Monday, November 09, 2009

It's November, 2009. Yes: 2009.

I think I must have missed the outrage. Yes, I read the news in the media over the Kellogg’s cereal claims about fiber. God bless them; they tried. How can parents go wrong if they serve a bowl of sugary milk that’s also filled with fiber-rich cereal?

Unfortunately, people didn’t quite take to that notion with as much enthusiasm as Kellogg’s PR team may have hoped. No one really believes they’re buying a wonderful nutritional choice when they take home these kinds of kids’ cereals. Popular with kids from sea to shining sea? Yes. Nutritious? Not so much.

I think we can all agree that no one buys sugary cereal in order to add more fiber to their diet. But Lucky Charms or Reese’s Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Apple Jacks were some of the sweet cereals my kids could usually find in our house as they grew up. We weren’t candy buyers, and rarely had cabinets of cookies or other treats in the house. But yes, we had our share of kids’ cereal. So sue me.

The fiber thing isn’t really my issue here. I just watched the Froot Loops commercial again and confirmed what I thought I saw before. I also checked the calendar and confirmed that we have just about completed the first decade of the 21st century. Another way to calculate the time would be to note that it’s almost forty years after the debut of Ms. Magazine.

Here’s the problem. The premise of the Froot Loops commercial is that one child – a boy - is in a doctor’s office and getting his check-up. He gets called into the office by another child, playing the receptionist, or maybe the nurse – a girl. Then the patient gets his check-up by the doctor – a boy.

Ummmm…once again, did I miss the outrage? Is there a reason the ‘doctor’ here had to be portrayed by a little boy and the ‘helper’ had to be a little girl? I’m not some kind of lunatic about political or social correctness or a radical feminist but let’s face it, shouldn’t someone at the ad agency who produced this commercial for Kellogg’s have raised this objection to typecasting straight out of 1956? Did anyone speak up and wonder aloud about the little girl being the helper and at the little boy being the boss?

And what about the people at Kellogg’s? I’d like to think someone at some point raised some objection – or at least a question - about the stereotypes we all thought would be anachronisms by now, that appear to be alive and well in their 2009 commercial. I’m so sorry but I can’t quite get past this. Even if I loved Froot Loops and my kids begged me for them, I’d stop buying them on principle alone.

If I missed the commentary on this, I'd be grateful if someone could post a link to a column or some reaction to this commercial. I may be getting more cranky in my old age - in fact I know I am - but this can't just be me, can it?

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