5/27/10

Crisco - I can't believe it's digestible!


Have you heard? I just can't believe the news! Simply everyone's talking about it. You'd better sit down for this. Crisco can be digested! Come on, kids! Let's go digest some!
When Crisco breathlessly advertises itself as being "digestible", one has to wonder why that's news. It is, after all, a food product. Even in 1951, there existed a thing called the Food and Drug Administration. Isn't it a basic requirement of anything sold as "food" to be capable of being digested by a human?

Soooo, was there some non-digestible type of Crisco that had recently been replaced by the new "fit for human consumption" formula? Was digestibility really such a breakthrough? How did they market the supposed "Classic Formula" Crisco?

"Smooth, indigestible Crisco! Foods come out so light and crisp... and you'll love squirting waxy paste into your toilet for hours afterward!"

The truth in advertising laws in America are pretty loose and sloppy. The list of words that must adhere to actual definitions is a short one. Until recently, "organic" had no legal meaning and is still an effortless way to get almost anything to fly off of store shelves. Technically, plutonium is organic. Some other words used to get gullible people to buy everything from shoelaces to meat:

-"Boosts the immune system" -  This is impossible, and you should be glad. Examples of a "boosted" immune system are autoimmune diseases like diabetes, psoriasis, and endometriosis.

-"Natural". Just about everything is natural. Crude oil, dead mice, and leprosy are all completely natural. It doesn't mean they're good for you.

-"Contains no chemicals" - This is impossible. Water is a chemical. Almost everything is a chemical. You are made out of chemicals. You'd die without chemicals.

-"Probiotics" - Unless you're having some serious diarrhea, this won't help you.

-"Cleansing" - Unless they tell you what specifically you're contaminated with, this means nothing. Otherwise, they're relying on your general paranoia to get you to open your wallet. Unless you have a serious health problem like Elvis did, your colon does not stash away pounds and pounds of feces for a rainy day. Every time you have a poo, you've been cleansed.

-"Toxins" - A general imaginary bogeyman word that has no meaning and requires no proof of anything. Useful for scaring granola types.

So, to see Crisco using the word "light" to describe fried foods in '51 is unsurprising to say the least. Advertisers have used the term to mean "low in something" or "light in color". Companies have no obligation to you other than a general air of short term non-lethality about their products. They only have a commitment to their shareholders.

So what's for dinner? Err, it kind of looks like a man's abdomen with a knife wound. See? He's got an eight pack! Mom calls this dish "belly wound asparagus". Often painful. Seldom fatal. Once you coat something in breading and fry it in fat, it kind of looks like everything and nothing. Crisco was kind enough to include a legend explaining what you're looking at. Apparently its ham and rice fried in fat.

Product claims of similar significance to Crisco's celebration of it's digestibility...

"The fabulous line of new Bell telephones consistently maintain their original shape and weight, year after year!"

"Time Magazine. For when you'd like to look at some words and hold a square thing. Check your news stand today."

"Try plankton! They're small!"

"Stay in touch with AT&T. You'll complete some calls."

"Home Depot: Now selling various things!"


1 comments:

Phil said...

(Note to self: Buy Crisco for the family)
I was 'in advertising' for a period of my life and have long enjoyed the spin from Madison Avenue. In all seriousness, Mr. Phil-Are-Go, you would be greatly entertained if you check out a book titled 'Ogilvey On Advertising'. It is certainly available at your local library. :]

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