Friday, June 03, 2011
(picture at left would be Christine when she was an ignorant consumer - picture at right when she was much less with the ignorance ... or maybe she was just plain idiotic for making Ninfa's green sauce a food group)
Did I ever tell you I was a Radio/Television major in college?
I wanted my emphasis to be PR, but that meant changing to a completely different (updated) catalog, which would also mean I would be required to take college algebra instead of pre-algebra. Thus, my decision was made: stick with R/TV and fill my electives with PR courses.
What it really meant was: do whatever it takes to avoid college algebra.
This right-brained gal ain't no dummy.
So, I have completed quite a bit of coursework in subjects like advertising and marketing. I came out of that experience knowing one thing for sure ...
Most people can be duped into spending money.
I get very excited to see more organic and vegan choices at my local supermarket. Yet that doesn't change the fact that big business is now trying to capitalize upon the lack of understanding in the general public. See how nice I was right there? I avoided using the word "ignorance." Remember, you didn't hear me say it. It came from this lady -
“Fast-food chains hope to cash in on consumer ignorance with labels like ‘fat-free’ and ‘low-calorie.’ But some of these foods contain more sugar, sodium, or fat than anyone should eat in an entire day, and eating them can increase your risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.” - Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., the nutrition education director for the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine
Would you give your kids five Twinkies in one sitting? No, but you might buy them a Strawberry Smoothie at Sonic (which has just as much sugar as five Twinkies).
I have had Wendy's Baja Salad, and liked it. Now I know why - it has more sodium than most adults should consume in an entire day. Okay, that and the same amount of fat you would get from 16 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.
I know, right?
If the sugar and salt and fat don't get you, go for KFC's Kentucky Grilled Chicken. It contains PhIP, a chemical classified as a carcinogen by the federal government.
They play on consumer ignorance. Now, I don't think they're out to make us fat or purposefully give us cancer. I think they are out to make us love their food and THINK it's not as unhealthy as other menu items. I think they are out to produce items people enjoy eating, in the cheapest and fastest way possible. Consumers desperately want to fulfill their food cravings AND be healthier. Businesses use catch phrases, and colorful advertisements. They utilize young, skinny, glowing people in their commercials and print ads. People are duped. They can't have their proverbial cake and eat it, too. But they think they can.
My family splurges occasionally. We eat crap occasionally. Yet, we also know how quickly we can fall back into the pattern of the "occasionally" turning into the "new norm." My kids tend to be the ones to remind me to check labels and think through a choice first before ordering. They understand that just because cheese enchiladas are vegetarian, doesn't mean they are healthy. They are learning balance, and hold me accountable.
Sadly, they have also had to learn that advertisers have one goal: prey upon your fears, passions and desires so that you will spend more money on their products.
Don't be a consumer ignoramus.
Well, heck, I guess you don't want to be any kind of ignoramus, but you could at least start with the consumer part.