is somehow more appetizing… thanks for sharing!

    http://stepstochangetheworld.wordpress.com/

  20. printmar says:

    nossa, muito bom ^^

  21. Miklós says:

    A really goood examlpe for flying food are chicken, duck, goose :) but unfortunatelly they are staying in the air when you throw them up… Nice post by the way. Maybe it remembers us for our childhood when our parents want to feed us with the “aeroplane” method, when they flew food into our mouth :)

  22. Nicole M says:

    I was simply amused by this post until I got to the two paragraphs from “the food collision technique” through “x-acto knife wounds”, at which point I burst out laughing. At my desk. In the middle of the office. Thanks for the laugh!

  23. Constance says:

    This was hilarious, great post.
    Don’t forget about the soup and cracker adds with the soup exploding out of the bowls! A classic.

  24. How to sell food is something we studied in advertising classes. Like most inanimate objects, food doesn’t actually DO anything. It just sits there, for the most part (Rice Krispies does Snap, Krackle, and Pop). To make food more fun and exciting, advertisers move it. They show it in overabundance so that you’ll think you don’t have enough of it, even if you already have some. The advertisements are meant to make you believe that you cannot have enough of whatever it is that’s being sold. Why advertisers don’t do it with vegetables? Well, how many advertisements do you see for fruits and vegetables, without something like Ranch dressing? Unless it’s a local farmer’s market, not likely any.

  25. sapidblogger says:

    Reblogged this on Veni-Vidi-Vici and commented:
    Maybe we SHOULD start throwing more vegetables… it may just work!

  26. Loved the post! Amazes people the things marketers do to get your attention!

  27. gracee says:

    It sure looks more appetizing that way, but it might come across as insulting to other people who don’t have much to eat.

  28. Hi!

    Really enjoy reading your posts. I also love advertising and writing.

    Ooh you want to look at the UK’s Ribena adverts currently on TV. The berries not only fly but they talk and have faces and personalities and everything! Be warned though – the song is annoyingly catchy!

  29. midnitechef says:

    Throw your (junk) food straight out the window :)
    Brilliant post and observations!

  30. James says:

    It is a form of subliminal message. They have a ton of ways to influence people’s decision making.

  31. hangryhippo says:

    Reblogged this on Hangry Hippo and commented:
    Advertising and food commentary…very nice

  32. Interesting post. I agree with midnitechef, throw the junk food out the window. Then kids will have to eat wholesome food and before long, they will love it.

  33. jasli98 says:

    The whole idea of throwing food is to create more a sense of interest for the viewer. Which is more impressive: food flying in slow motion through the air or food lying solidly on the table?
    This article was a funny insight into something I never really paid much attention to before. :)
    :) Please check out my blog! http://www.thesolutiontolife.wordpress.com Currently in a very pitiful condition- one follower, and it’s me.

  34. Sarah says:

    Very funny — I see it all the time but hadn’t noticed how prevalent it is. Now I won’t be able to not notice.

    Another advertising “thing”: The open mouth. It has to be a big, wide-open mouth to show just how fantastically ab-fab out-and-out fun and incredible X is. No little smiles, nope, and not even a toothy grin will do. Not sure I even want to figure this one out. : )

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  35. What a great post – from now on when I see a commercial with flying food stuffs, I’ll be thinking of this post.

  36. swimmersbun says:

    Why it’s necessary to pour liquid into an already-full glass, I’ll never know.

    http://itscalledaswimmersbun.wordpress.com/

  37. Great write up! “start with the vegetables” – – – Tossed Salad, anyone?

  38. Cancerpurse says:

    I can’t believe I never noticed this before. I’m never going to be able to not notice. Fun!

  39. It’s amazing how normal it seems to see food flying through the air in so many commercials on TV. I’m not going to be able to look at them the same! Great post

  40. I foolishly guffawed at “have you ever seen Pringles at rest? Of course not…”!

    Great post! And, of course, congratulations for the FP! :)

  41. Nora says:

    Thank you for the smile!

  42. pimpmyworld says:

    I wonder how a poor kid from some 3rd world country would react seeing these ads! Seriously?

  43. Reblogged this on Fall Into My Eyes and commented:
    Amazing take on food in advertising by Todd- great job, love it!

  44. That’s an interesting observation! Like people, food in motion is definitely more appealing than stationary food! ;)

  45. mehtaworld says:

    Have been watching ads since ages but never realized this thing…. even in the images they use this – go to a KFC or a McD they will show krushers bouncing around the glass…..

    Nice post…. congratulations for appearing on Freshly Pressed!!

  46. Derma Darling says:

    Lol. This was so hilarious and right on. It’s like advertisements for face wash with models flinging water in the general direction of their faces.

  47. cartoonmick says:

    Nice post, which created an image in my head of 2 football teams engaging in Hamburgers at 10 paces.

  48. Gallifrey says:

    Come to think of it, food IS flung about in commercials all over the world. The vibrant colors, the splashes, the freshness and ripeness (when we talk fruit juices) it’s very very tantalizing. And don’t even get me started on chocolate sauces and fried foods. I recently saw this ad. in which small fried potato balls were being tossed with red peppers and spices. It was mesmerizing.
    Veryy cool post! :D (Y)

  49. Wow…not sure what happened to get all these responses, but thanks, everyone! Glad you enjoyed it! Be sure to look in the archives for more posts, and happy reading! Feel free to repost with credit!

  50. Every movie or TV show with kids in school always results in a food fight (always makes me hungry!) and even commercials for appliances – families making food together and tossing it to one another- always! Great post!

  51. Pingback: toddwerkhoven « Live, Laugh, Love

  52. Pingback: Throw Your Food « Live, Laugh, Love

  53. rebecca2000 says:

    What? I thought we were supposed to scatter our granola and over fill our juice glasses. I am bummed that I am the only person actually doing that…La sigh

  54. Bedankt voor het schrijven van zo’n goede post. Taxi verhuur is inderdaad groeit goed schaal en internet is een goed medium om hetzelfde te vinden. Ik ben blij om je blog te vinden en heeft geabonneerd.

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