Friday, 20 April 2007

Boycott Special K!

Some things are easier to boycott than others. Nestle for example - I like KitKats as much as the next girl, but there are plenty of equally yummy alternatives that don't involve giving money to baby murderers. McDonald's* isn't too difficult to boycott either, because their food is utterly vile. I do however have trouble with Special K. It's the most delicious cereal ever invented, and yet their advertising campaigns make me want to hurl my bowl of the stuff at the television.

I was really hoping that I'd be able to find loads of clips of these nauseating adverts on YouTube, but sadly (?) nobody has uploaded them so you'll have to make do with a description: Smug, slim, scantily-clad woman talks to camera in conspiratorial honeyed tones about the secret of her svelte figure, whilst idiotic neanderthal male model runs around after her like an adoring puppy. I'm a smart woman because I eat Special K and thus keep my figure. If you eat Special K, you too can be a smart, sultry woman, wearing red hotpants despite the fact that she is pushing thirty, cocking her perfectly-plucked eyebrow at fatties in their living rooms. You too can turn your man into a dribbling imbecile with a killer six-pack. Eat Special K, keep trim and get a man. Excuse me whilst I vomit.

These advertisements are unusually obnoxious in that they manage to insult both men and women. They imply that women have a duty to maintain their figures and that they will be less attractive if they eat normal cereal. They imply that the ultimate achievement for a woman is to have a man wrapped around her little finger. They also imply that any man will turn into a slack-jawed goon in the presence of a svelte Special K eater.

Another reason for boycotting Special K is of course the fact that it's twice as expensive as any other cereal. Anything marketed as a diet product is always way more expensive than calorific alternatives, because manufacturers and retailers know damn well that women are going to pay for it. I'm buggered if I'm paying twice as much for a packet of cereal just because it's "diet food".

Special K isn't actually marketed as a diet product, more as a "weight maintenance aid" if there is such a thing - it's a lifestyle choice that women are encouraged to make on a permanent basis in order to maintain their figures. This is not a question of paying through the nose for the stuff for a few weeks in order to shed a few pounds - it's a question of paying through the nose for life.**

I'm not the only person of the opinion that Special K is the yummiest cereal ever - it's definitely got the popular vote amongst everybody with whom I have ever discussed cereal preferences, male and female, dieters and non-dieters. They don't need to market it as a diet product. But as long as they continue to do so in such a vomitous fashion, and as long as the price reflects this, it's cornflakes all the way.

*I have nothing against globalisation in theory - it was their advertising campaigns that made me vow never to set foot in the place. Aggressive campaigns aimed at children, specifically stating that their products will make you happy? Ronald McDonald had better cock off before I shove his burgers where the sun don't shine.
**Actually, they have started marketing it as a diet product recently, in a copycat version of the Slim Fast programme (for anyone whose mum lived on milkshakes in the early 90s). I have to say, all credit to them, when I put my height and weight into their BMI calculator and came out with a figure in the normal range, the advice was not to go on the diet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Q) Why does a company advertise?

A) To increase sales of goods and services

The adverts you are so disgusted with, are the way they are, because it encourages more people to buy the product. If you want to blame anyone for these adverts, blame the people that buy it. Further more many of these adverts are the result of extensive consumer surveys. Have you not ever attended a customer research group where you are paid in cash for you opinions? All the big companies before proceeding with product ideas or advertising, pitch them at these survey before doing anything, and you get bet your last dime that the manufacturers of Special K did exactly the same thing before creating the adverts you so despise.

I'm sure if the image of someone eating Special K in a hospital bed on breathing equipment sold this product, then I suspect the advertising would be very different.