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.”