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

View 35 Comments >

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories