Why a Miracle Whip advertisement is offensive

Why a Miracle Whip advertisement is offensive

I happened to see this Miracle Whip advertisement in a magazine left open by a patient in our waiting room, and I really found it offensive.  Let’s dissect the ways in which this advertisement sullies the notion of food, and examine how far the concept of Miracle Whip strays from real food that should be enjoyed.

At the top of the page it states: “This year, we’re opening a million mouths to our unique flavor.  Get your taste at Facebook and be counted.”

There is raw ambition in this statement, and it conceives food as empire.  It is invasive.  Kraft aims to open your mouth.  I open my mouth to very few things – conversation, good food, a kiss – but certainly not for a concoction of ingredients that hopes to conquer me among the millions.  To make this prying open even more personal, Miracle Whip aims to further invade your privacy on Facebook.  This medium always represented a sad surrendering of freedom, and it seems to be getting worse.

I don’t know who the personality is with the hat and glasses.  Can someone name him?  I don’t watch TV and my pop culture IQ is nice and low.  I feel sorry for him. He averts his joyless eyes from the camera, and his expression is one of penetration by Miracle Whip.

He is mouth number 73,302.  This statement is a kind of gut-wrenching poetry.

The ad further states:

For a long time this mouth was slammed shut to Miracle Whip.  Until finally it smeared it on wheat, slapped on some turkey, and bam!  This yapper wouldn’t shut up about how something so creamy could have such a sweet tang to it.  So what’s your holdup?

Food as sadism.  To me this sounds like the crass boasting of a bully.  “So what’s your hold up”  conjures the voice of a 1950′s boy trying to disarm the wholesome defenses of the girl next door.  The language is similarly violent and aggressive – slammed, smeared, slapped, bam!  The subject denigrated as a yapper.  I have not heard this term used for people; rather I hear it when someone refers to an annoying yapper dog that needs shut up and obey.

The ALL CAP ADMONITION is disturbing in and of its self, but the tagline is unreal:

KEEP AN OPEN MOUTH…  as a bottle of Miracle Whip floats like a phallus at the bottom of the page.

So what exactly is in Miracle Whip that makes it so urgent to get a million mouths open?  Is it miraculous?   Is it healthy?

According to Wikipedia, the current ingredients are:

… water, soybean oil, vinegar, sugar, modified corn starch, eggs. Ingredients making up less than 2% of product: salt, mustard flour, paprika, spice, natural flavor, potassium sorbate, enzyme modified egg yolk, and dried garlic.

Soybean oil is a cheap source of fat with a less-than-ideal ratio of omega 6 fatty acids that has a great shelf life.  Sugar is sugar, not necessarily bad, but in a country with rampant obesity do we really need to pry open a million more mouths to more sugar?  Modified corn starch sounds modified.  Not sure what natural flavor is, nor am I sure how natural is defined.  Potassium sorbate is a preservative.  Enzyme modified egg yolk is modified.  I don’t know what that means.

I would recommend gently spreading an avocado on your next sandwich.  The avocado is packaged in its natural skin, which is eminently biodegradable.  There are no preservatives or modifications, and the fat profile is healthier.

Keep an open eye.

“Dr. Charles” is a family physician who blogs at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles and The Green Examining Room

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  • Anthony D

    Man, people today are too touchy!

    Back in the 1970′s when “All in the Family” was on the air, nobody cared! We all thought Archie Bunker or Fred Sanford from “Sanford and Son” racial humor was funny!

    Now everybody is scared to do anything and fear a lawsuit coming right up!!!

    You find a Miracle Whip ad offensive??? LIGHTEN UP DOC!

    • sandyvc

      The racial humour in “All in the Family” was very deliberately done to show how vile such humour in the real world is. At no time did anyone think it was funny or acceptable to use that language on anyone. The point was that civil society had realized it was wrong and Norman found a way of showing how offensive it is without being offensive. Sorry you missed the boat on one of the single best educational shows on the subject of racism, abortion, feminism, unions, gender roles…, This is the reason that show was so important, it talked honestly but not offensively.

  • NormRx

    Well, there was a waste of a minute of my time.

    • sandyvc

      Don’t you love people pontificating on how they are above popular culture and then claim to understand those who do like it. My my. I hope he is not a real medical doctor. He would only study diseases that interested him or were felt by those in the “upper crust.”

  • james D

    It’s called marketing. Are you up in arms over every other advertisement?? They all shove products down your throat. Why is this one worthy of a blog posting? You’re a physician, yet you take offense to a “phallus” shaped bottle? I would hate to be going into your office with a genital concern, with red faced Doc Charles taking a look.

    Did you not get the open mouth = open mind idea?

  • Guest

    Oh, my stars. Lighten up, Grumpster McCrankypants!

    And after you put down the H8erade, google mcgarrybowen+miracle+whip to see that you’re all on your lonesome in your conspicuous offense-taking regarding this ad campaign. Everyone else likes it :)

  • Ambulance_Driver

    I’m offended that you’re offended.


    And yet apparently it’s not offensive when women’s bodies are used as objects to sell anything from perfume to food. You want a real public health threat? How about the marketing of foods with nutritional substance to our kids?

    • Guest

      I really hate the sexualization of young girls, particularly at Halloween. Objectification of women in ads is gross as well, but women willingly sign up for that.

      I agree about unhealthy food pushed on kids.

      • querywoman

        How about the amphetamines pushed on kids?

  • buzzkillerjsmith

    If this is your response to Miracle Whip, I’d hate to see how you after you’d looked at a Best Foods ad.

  • NewMexicoRam

    Take a deep breath. Count to 10. Then get back to your day job.

  • Noni

    The language in this ad is weird. I don’t find it offensive at all, just weird. It does not make me want to buy Miracle Whip. I wonder who the target audience is for this ad. Uneducated people who speak like this commonly?

    • sandyvc

      Well, you know. He does not sully himself with pop culture so heaven knows what he makes of it on the rare occasion he sinks to our level.

  • querywoman

    I find pharmaceutical ads, especially those for antipsychotics like Abilify and Seroquel, offensive.
    Are medicines food?
    Why is it considered beneficial to shove blood pressure and anti-cholesterol medicines down the throats of Americans en masse?

    • f. lusu

      there are a few medications listed as ‘medical food’.$
      -don’t ya just love that abilify ad on tv? the little cartoon figure nodding her head to whatever the dr says? all so innocent looking,like, gee doc, i’ve been on that anti depressant for a few weeks and i’m still not feeling perfect,can you give me another pill? [you notice they don't tell the viewers that abilify is an anti psychotic?]

      • querywoman

        The idiot box might get turned on once or twice a year in my apartment. I have seen the Abilify ads in magazines.
        They don’t want you to know that it’s a very strong drug, and very expensive, with a real possibility of tardive dyskenesia.
        I remember the old Valium ads, with a sad middle- aged woman. Valium doesn’t even have the really risky long-term side effects of that antipsychotic shee-it.
        I’m sitting here imbibing diet soda, that demon from hell, a brand name, caffeinated. I could drink wine like my ancestors. I don’t like beer. I have plenty of homemade wine without chemicals, but seldom drink it. I use it in cooking some.

        • f. lusu

          not only tardive dyskenesia. there is also weight gain and the chance of developing diabetes. i wonder if it would be a good idea for each psychiatrist to take just 1 weeks worth of every kind of medication they prescribe. it might help them get a clue about the severity of the side effects.

          • querywoman

            I really hope you don’t get diabetes, but, if you do, the medicos will blame your diet and weight, not the drugs!
            When electroshock was king in the psychiatric world, patient activists challenged psychiatrists to submit to shock themselves.
            I don’t think any shrink ever voluntarily submitted.
            Tardive D is bad stuff. I’d rather be addicted to Valium, which I’m not.

          • sandyvc

            I agree. And they can raise cholesterol. I told a pshrink I had high cholesterol and he said it did not matter. He was and is the head of a psych ward in a major hospital in a major city. The next one said he should not be allowed to practice for saying it did not matter if it raised my cholesterol even further. It is your old crap shoot. I would like to make a couple feel what the horrors are like and then treat them like children, patronize them, and give them meds that cause hell without telling them that can happen. Then tell them they have no health care plan.

        • sandyvc

          Back when Valium was the new best thing Canada did not even allow ads for prescription drugs. Valium though, is addictive and is not “on label” for continued use. However, your comments on Anti psychotics are true. Psychiatrists are not scientists. They do not keep up in the profession. They do not even keep up on the drugs. They are the most arrogant bunch of losers I have had the misfortune to have to put up with. Even my family doctor has realized that all they do is keep shoving meds at you until something sticks. The future is in neurology and I am ready to kick psychiatrists to the curb. I know 4 people poisoned by Effexor after being put on the top dose immediately and who have become worse because of it.

          I took a drug 13 years ago that worked for me. I asked a psychiatrist for a prescription 12 years ago after I moved and he said no. I have asked for it since then and been told it was not strong enough for me. Another one said it was not for what was wrong with me. Finally got my GP to prescribe it. I am fine now. They stole 12 years of my life because, despite spending more years in school than them, despite being a professional analyst who knows how to research I was just not as f’ing smart as them!

          I am not opposed to all meds. I know what hell feels like. While we are hoping for cures and treatments sometimes it is take the meds or leave life. So, I hate the people who dispense meds mindlessly. I do not hate the people who hurt so bad they need to try and try and try.

          • f. lusu

            interesting that they put them on the highest dose. i guess they don’t have the time to go slowly and see if there are any serious ‘side effects’ (effects)
            from the drugs? why add drug reactions on top of depression?

  • Melissa Stockbridge

    Why is this on Kevin MD? Jezebel or something, maybe?

    • querywoman

      To demonstrate the trivial pursuits with which many medical minds occupy themselves!

    • Guest

      I like the variety of posts on this blog. It can’t all be gloom and doom policy or heavy science.

  • querywoman

    Foods are favorite love-to-hate targets for so many doctors!
    Medicines can have life-impacting side effects and can also kill, along with being beneficial!
    Trying to get doctors to admit that their meds can be harmful is near impossible.
    I feel confident that medicines kill more people than junk food. Throw in the the people who die on the operating table. Don’t people occasionally die on the treadmill?

    • Guest

      Is there a reason you can’t post once or twice rather than flood the comment section with one line comments?

      • querywoman

        I could edit the last post when I think of something new. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
        Till I get a better computer, my current one is quirky.

        • sandyvc

          At least you have a real name. You are not just “Guest’. With “Guest” you could be bitch slapping the wrong one! Is there a reason, do you suppose this anonymous Guest person needs to know exactly what comment goes with what person? LOL

  • querywoman

    My words are forming in my mind better. I know for a fact that it would be much easier to attribute many deaths to various prescribed medications than to any food!
    By the way, acupuncturists and chiropractors seldom kill patients!

  • querywoman

    Avocados are a binge food for some folks, but I hate them. Threw one up once.
    I don’t like chemicalized food either. I have always hated eggs, and then I got the good news that I have an egg allergy. I try not to eat too much egg in anything.
    I prefer to put REAL BUTTER on my sandwiches. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen the Paula Deen brand of butter round my grocers.
    More butter, y’all!
    Butter will help lubricate all dem blood pressure and anticholesterol meds the docs insist you take!
    More butter, y’all!
    And more!
    Then I’ll eat something nice and slippery from pure olive oil!
    And rice bran oil!
    And sunflower oil!

  • querywoman

    Water is the first ingredient! Cheap and healthy!

  • Hal E Peno

    As the great Sgt Hulka said in Stripes, “lighten up Francis”…

  • Toni Cox

    How about making your own mayonnaise with organic eggs and canola oil, salt and powdered mustard. As much or as little sugar as you like. It is only an emulsion, nothing to be afraid of.

  • sandyvc

    It is not necessary to like pop culture or TV. It is necessary to understand the people, to understand your audience or clients or students. You throw away raw data that helps any social scientist gain insight into the populace when you brag about how you don’t follow it. This tells me you do not know how to look at a population. This snooty attitude belongs on a teenage girl, no some one who purports to know something about culture and people. I trained as an historian and anyone trained as a professional historian includes all the data not just the stuff they approve of. How ignorant can you be to claim to understand in the same breath as saying you do not look at the data? Oh, besides making you look like a fool for leaving out the millions of people who do follow something you know nothing about you also look like a failed social climber.

  • TMMM

    This writer needs to relax. It’s an ad for a sandwich spread. “Offensive” is a word which, when thrown around enough, becomes meaningless.

    Please don’t make offensive meaningless. There’s a few wars going on. I heard some women and children were gassed to death a few days ago.

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