Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vanishing Lunch Meat

This ad jumped out at me. First you see this:

Then you turn the page and you see:

Did you notice anything?

The trail of packaging left behind the vanishing lunch meat is a given; we are not supposed to notice it. It says so right there on the page. “Now you see it… Now you don’t.”

I don’t?

Is there any value in taking the time to notice the assumptions embedded in these kinds of messages before they wash over us like a morphine drip? For example, what do ads for kitchen garbage bags, a stopover for those invisible lunch meat packages, assume? Kitchen scraps are garbage. It follows that your kitchen garbage stinks (Buy the scented bags...). It's unsightly (There's a new "blackout" bag you can buy...) and it's messy (Good news! You can buy bags that are strong enough hold a piano...).

These ads wouldn't fly without a widely accepted assumption that kitchen compost is garbage. Without it, those pine fresh nylon-reenforced roles of plastic would join the Bacon Genie in the Hucksters Hall of Fame.
  • Hefty Blackout Bag Commercial - Video
  • "The Smell is in your kitchen" - Video
  • Hefty Ulta Flex Bags - Video
  • Hefty Steel-Sak Bags - Video
  • Jackie Chan Hefty Ad - Video
  • 9 News Colorado - Garbage Bag Face Off - Video
It's difficult to escape the Kitchen Compost is Garbage message. The other night, Brian and I were watching a documentary where a subject in the film pitched an overripe mango in the trashcan. Brian immediately looked to me for a reaction and he got it.

"Someday, we'll look at that and say, 'You're kidding? People did that?'"

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