When I was in New York, I saw a very large billboard that took up (and I kid you not) the entire side of a building. A huge building. And what did it feature? Darfur? The 2008 presidential election? An expensive car, even? It was breakfast cereal. Specifically the breakfast cereal that (coincidentally?) shares its name with a date-rape drug.
Yay Special K!
The copy read “Swimsuit Season starts May 21st!” with a picture of a woman squaring off with a red bikini. In between the gladiator and the lion (which is which?) screamed “You Vs. The Swimsuit!”
In a move that I can only imagine was accompanied by the sound of a thousand marketing hands smacking foreheads, Special K does not have the ad on their site. So I cannot show you a picture of the offending ad although if you read any women’s mags, you’ve probably seen it already.
I did find the accompanying ad on their site:
It faces the bikini ad. Anyone else find irony in an ad that says “design your victory plan” in the era of the everyone-loses Iraq war? Not to get all political up in here but if we put half the money we spend on diet pills towards aiding refugees, we could make all the displaced-persons camps look like 4-star hotels.
But it’s not just the frivolity of the campaign that bothers me. It’s the implied urgency. Bikini season starts MAY 21 PEOPLE! Rev up the crash diets. Get that lipo-dissolve. Unlock all that self loathing. And for heaven’s sake, replace two entire meals of the day with processed, boxed, “diet” cereal! Of course you’ll lose inches off your waist. A bowl of Special K has 160 calories WITH the milk. Not exactly a well-balanced meal.
Plus, the third ingredient is sugar. The fourth ingredient? High fructose corn syrup. Suh-weet! 22 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram of fiber. So when your blood sugar crashes and you feel like crap, at least you can blame it on the bikini.
PS> Please don’t e-mail me saying “Special K’s not so bad – Cap’n Crunch is way worse for you!” Of course there are worse cereals than Special K. But nobody holds up a crunchberry bikini and tells you to replace 2/3 of your daily sustenance with the Cap’n just so you can fit into it by their arbitrary deadline.