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A wholesome response
April 4, 2014 3:15 AM   Subscribe

Graham cracker manufacturer Honey Maid recently ran a commercial titled "This is Wholesome" that depicted many kinds of families, including gay and racially mixed. Said commercial evidently sparked the ire of social conservatives and prompted at least one letter writing campaign denouncing it. As sweet as the original commercial was, Honey Maid's response was just beautiful.
posted by Gelatin (123 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
Think I'll buy some graham crackers.
posted by tommyD at 3:25 AM on April 4 [34 favorites]


Like many people here, I'm very cynical about advertising. And this is ultimately about selling crackers.

That said, I am so happy that tolerance has advanced to the point that trolling social conservatives and responding gently is a viable advertising model.

I hate to say it, but I'll look at that brand harder the next time I buy graham crackers.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:36 AM on April 4 [114 favorites]


This is a fantastic response and I don't care if it is advertising. We're manipulated by ads all day long, might as well use them for good instead of evil. I love how it puts things in perspective, an engaging way to show how a loud, obnoxious minority is just that: a minority. Kudos to the artists and kudos to the company for running it.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:47 AM on April 4 [60 favorites]


I'd like to take a moment to remind everybody that it was ten years ago that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney used a national campaign of homophobia to great electoral advantage, driving conservative voters to the polls and securing the reelection of one of America's worst presidents by ginning up hate and pushing same-sex marriage bans in several states.

And now this, a national advertising campaign whose message is basically "hey homophobes, fuck off, you lost." Ten years later.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:48 AM on April 4 [153 favorites]


Mayor Curley nailed it... "trolling social conservatives and responding gently" will soon be a required course in your local university's advertising degree...

Here's a serious question for you... we've seen this done before... but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.
posted by HuronBob at 3:49 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


"Trolling liberals" is like 90% of right-wing media.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:54 AM on April 4 [21 favorites]


The cynical part of me thinks they probably had the "response" planned before they even filmed the original ad.

The rest of me doesn't give a shit about that and is actually tearing up a little bit because that was beautiful.
posted by ook at 3:55 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

Chik-Fil-A did some pretty brisk business last year.
posted by DigDoug at 4:14 AM on April 4 [24 favorites]


I'm going to leave a box of Honey Grahams on the (very vocal) office conservative's desk today.
posted by orme at 4:17 AM on April 4 [16 favorites]


Mayor Curley nailed it... "trolling social conservatives and responding gently" will soon be a required course in your local university's advertising degree...

I believe I may benefit from such a course, seeing as my initial ideas for what I'd want to sculpt in these circumstances would either be a "fuck you" or an ejaculating penis.
posted by mr. digits at 4:34 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


So I guess I HAVE to make S'mores now. And some graham-crust pies. LE SIGH.
posted by Erasmouse at 4:35 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


> And now this, a national advertising campaign whose message is basically "hey homophobes, fuck off, you lost."

North Carolina passed its constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage two years ago.

It's nice to think of this TV commercial as a kind of victory lap, but nah, the contest hasn't ended yet.
posted by ardgedee at 4:37 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


And to think that graham crackers were originally invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham to help prevent masturbation.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:41 AM on April 4 [75 favorites]


I see very few ads, but I did somehow catch that one a few weeks ago, and I remember thinking how special it was. Which is not like me at all. And the response is on the nose.

It's a nice bonus, of course, that Honey Maid actually are the best graham crackers on the market. We eat a lot of graham crackers in the ozzy household, and we've tried just about every brand, from supermarket house brands to Trader Joe's brand, even the red-box Nabisco crackers that my wife insists are "the ones we always buy" which is a complete lie. None of them even come close to Honey Maid.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:43 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I have the tv on as background noise while studying a lot, so while I haven't seen this commercial (and therefore had ok idea a controversy would erupt), but I've heard t several times. It uses the word "wholesome" about 654 times in a row. And each time I've heard it, I'm left puzzling over the word. It sounds weird. And wtf does wholesome even mean?
posted by atomicstone at 4:47 AM on April 4


atomicstone: it means graham crackers were invented to make people stop masturbating
posted by idiopath at 5:00 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


I think we've turned a corner (in a good way) when trolling bigots has become a smart advertising strategy.
posted by COD at 5:06 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Whoever created this ad needs to do more just like this one because my wallet is very interested, and I don't ever eat graham crackers.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:08 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]


Looks like I picked the wrong year to stop eating graham crackers...

Carbs be damned, I'm gettin' me some


(I predict there'll be complaints about the association of "wholesomeness" with families...and maybe about the very concept wholesome in a non-physical sense as a virtue... And of course it's still probably just the folks in the marketing department trying to separate us from our money... But, y'know, pretty damn good for what it is, IMO.)
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:15 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


ook:

"The cynical part of me thinks they probably had the 'response' planned before they even filmed the original ad."

You don't have to be cynical to think that Honey Maid's ad firm was not aware that showing same-sex couples would arouse the public wrath of bigots. Nor is it cynical to be prepared for the inevitable public bigotry. What might be cynical is if they created the first set of ads only so they could do the second, but that seems a long walk, particularly as it would be contingent on what that bigoted response would be precisely.

I suspect the ad company knew there would be a backlash, and let the client know they were prepared when there was, and left it to Honey Maid to pull that particular trigger. Not cynical, but smart.
posted by jscalzi at 5:15 AM on April 4 [15 favorites]


And to think that graham crackers were originally invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham to help prevent masturbation.

What exactly do you do with the crackers, to accomplish this?
posted by thelonius at 5:17 AM on April 4 [27 favorites]


Jeez, I don't know how I feel about my heartstrings being pulled so hard like that.
I await the day when diversity stunt advertising is useless, because that's what America believes all families look like. But congratulations Honey Maid for a successful ad campaign, I guess.
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:18 AM on April 4


I don't even LIKE graham crackers and I'll probably go buy a box for my office.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:24 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


What might be cynical is if they created the first set of ads only so they could do the second, but that seems a long walk, particularly as it would be contingent on what that bigoted response would be precisely.

I don't think "we will get a bunch of nasty emails and tweets that we can print out and do something with" is a terribly unpredictable response.

Cynical me is winning; I think they knew exactly what they were up to from the start -- the second ad is a zillion times more effective than the first and will get a lot of free rebroadcasts on the news and, well, places like here. There's no good reason to deliberately anger one segment of your market with the first ad unless you think you can more than make up for it with the other segment later on.

Which they totally succeeded at. So good on them.
posted by ook at 5:28 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Love the ad, love the response, and I absolutely hate being the lone Grumpy Gus saying "What about the..." but, damn, it would have been nice to have at least half a second to show one family without children. They DO exist.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:31 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]


The "Love" is quite a nice piece of art, as well. The different diameter paper rolls really creates a cool texture. I think I might try something like that for a project I am thinking about.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:32 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


"Trolling liberals" is like 90% of right-wing media.

And "look at how the right-wing media is trolling liberals" is 90% of left-wing media.
posted by Foosnark at 5:34 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I am primarily unmoved by adverts, but this was brilliant.
posted by dejah420 at 5:36 AM on April 4


What might be cynical is if they created the first set of ads only so they could do the second, but that seems a long walk, particularly as it would be contingent on what that bigoted response would be precisely.

Not only so they could create the response, but that they knew the response would be shared here, on Upworthy/Buzzfeed/Facebook/Tumblr/etc.

That was absolutely the strategy.

But even then, I'm okay with it and firmly in the "let's enjoy it as a sign of progress" camp.
posted by graphnerd at 5:37 AM on April 4


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

The recent hybrid Caddy ad with Neal McDonough?
posted by aught at 5:38 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


"Honey Maid response" video is great, but the last twenty seconds are a trypophobiac's nightmare fuel.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 5:46 AM on April 4 [9 favorites]


it would have been nice to have at least half a second to show one family without children. They DO exist.

True, but they are not the largest consumers of graham crackers.

That said, what's with this post? How am I supposed to keep my hardface on with stuff like this? Now I'm all goopyeyed in the office. Well played, Gelatin, well played.
posted by corb at 5:49 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

The recent hybrid Caddy ad with Neal McDonough?


And then Ford trolled Cadillac.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:50 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Funny how often the perfect is the mortal enemy of the good.
posted by aramaic at 5:54 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


In the past week, I've noticed several ads in metro stations for condo communities that show same sex couples. Refreshing.
posted by atomicstone at 5:54 AM on April 4


I just went and looked at their ingredient list. Not too bad. Not super great, either.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:55 AM on April 4


I'll admit that I did a total double-take the first time I saw this ad. Actually, I remember that I was on chat here, and I almost said "hey guys, I think I just saw a graham cracker commercial with a couple of gay dads." I'm in Iowa, where on the one hand gay marriage and parenting are no longer very controversial, but on the other hand a lot of people seem to have made their peace with marriage equality by deciding not to think about it very much. (Polls show that most Iowans say that they don't care about gay marriage either way, don't particularly want it repealed, and don't think it has affected their lives in any way.) I thought it was really interesting that Honeywell thought that was an ad that would help them in this particular market.

I've also been seeing this Swiffer ad featuring an interracial couple with adorable kiddies with extra bonus diversity points that the adorable dad only has one arm. I'm thinking that the sad, pathetic "controversy" over the Cheerios ad must not have hurt Cheerios in any way.

Sadly, graham crackers still taste like sweetened cardboard to me.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:55 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


North Carolina passed its constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage two years ago.

Yesterday, in Mississippi...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on April 4


They totally knew what they were doing and the goal was to sell crackers.

And this is how capitalism can be a force for good.
posted by double bubble at 5:59 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Rev. Graham would be proud of his invention. I watched this a few times through and nobody was masturbating.
posted by dr_dank at 6:03 AM on April 4 [40 favorites]


And thus hate is transmuted into love.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:10 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person who didn't know the genesis of graham crackers?!

Thanks for introducing me to that, Obscure Reference. Also: eponyppropriate.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 6:12 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


That was sweet. Their facebook page is mostly people going "yay, love this, thank you!" (paraphrase) and a few people going "one day the Bible will mean something to you but by then it maybe to late... every knee shall bow and every toung shall confess." (direct quote from one person)

And it looks like they are vegan (if the vegans are honey-eating vegans), so gingerbeer could use these for the crust the next time she makes that vegan chocolate-peanut butter pie. Mmmmm pie.
posted by rtha at 6:14 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Of ads that are going to be on, it's nice. I mostly noticed that 1 parent had lots of tattoos, before I realized 'gay dads' and 'are we still noticing mixed colors of families?' Yes, they were almost certainly inspired by the Cheerios kerfluffle. But I hate that media, including ads, is shaping values. internal struggle between wanting to be happy, and feeling cynical, blah, blah
posted by theora55 at 6:25 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I tell my kids all the time that advertising is the most evil industry in existence. Now I have to add to that "With particular exceptions". If Honeymaid wants to use their powers for good instead of evil, more power to them.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:33 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Very sweet. Loved this, don't care about the advertising grar.
posted by arnicae at 6:38 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


And to think that graham crackers were originally invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham to help prevent masturbation

>What exactly do you do with the crackers, to accomplish this?


Crumble them up, coat your undergarments in the tiny, sharp, cracker shards.

/former youth minister
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:38 AM on April 4 [32 favorites]


Am I the only person who didn't know the genesis of graham crackers?!

This was also one of John Harvey Kellogg's main motivations when helping to develop his family's line of breakfast cereals. (Also, T.C. Boyle's wacky novel The Road to Wellville is based on J. H. Kellogg.)
posted by aught at 6:38 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


From Thorzdad's link above, this quote from Family Research Council honcho Tony Perkins, who attended the signing ceremony of this bill that supporters claim is totally not about discrimination against gays (emphasis added):
"Those who understand the importance and cherish the historic understanding of religious freedom are grateful for leaders who respond to fact and not fictitious claims of those who are trying to quarantine faith within the walls of our churches or homes," Perkins said in a statement.


Who could possibly advocate "trying to quarantine faith within the walls of our churches or homes"?
posted by Gelatin at 6:38 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Honey Maid is a division of Nabisco, and I'm pretty sure that they don't care that much about using their powers for good. What this says, I think, is that promoting an inclusive image is good for business, at least if their core customer base is parents of young children and hence typically people in their 20s and 30s. One of the biggest things to come out of the recent polling about marriage equality in Iowa is that there's a huge generational split. Pollsters asked people whether they were proud, neutral or disappointed that Iowa was a pioneer on gay marriage. A plurality of people under 35 said proud, and a large majority of people under 35 said either proud of neutral. (The split was 45% proud, 32% neutral, 18% disappointed.) Among people over 55, the responses were pretty much flipped: 18% proud, 30% neutral, and 51% disappointed. And I bet a lot more 30-year-olds buy graham crackers than 60-year-olds.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:42 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


"Crackers are a family food - happy families. Maybe single people eat crackers, we don't know. Frankly, we don't want to know. It's a market we can do without." - Honey Mail VP
posted by deathmaven at 6:52 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Here's the lobbying spend by Mondelēz International, the parent company of Nabisco formed a year or two ago. Doesn't seem to be a big lobbyist, all considered.
posted by cromagnon at 6:53 AM on April 4


I haven't bought graham crackers in years (my sister-in-law usually buys the s'mores stuff when we go camping) but damned if this didn't make me want to buy some. I think I'll probably do so and then donate them to a food pantry.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:58 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


It feels like trolling conservatives is the best route to going viral these days. Just show an interracial or gay/lesbian/trans* couple buying paperclips and conservatives just freak the fuck out. Those guys are just so bizarrely unhinged.

And then, after the shitstorm, you make a follow up in which you show people paperclipping pictures drawn by the children of those families to a giant reproduction of the Constitution, and bam, a zillion shares/likes and a Clio.

And I end up buying more paperclips.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:58 AM on April 4 [26 favorites]


I can't quite decide if I'm happy that my kind are now included in the realm of advertising or annoyed because my kind are now included in the realm of advertising.

I'm waiting for the first queer rendition of the doofy husband cliché, and wondering how they're going to advertise cleaning products using 1950s gender constructs without determining which one in a gay couple is the "woman." I mean—who's going to be in love with a Swiffer™ if they're both dudes, or whose going to be doofy in an all lady household?
posted by sonascope at 7:02 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.


What about that advertising campaign that featured all-white, all-cis, all-heteronormative families with fathers, mothers, and children all in "traditional" family roles? You remember? That advertising campaign for ALMOST EVERY PRODUCT EVER?
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:11 AM on April 4 [18 favorites]


Congrats, gays and lesbians! Your social and political movement and attractive demographic has finally drawn the attention of corporate advertisers, who will be falling all over themselves to flatter you and exploit your emotional responses in order to sell you products! You've come a long way, baby!
posted by tew at 7:16 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


I love how it puts things in perspective, an engaging way to show how a loud, obnoxious minority is just that: a minority.

Honestly, when I was watching this at first and it was showing the making of the "love" sculpture, my thought was "but isn't it sad that they actually got enough negative comments that they would be able to do this," and it was the last "and here's how many positive comments we got" overshadowing it that made me say "okay, that's better".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Thanks for this, I hadn't seen the ad.

I'm super-thrilled that trolling conservatives is seen as a viable advertising strategy; it suggests that crusty right-wing sentiment is seen as waning and and is about to be eclipsed by a younger, more inclusive and more open-minded demographic.

A generation ago, I used to be disdainful of what I thought was a heavy-handed approach to racial inclusiveness and diversity in advertising and TV programming... but goddammit it worked, and the city we live in is a pretty successful example of a relaxed and inclusive multi-racial/ethnic/oriented society. Except for our friggin mayor...
posted by Artful Codger at 7:16 AM on April 4


Here's a serious question for you... we've seen this done before... but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

It's not done directly by the industries for sure, but this is, like, almost the bulk of right-wing consumer campaigns. Mike Huckabee is a Fox News employee and led a campaign, on air, to have everyone go to Chik-Fil-A. Sarah Palin told an entire CPAC audience to go buy Big Gulps at 7-11. I spent my Christmas break listening to news reports about people buying Duck Dynasty merchandise.

"We can pretend liberals will be furious if this company is financially successful" is basically the right-wing McRib being back.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:17 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Also, outside of the right-wing punditry influence, there is certainly a marketing demographic of "let's pretend that 'politically correct' is a thing that actually exists, and then claim we're defying this non-existent entity" usually in the form of young-straight-male marketing. Case in point: the Budweiser "True" ad about Nice Guys™ not getting laid; the Twix commercial about how women is dumb and probably love, like, blogging and gay shit like that; the Burger King commercial where you want the big greasy horrible-for-you burger, not "chick food"; and so forth.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:20 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


it would have been nice to have at least half a second to show one family without children. They DO exist.

As someone with no children and no plans to have any, the use of the word "family" to exclusively mean "people with children" totally chaps my ass, but is also totally not something that is going to change. I've made my peace with it in that I don't let it raise my blood-pressure, but I notice the exclusionary use of the word each and every time and intensely dislike it.

Congrats, gays and lesbians! Your social and political movement and attractive demographic has finally drawn the attention of corporate advertisers, who will be falling all over themselves to flatter you and exploit your emotional responses in order to sell you products! You've come a long way, baby!

That misses the point of the ad. It's not an ad that is aimed at selling crackers to gays -- it is an ad aimed at selling crackers to families, and using inclusionary imagery (including of same-sex, interracial, tattooed, and single parent families) to do so. Given how much demographic and marketing analysis gets done before big ad campaigns, this (along with some other recent ad campaigns) is an indicator of how much attitudes have changed among at least younger people on these issues.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:22 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


I had no idea other adults didn't eat graham crackers. I'm never without a box in the cupboard.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:22 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


DigDoug: "but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

Chik-Fil-A did some pretty brisk business last year.
"

Hobby Lobby sure is trying in the Supreme Court, as well.
posted by symbioid at 7:27 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign?

Chik-Fil-A did some pretty brisk business last year.

Hobby Lobby sure is trying in the Supreme Court, as well.


Neither of those are examples of advertising campaigns.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:35 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


It's too bad that commercially produced graham crackers are like eating crumbling drywall since they took out the trans fat.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:38 AM on April 4


"...marketing analysis..."

Also known as "guessing".
posted by nerdler at 7:39 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


It's nice to be manipulated by an appeal to people's better natures rather than one to their fears and hatreds, though. I mean, if we have to be manipulated.

Re how they are going to advertise to same-sex couples as asked upthread, they don't have to do it by who "is the woman". You can do it by "who is the neat freak/who is the slob". Modern Family has had episodes involving that more than once with their gay couple. We might even end up with ads with straight couples featuring a female slob with a neatnik husband. It's still kind of trite and insulting, but not tied to gender assumptions.
posted by emjaybee at 7:39 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


and to think that graham crackers were originally invented by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham to help prevent masturbation

If this were true they wouldn't leave fucking crumbs everywhere.
posted by srboisvert at 7:40 AM on April 4


Has anyone else bought their crackers yet?
posted by michaelh at 7:40 AM on April 4


Hey, if you're the employee at the advertising firm that created this spot responsible for counting positive brand mentions on social media, and you're reading this post, can you tell us whether metafilter fpps count as a single mention, or do you count each individual comment as well?
posted by tew at 8:03 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Am I the only one who thought they were going to light the negative comments on fire?
posted by desjardins at 8:04 AM on April 4 [15 favorites]


Honey Graham's are a lot more wholesome in the "love" category than in the "trans fat" one!
posted by one_bean at 8:07 AM on April 4


Am I the only one who thought they were going to light the negative comments on fire?

And then roast marshmallows for s'mores.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:10 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

Just a local ad, but there was a Harley dealership where the proprietor made a big deal about saying "Merry Christmas" in their ad, as if he was doing his part in fighting the War on Christmas. Since the War on Christmas is just something conservatives have invented to rile themselves up and not something most people are actually concerned about, there really was no impact. Odd that a ponytailed biker thinks that the best way to be a rebel is to reinforce cultural norms from the '50s though.
posted by LionIndex at 8:12 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Congrats, gays and lesbians! Your social and political movement and attractive demographic has finally drawn the attention of corporate advertisers, who will be falling all over themselves to flatter you and exploit your emotional responses in order to sell you products! You've come a long way, baby!

Are you just now noticing this? I mean, I guess it's new-ish that corporations include teh gays in their ads that not-teh-gays also see, but it's not at all new that gays have been an ad demographic that's been targeted. We've been here a long time already, baby.
posted by rtha at 8:16 AM on April 4


I'm sorry, self, for forgetting not to read YouTube comments ever.
posted by univac at 8:16 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: " I'm in Iowa, where on the one hand gay marriage and parenting are no longer very controversial, but on the other hand a lot of people seem to have made their peace with marriage equality by deciding not to think about it very much. (Polls show that most Iowans say that they don't care about gay marriage either way, don't particularly want it repealed, and don't think it has affected their lives in any way.)"

Iowa: you're doing it right.
posted by chavenet at 8:18 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


This is just long-game foreshadowing for the redemption of Don Draper. Dollars to donuts, AMC paid for the whole thing.
posted by rikschell at 8:26 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Rather than pat Honey Maid on the back, credit should go to the generations of activists who made being gay ok for more of the mainstream to accept.Honey Maid isn't trying to make a social statement or change minds, they're trying to sell crackers. They wouldn't be doing this if they hadn't already calculated that it was "safe" to do so.
posted by univac at 8:27 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


On the masturbation connection, this book is an interesting read for exploring how masturbation exploded from a minor sin rarely mentioned except for humor value and mild admonishment, to a public health menace and patent medicine selling point. A patent-medicine pamphlet titled "Onania" is credited for getting the theory that carnal desire caused disease rolling. Masturbation was one of the early stages of a medical syndrome that included just about every symptom under the sun. Carnal desire was a bit like vertebral subluxation, a catch-all theory that could be diagnosed in almost everyone and used to explain almost everything. Medical models of disease were still under development, so moral models had a great deal of traction.

Graham and Kellog considered rich food part of this syndrome, hence crackers and corn flakes.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:30 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


And this is how corporations — Honey Maid, OK Cupid, Upworthy — can shift the Overton window back to where it belongs.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


What exactly do you do with the crackers, to accomplish this?

I'm reminded of the joke about the Priest who prescribes apples to the newlyweds who've come to him looking for birth control advice. "But, Father, " the young husband asks, "do we eat the apples, uh, before or after?"

"Instead of."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:35 AM on April 4


Given that the first ad is an awful lot like the Coke ad that ran during the superbowl, it would be odd for a competent marketing agency to not have predicted the backlash and have a planned response. (And given the similarities, it wouldn't be odd for them to have done the first in order to have an excuse to run the second ad.)
posted by oddman at 8:35 AM on April 4


> They wouldn't be doing this if they hadn't already calculated that it was "safe" to do so.

... don't be so sure. The "safe" ads are always available - sun-drenched upscale kitchen, photogenic white family, animated bee...

Advertisers often take risks (and often fail). At its very best, advertising can help tip awareness over to acceptance and 'normal'.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:36 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Rather than pat Honey Maid on the back, credit should go to the generations of activists who made being gay ok for more of the mainstream to accept.Honey Maid isn't trying to make a social statement or change minds, they're trying to sell crackers. They wouldn't be doing this if they hadn't already calculated that it was "safe" to do so.

Bleeding-edge of social activism, or GTFO!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:43 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


The only thing that disappoints me is the number of allegedly socially liberal MeFites who characterize the original inclusive ad as "trolling social conservatives". Was it the use of the usual conservative codeword "wholesome"? That seems like very weaksauce (and transfat free).

Considering that getting a 10-1 positive vs. negative feedback (especially on the Internet which skews negative toward everything) is something that would make most marketing professionals feel that no follow-up is really needed, the "responding gently" looks a lot more like trolling, if "trolling gently" is indeed something humanly possible.

BTW, P-B-Z-M, "social activism" is the New Codeword for what used to be called "political correctness", as the Forces of Intolerance have been pushing the Overton Window toward where what WAS politically incorrect is now totally correct. (See "religious tolerance" laws legalizing religious-based discrimination)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:50 AM on April 4


They wouldn't be doing this if they hadn't already calculated that it was "safe" to do so.

I know you don't mean to, but you really make it sound like you're kinda pissed off that those "generations of activists" succeeded in making "gay ok for more of the mainstream to accept." Isn't that what they were trying to do?
posted by yoink at 8:53 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Mondelēz also cut their CEOs pay by 50% last year, and it looks like it was "of principle" rather than "for cause."
posted by ackptui at 8:56 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


....before I realized 'gay dads' and 'are we still noticing mixed colors of families?'

Similar to Theora, I did not notice most of what the first commercial was trying to point out. I don't think that I would have noticed any of it, except that it was pointed out in this post at the very start. But then I look at the images as more reflective of the world around me.

--
I did find the second commercial interesting but cynical me went googling to see if I could find that the company did more than make a commercial (ie, donate $, workplace practices) - couldn't find anything, but that doesn't mean that they don't. While googling, I could see quotes from a few of the hate groups, although I did not click to go into those websites. Anyway, some of the small pieces of the hate group websites had quotes from a few people either claiming how they were going to boycott or not pick up and eat a graham cracker in the name of ethics/stopping evil in the world.

Which makes me go back and look at the commercial.I get the image, but at the end of the day, wouldn't volunteering or donating to a group do more than deciding to buy and eat or not eat a cookie? Pointing the finger of accusation at myself, because I haven't done much volunteering for a very long time. Although it is sad that for me, I didn't have this thought until I watched a commercial.
posted by Wolfster at 9:01 AM on April 4


Medical models of disease were still under development, so moral models had a great deal of traction.

Not much has changed.
posted by rtha at 9:09 AM on April 4


I am so happy that tolerance has advanced to the point that trolling social conservatives and responding gently is a viable advertising model.

I hate to say it, but I'll look at that brand harder the next time I buy graham crackers.


I don't know why you'd want to support a cracker company just because their ad agency noticed the sea change in public opinion.

You can celebrate the national change in opinion without celebrating every marketing hack who notices it.
posted by straight at 9:14 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Straight: it's not the marketing hacks who people are celebrating, it's the CEOs who approve the ads, because that approval is a tacit statement that "as one of the damn business leaders/job creators/etc. which y'all GOP/religious right folk are trying to say are the backbone of the country, I think this is what is important."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


First one to mention Honey Maid's sly upending of the negative associations of the word 'cracker'? Weird...
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:21 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Next Honey Maid should do a heart-warming ad about immigrants eating s'mores for the first time.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:23 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Kirk, crackers are a family food, happy families. Maybe single people eat crackers, we don't know. Frankly, we don't want to know. It's a market we can do without.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:24 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I don't know why you'd want to support a cracker company just because their ad agency noticed the sea change in public opinion.

To counteract bigots calling for graham cracker boycotts.
posted by tommyD at 9:25 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded of urbanwhaleshark's comment on the latest "why was my comment deleted?" Metatalk, in that the mods now have another option for how to dispose of deleted comments.
posted by bibliowench at 9:27 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


This is just long-game foreshadowing for the redemption of Don Draper. Dollars to donuts...

Hey, when Don Draper takes on the baked-goods market, he turns donuts to dollars.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:30 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Inclusion of same-sex relationships and LGBT people in media and marketing shouldn't be a political statement, but it is. So yeah, media and marketing that acknowledges that people like me and my neighbors exist tends to get repeat business from me, as opposed to media and marketing built around the former status quo where whiteness and heterosexuality is assumed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:35 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


but have we ever seen a "trolling social liberals" campaign? Nothing comes to mind.

Pretty much any commercial featuring Axe products, but I'm not sure it's a campaign since it's been going on for years.
posted by FJT at 9:39 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Eventually, the buying power of the masses will win.
posted by double bubble at 9:42 AM on April 4


Rev. Graham would be proud of his invention. I watched this a few times through and nobody was masturbating.

Rule 34 suggests otherwise.
posted by The Bellman at 9:54 AM on April 4


wonder what ole Rev Graham thought of olive oil? Salads must have been deadly dull in that household.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:03 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Need more tossed salads, plz.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:22 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Public Service Announcement: if you don't know what "trypophobia" means (in NolanRyans comment), you do not want to Google image search it. I'm so freaked out, I'm rethinking my position on trigger warnings.

On the plus side, however, I am now completely awake.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:33 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]



posted by Mental Wimp at 10:40 AM on April 4


I have two words for people who'd like to give Honey Maid some cash but aren't big graham cracker fans: Teddy Grahams. They put the "crack" in "crackers." I got some of the new strawberry-banana ones at the groshery sto just now as a completely altrustic show of support.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:12 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


They stopped making the truly superlative Teddy Grahams cereal, but the One Weird Trick Nabisco Doesn't Want You to Know is that you can still just dump a box of chocolate Teddy Grahams into a mixing bowl full of milk and eat the whole thing with a serving spoon.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:38 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


> If this were true they wouldn't leave fucking crumbs everywhere

Wait wait so seeing crumbs makes you want to masturbate or the crumbs are fucking or wait what?
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:54 PM on April 4


Power is power is power.

Money is power because money gets you advertising, thus letting you make more money.

Power can be used for good or for evil.

In this case, it's being used for good. And predictably, liberals are falling all over themselves saying why this is bad or not enough.

GET OVER YOURSELVES

Kraft/Mondelez/Nabisco had the chance to do the classic sunny kitchen white family bullshit.

They chose the better path.

Can we, as a political force, please stop criticizing everyone who doesn't do everything exactly the way we want? They did a good thing. They responded to the negative response to that good thing with an even classier good thing.

What the fuck more do you want from a multi-national and -billion company? Come the fuck on. Let's celebrate the small victories on the way to the big ones, ok?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:01 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


Who are you talking to, fffm? This thread is full of people saying "awwwww," or "I'm cynical but awwwww."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:32 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


It's the "I'm cynical" part that's driving me up the wall.

A good thing happened. Context matters, yes, but ffs just celebrate a victory without complaining what colour the shed is painted, y'know?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:43 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


sfkiddo, trufax. I really liked the ad. But toward the end I was going ZOMG HOLES and had to look away.
posted by Archer25 at 3:28 PM on April 4


classic sunny kitchen white family bullshit

As member of white family (possibly classic) who spends time in sunny kitchens, I take offense at this.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:58 PM on April 4


And I take offence at that being the normative model presented by advertising since the year dot.

Or are you deliberately missing the point?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:07 PM on April 4


Hey, I just watched this and realized the designers are friends of mine from INDO here in Chicago.

Check out their work – they're sharp, awesome women who have been creating beautiful displays for quite awhile now.
posted by suprenant at 9:01 PM on April 4


....it would have been nice to have at least half a second to show one family without children. They DO exist.

So true. But when they want crunchy goodness, they can afford Pepperidge Farm cookies.

*heads off to dip the graham in milk, then slurp off the softened part*

Repeat till crackers are gone, then drink the gucky brown milky stuff with your eyes closed.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:51 PM on April 4


Thing is, graham crackers are meant to kill your sex drive, just like kids. Us kidless couples eat the sexier crackers, like Vinta, Breton, and Veggie Thins.

Gotta not eat them in bed, though. That just kills the sexytime mood.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:40 PM on April 4


Am I the really the first to note the way the design of the piece evokes a honeycomb?
posted by carrienation at 7:41 AM on April 5


I'm disturbed by the few comments implying people people think of Graham crackers as crackers, and not cookies.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:25 AM on April 5


I'm disturbed by the few comments implying people people think of Graham crackers as crackers, and not cookies.

To say nothing of biscuits in the UK.
posted by sonascope at 5:48 PM on April 5


thelonius: What exactly do you do with the crackers, to accomplish this?

Put them in your mouth.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:05 PM on April 5


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