Commercial Break: Again with Breakfast and Blue Jeans   1 comment

Broadcast: 18 September 2012
Program: Mythbusters
Channel: Discovery
Conglomerate: Discovery Communications

Advertiser: Cheerios
Owned By: General Mills
Pitch: Eat our cereal and you can steal clothing from your children.

Back in 2006, Christopher Nolan’s vastly underrated The Prestige (a 60% from “Top Critics” on Rotten Tomatoes?  Fuck that noise) told the world all about the three parts of a magic trick.  I’ll let Michael Caine explain:

Every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts.  The first part is called the Pledge.  The magician shows you something ordinary, a deck of cards, a bird, or a man.  He shows you this object, perhaps he asks you to inspect it, to see that it is indeed real, and ordinary, normal.  But, of course, it probably isn’t.

The second act is called the Turn.  The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary.  Now you’re looking for the secret, but you won’t find it.  Because, of course, you’re not really looking.  You don’t really want to know.  You want to be fooled.

But you wouldn’t clap yet, because making something disappear isn’t enough.  You have to bring it back.  That’s why every magic trick has a third act.  The hardest part, the part we call the Prestige. 

This commercial for Cheerios operates on a similar premise, and its underlying motives are every bit as dishonest and pecuniary as a magic trick.  Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as entertaining as the movie where Batman gets charged with Wolverine’s murder.  First, we have the Pledge:

Blue Jeans - The Pledge

Please look closely at this ordinary woman and these ordinary pants.

The nondescript woman wonders if these pants will fit her, then slips them on and easily zips and buttons them with no trouble whatsoever.  Now, comes the Turn:

Blue Jeans - The Turn

The ordinary becomes extraordinary.  (And note the clear podium so we can still see the jeans.)

Zipping and buttoning the pants transports her to a magical awards ceremony where she thanks Multi-Grain Cheerios for letting her perform this astounding feat.  But this isn’t enough.  You wouldn’t buy the cereal yet.  Not just because some lady got her jeans on.  That’s when her daughter interrupts her fantasy, and we get the Prestige:

Blue Jeans - The Prestige

She didn’t fit into her jeans, she fit into her daughter’s jeans!  Thanks Cheerios!

It wasn’t just a woman fitting into some pants she’d outgrown, it was a woman fitting into pants designed for people decades younger than her.  Abracadabra!

At this point a peppy female narrator comes on to tell us:

People who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don’t.

This is, at best, a very long stretch.  It’s true that official nutritional guidelines recommend whole grains over “refined” grains.  It’s also true that people who strictly adhere to nutritional guidelines tend to be in better shape than those who don’t.  And it’s even true that “better shape” often, though by no means always, means weighing less.  What isn’t true is that any of those follow from one to the other. 

Whole grains don’t make you lose weight any more than any other kind, and these particular Cheerios won’t aide your diet more than other Cheerios or, horror of horrors, foods not made by General Mills.  The Pledge is weight loss, but hidden in the Turn is the fact that no part of this trick has anything to do with it.  The question is whether or not you’re really looking, or if you want to be fooled. 

Posted September 21, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

One response to “Commercial Break: Again with Breakfast and Blue Jeans

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  1. In school they made us watch a video about the dangers of meth in which this woman who’d started taking meth bragged about how she lost so much weight that she could wear her kids’ clothes. To me, that is the only situation where it makes sense to see a grown woman think the standard of “can I wear my kids’ clothes?” is a logical measure of her worth.

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