Youth Riffs On HFCS Ads: Web 2.0 Satire Is Snowballing

What do ants and rubber tree plants have to do with syrupy HFCS ads and high hopes for the future of youth media mobilization? Stay with me after the jump to find out…

Last week I wrote about my teen’s incredulous response to the patronizing propaganda sugar-coating the airwaves about HFCS, high fructose corn syup

Then I followed up with the dietary deconstruction and media literacy mandates (tips on teaching kids how to evaluate information with critical thinking skills, etc.)

Now, with social media kicking in (Reddit shows over 500+ text comments over the last couple weeks) and youth giving it the Web 2.0 satire slam and video spoof treatment, (a particularly edgy one right after the jump, which might offend some, but seemed ‘spot on’ in its ‘agitprop send-up’ of pithy yougaddabekiddingme sardonic wit) it would seem the HFCS ad team is most likely in damage control mode about now…

Perhaps they should ask themselves the question at left they asked of us as consumers, eh?

I (almost) felt sorry for Audrae Erickson, President of the Corn Refiners Association whose comment followed my own on this AdRants industry thread…

She chose to go with rote regurgitation of their factual positioning rather than engage and address critical comments, which will not bode well long term, given the viral social nature of a media savvy generation able to mobilize with a call to arms in a nanosecond.

Live and learn, HFCS peddlers…

In this age of conversation, it seems you almost HAVE to ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way’ when a message devolves into this level of “he said, she said” anecdotal sparring.

Believe me, that’s my chapter in the upcoming second edition of the Age of Conversation, ‘Why People Don’t Get It” to benefit Variety, The Children’s Charity.

I chose the ‘marketing triumphs and tragedies’ category to reveal lessons learned from the Target fandango when the conversation veered away from its original purpose…

Corporations? Take heed.

The HFCS ads will no doubt be a textbook marketing no-no.

I understand their “marketing strategy” to ‘seed doubt’ about factual data…but it’s dicey in execution…just as it’s a challenge for junk food giants to come off looking genuine when they’re handing out pedometers with their happy meals. Ugh.

“Moderation messages” are tough when the item in question is viewed as a vice. I remember working on Mumm Cuvee Napa when the mandate hit that the ‘drink responsibly’ message needed to trump the celebratory one…

That said, it IS possible to celebrate responsibly and in moderation…you put the glass down. Can’t quite do that with HFCS embedded in the food supply far beyond ‘junk food only,’ it takes LOTS of label literacy and due diligence to sift it out of your pantry altogether. Truth is…

The general public may SEEM like Sheeple sometimes, but the youth audience particularly has a low tolerance for saccharine, artificial approaches and sugar-coated spin…

Like that ant and the rubber tree plant, those of us with high hopes for a better world can swarm, work together, and lift many times our body size…

Be advised spinmeisters, ants work diligently when mobilized for a purpose…

And they bite. Hard.

Visual Credit of Ant and Rubber Tree Plant graphic: Smart-Central.com Nursery Rhymes

Now…Here’s that edgy video by “Aernk” on YouTube as promised…

Apologies in advance for any offense. To me, this type of comedy sketch-satire is purposeful in breaking through the ad clutter, to call attention to the absurdity of what’s being justified in the name of profit. Web 2.0 helps level the playing field for those with a voice and a message trying to be heard through the dollar-driven ‘Appetite for Profit’ which supersedes public health and well being.

Michele Simon’s book Appetite for Profit, explains “How the food industry undermines our health and how to fight back” is “MUST READ MEDIA” on the Shaping Youth literacy list!)

404

Comments

  1. I was literally just about to blog on this topic. Great minds think alike! I’ve been seeing those commercials everywhere, particularly during the early afternoon and evening. Even the NY Times has a “sweet surprise” banner right smack in the middle of their health section. Nice to know I’m not the only one that’s noticed.

  2. what a great spoof! i’m so excited – i think i’ll be using both ads next week in a media party i’m doing with young people. hmmm…

  3. @ Melanie…I figured you would! Perfect topic for your Monster Blog! (still haven’t picked up the post series yet…but am zeroing in on ‘best practices’ for some testing in virtual worlds (applying for a DML grant) Thanks again for the outcomes/measures tips…

    Also, great article by Marion Nestle in the Chron today dissecting the HFCS ad claims and the technicalities in processing of the various sucrose/fructose/derivs…Here’s the link…Very user-friendly and helpful:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/24/FDDS12UH12.DTL&hw=HFCS+marion+nestle&sn=001&sc=1000

  4. @ the holly…Glad you weren’t offended by the spoof. I can’t resist good satire that hammers the point home so scathingly. Brilliant pushback in ‘rage against the machine’ mode…I think it would fit with ANY “media party for young people”—the idea alone intrigues…what are you hosting? A media literacy snapshot? Counter-marketing? Picks and pans? Curious. Do tell! 😉

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge