I’ve watched this video several times over several days, and I’m still not sure what I think. It’s unsettling. Intense. But is that chill in my spine because it goes too far? Or because it hits the mark?
People argue over whether junk-food-fast-food-pseudo-food is addictive, but, really now. Of course it is. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler covers the issue in-depth in his 2009 book “The End of Overeating.” And plenty of newer studies continue to back this up. (Though I’d like to see more of them emphasize that processed fats and sugars — not nutrient-dense whole foods — are the culprits.)
Then there’s the recent news that 40% of kids’ calories come from nutritionally bankrupt foods like soda, fruit drinks, pizza and desserts. Plus there’s the anecdotal evidence of all those empty bags-boxes-bottles in our hands.
Seems we ought to stop trying to establish the connection and instead start doing more about it.
But back to the video. Watch it. Digest it. Then tell me what you think.
Update on April 18, 2011: The video had been removed from YouTube, but it’s back, so I’m reposting. If it’s taken down again, you can find it on the video’s Facebook page (scroll to the very bottom).Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2011 Christina Le Beau
Is this one of those ads from the vegan gang?
Its not just poor quality meat that is addictive junk.
I’d like to see this commercial with the kid drinking some Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk in one of those single serving foil containers along with a lollypop. That’s the crack I see well educated moms give their kids on a daily basis.
No, I don’t think it’s a vegan thing. It’s from an Australian ad agency that has done some other childhood-obesity PSAs as well.
I thought the choice of a hamburger was a little ambiguous, since there’s a world of difference between a fast-food burger and a homemade pastured burger. But I’m guessing they thought the sesame-seed bun would fill in the blanks.
At first I was upset, then, at the end, thought it brilliant.
I have been reading Our Stolen Future. Everyone should read this book, which came out in 1996. Fourteen long years have passed after warnings about toxic chemicals in the environment and endocrine distrupters from specialized researchers. One thing I learned is that BPA may contribute to the obesity epidemic. Junk food even offers toxic chemicals in the paper bag that holds the hamburger. The bag is lined so the grease does not get on our hands. Problem is the chemicals get ingested.
Politicians are not going to change this situation unless mothers all over the country start demanding what the plan of action on toxic chemicals is. We can begin with the coming election.
Thanks for the book suggestion! I just finished Last Child in the Woods- I think you’ll like it, too.
We need to begin at home and make educated choices about what we feed our families. The good stuff is out there.
How true about it being like a drug. One of my friends came to a playdate with McDonald’s for her daughter that had a chocolate milk. Ever since my 3 year old has been OBSSESSED with it. I got Ovaltine and I put a small amount in his milk but I hate that even do that, and I still have him drink white milk. I refuse to buy the ready made stuff.
I feel like I am at odds with most everyone when it comes to food. I feel like it’s a small amount of time that I can oversee everything my two boys eat and I’d like them to have healthy habits. It’s an uphill journey.
This past weekend we went to a birthday party and the take away bag was filled with candy. Come on! Halloween right around the corner and I dread it.
I would be curious to see what kind of responses I would get if I posted this on Facebook…
That was an interesting video to watch first thing in the morning…prior to coffee and a shower 😉 But now I’ve had a few hours to think about it and I’m diving into the discussion.
I think the video makes a valid and appropriate correlation…actually I would dare say brilliant. I think as a society we have become dizzy from all of the misinformation mixed up with rhetoric to sell us unhealthy foods of all shapes and sizes. And I agree that sometimes you need something just this shocking to wake you up.
On the other hand, I think if you are in denial about the food choices that you make for yourself and your family and don’t have true information about what makes a healthy food choice, then this type of video may make you shut your eyes tighter and burry your head deeper and criticize those of us with the informaion as being too dramatic.
What about the same set up but with time being sped up as the little boy takes that bite…the more he eats the older and more unhealthy he becomes…until he’s an obese man sitting in the same chair.
Same message but with a more real world correlation that might maybe…just maybe…cause those watching to open their eyes a little wider instead of turn their heads and look the other way.
Laura, my take now, after sitting on this for awhile, is similar to yours. As much as I agree with its message, I don’t think the video offers enough information to be effective for the people who need it most. Maybe next time around they’ll try your time-lapse idea!
How do we submit it? 😉 The voice over could say something like, “Teach them about healthy foods today because this reality could be theirs tomorrow.”
Why do I hear that in the voice of James Earl Jones? I say you just make it yourself.
Meh, not too impressed with the execution – the ominous music went on too long and the ending was predictable.
I agree with others about the target food they used – a hamburger. That could’ve been a free-range grass-feed patty – not dramatic enough and to the heart of the problem. it is the refined, white SUGAR that needs to be completely vilified. Six times more addictive than cocaine, sugar should be the focus of shock commercials. And it needs to be more of a surprise shocker.
Maybe the shock value will open a few eyes.
They need to do more (HFCS, Froot Loops, etc etc)!!
Wow. I’m somehow not surprised that it’s an Australian video. The cynic in me says that vilifying the fast-food hamburger this way would not fly in America.
I agree that the burger is a nebulous symbol — we love our occasional grass-fed homemade cheeseburgers on whole wheat — but the message still comes through. And I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Rubin about the lollipop thing. As a matter of fact, I had two disheartening lollipop experiences recently: 1) At the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, at 9 A.M., my child pointed to a family and said “ooh, Mommy, they got treats!” The three kids — the youngest of whom was probably 2 — were all eating monstrous lollies while their parents talked about how “healthy” they were going to eat once all that produce came home.
2) Right after declaring that our son might be a little heavy, and we should “stop feeding him junk” (har har), the doctor handed him a lollipop as a treat for being such a good boy. Incongruity migraine!!!!
Oh, Bri, “incongruity migraine” is right. How completely insane.
Wow, that ad certainly grabs your attention! At least it grabs my attention. Will it attract the attention of those who really need to hear the message? While there are always exceptions, poor eating habits skew towards lower SEC, African Americans, and Hispanics…at least in the US. And the suggestion that certain foods/food ingredients are addictive (in lab animals as far as we know, at this point)…where will that message take us as a society? Will obesity be classified as a disease? There are no good drugs to really help at this point (without side effects). Most general practice physicians have only brief exposure to nutrition in med school, if at all. Will calling it a disease downplay personal responsibility? Maybe if people think they are “sick” with an “addiction”, they will just toss up their hands and say it’s not their fault they are overweight or obese. Will certain foods or food ingredients be banned from the food supply? I think these food companies will just come up with something else. I just don’t get how the “addiction” message is going to help solve what is a global problem. I’ve read Kessler’s stuff and he doesn’t seem to have an idea about where this addiction message is going either.
I’ve spent the last 20 years studying obesity and other nutrition-related diseases. No one has good answers, which is frustrating for me professionally and personally. I really think grass roots efforts (talking about where the food is sourced, how its prepared, where to go for correct information) may help and blogs like yours are a great way to build a community for outreach. All of your readers (who seem really educated based on the comments) can be vehicle for spreading the word!
I look forward to future postings! 🙂
Really interesting questions, T. Thanks for raising them.
On your point about poor eating habits skewing toward certain populations: I think we know now that this is a universal problem, affecting every race, ethnicity and socioeconomic class. I personally know plenty of affluent parents who regularly feed their kids pretty horrifying things. It’s truly a problem that crosses all lines.
Well, it definitely grabs your attention but I think, for the “average” consumer (i.e the one that doesn’t see McDonald’s as an unhealthy option and isn’t as aware/informed as most Spoonfed readers on the effects of such food) I almost wonder if they’d see this ad and scoff at the connection because they haven’t taken the time (for whatever reason) to understand what the ad is really trying to relay in terms of what junk/processed food does to our bodies, the environment etc. Most people don’t see/understand that foods today contain toxins, pesticides and antibiotics so they might not be able to connect the dots between the harmful affects of those things and the harmful affects of heroin. I think if they did an ad with a “sesame seed bun” hamburger and showed injections via syringe of fertilizers, toxins and antibiotics, it might impact more people because it might be easier for them to make the connection.
Amy, now that’s an ad I’d like to see.
I love this ad, but I agree with the others regarding the hamburger. Something sugar-coated (like those Halloween “dips” things-the sugar stick that you dip into a little bag of …more sugar) would be far more powerful. I think I’m going to post about this on the Midtown FB page or blog, and see what some of the (supposedly) health-conscious think about it. Should be interesting.
I am very supportive and concerned about food issues and health, having two small children and working with an organization that has a huge focus on local healthy food and kids. However, I thought this ad was way over the top and will alienate the very people it is supposed to engage. It appeals to the converted, but I think those that really need to consider these issues will tune out. People feed their children processed and less healthy foods for a lot of reasons – from living in food deserts where the primary food access is the local variety store and McDonald’s, to a family history of eating unhealthy food and so on. The issue is complex and I don’t think this piece oversimplifies the issue and thus misses the mark.
Lea Ann, my take now, after sitting on this for awhile, is that the video doesn’t have enough information to be effective.
It’s trying to shock people into seeing that junk food/fast food can become addictive, but — as much as I agree with its message — I think you’re right that it will alienate the people who could benefit most. Or not register at all.
It’s me, back again, with the name of the chemical: PFOA. It is used to line hamburger wrappers, so the grease does not get on your fingers. So, using a hamburger seems appropriate. The meat is probably not good for people, either. For more info: http://www.enviroblog.org/2009/03/pfoa-in-butter.html
That’s such a brilliant and powerful piece. I’m not too sure what to say about it other than that. Thanks for provoking some thought on this.
I was disappointed to see “Break the Habit” taken off YouTube as well, but I actually made a companion video three weeks before theirs was aired. Mine will not be taken down: Sausage Biscuit Addiction.
Thanks, Chillbear. Great video. Hope the habit kicks it soon.
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t let the ‘Break the Habit’ video go unchallenged.
Christina, you are welcome to play with us over on Wordsmoker.com as well. I think it would be mutually beneficial.
Interesting comparison video, Chillbear. And thanks for the invite, but I’ve got my hands full over here!