I don’t watch television commercials these days if I can help it. I imagine you don’t either. But lately I’ve been watching live football games and have had to endure (when I didn’t think to mute the sound) the usual barrage of car, electronics, beer and junk food ads. And there are two campaigns floating around now that I just can’t get out of my head. The first of these is from the good folks at Chick-fil-a:
This “Eat More Chikin” cow campaign has been around since 1995. I’m sure I’ve seen the ads and billboards before, but I doubt I paid much attention. Basically, the Chick-fil-a fast food chain used ads like the one in the photo above to encourage burger-eating fast food customers to switch to chicken. But last night we saw an ad that just blew me away.
This ad uses a live cow, and you can link to a video of the ad here (Click on the ad called “Missing”)
In this spot, the live cow looks imploringly at a woman chowing down on her fast food burger; after being stared at by the cow she sheepishly looks down at the burger in her hand, connecting the meat on the bun with this very alive and soulful creature in front of her. Her shame is apparent once she has some awareness.
If this was an ad from PETA I would be most impressed, unfortunately the message is to eat more chicken. In other words, see your burger as an “individual” (her name is Mabel) and sentient being, but quickly do a disconnect, ignore that blooming awareness and…have a chicken sandwich? This ad arouses our sense of compassion for animals and at the same time asks us to ignore those feelings. We are so used to disconnecting from our own humanity when it comes to what we eat that the uncomfortable message of an ad like this barely registers.
And that brings me to another ad that can only resonate with a population that is in a complete and total fog:
This ad is from Foster Farms, a huge poultry company (factory farming at its worst) on the west coast. In this campaign the “amazing chickens” are performing classic rock songs. You can watch one of the spots for yourself here (apparently someone out there thinks this is funny).
After seeing all this “amazingness” one’s natural impulse, I suppose, is to want to run out and eat those chickens right up! HUH? The cut from the singing to the bag of frozen nuggets is just too bizarre for words. So, the message (I guess!) is that amazing animals should be eaten. Well, come to think of it, those service dogs do look pretty tasty. This is so cynical and beyond disturbing.
Since going vegan, many people have told me that they don’t like being told what to eat. Frankly, I think I’m the least of their problems.