Thursday, February 11, 2016

About that Doritos commercial...

Yes, I'm late talking about this one. But it didn't seem appropriate to be writing about chips on Ash Wednesday, and I have a feeling this may get a bit snarky...

So, you all know by now about that Doritos (tm) commercial, the one showing an about-to-be born baby in utero being all fascinated by the snack his dad is holding. The ad was one of a few finalists in Doritos' annual "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, in which ordinary people, fans of the product, submit ad ideas and then get a chance to make the actual commercial. (This year's grand prize winner was actually the "Doritos Dogs" commercial, not the "Ultrasound" one.)

The ultrasound commercial ended up being at the center of controversy. On the one hand, the reality-challenged folks at NARAL decried the commercial for "humanizing" the "fetus" (who is in fact a real human and who is presently a nine-month-old boy named Freddy); on the other, pro-life Americans decided that for the moment Doritos (tm) are the official chip of the pro-life movement, at least until the corporate giant does something that angers us again.

Teapots and tempests, certainly, but here's the shocking part: I actually liked that ad.

The cool kids at Aleteia and on Facebook and elsewhere can snicker into their sleeves at my naiveté, if they want. But it was sort of nice to see an ad where a human fetus is not only not a disposable blob of tissue, but is actually a person, capable of needs and desires. Sure, it's exaggeration--the humorous kind, also called hyperbole--to imagine an unborn child wanting a mass-produced snack item. But having had the experience myself of holding a sweet little baby only five months older than that unborn child in the ad on my lap at a party, and having said five-month-old suddenly dive-bomb a mini-eclair I was holding, and then perform the acrobatic feat of consuming as much of it as possible before I could remove it while simultaneously shooting me a dirty look that said, plain as day, "You've been hiding the Good Stuff!"--well, it's not all that far off the mark.

What's even nicer is that enough people in America voted for this fan-produced (note: not cynical corporate giant-produced) commercial for it to end up one of the three finalists in the contest. NARAL and their ilk would like to believe that most of America shares their shuddering horror at the mere thought of an unborn child in utero, but clearly that's not the case. Quite a lot of us actually like human children, even the unborn ones, and are ready to chuckle at a humorous ad like this one without worrying that someone, somewhere, might humanize a fetus and then next thing you know she might decide against offing her unborn offspring via abortion (horrors!).

So, no, this was not some watershed moment in the pro-life movement--except that I can't really imagine a similar commercial being made by a fan and then actually making it to the finals in a contest like this one back twenty years ago, when people like Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright had more than mere delusions of relevance. But it was, at least to me, a bit of good fun, and probably the first time in history that an adorable baby boy had his acting debut while still in utero. What's not to like about that?

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

What amused me most is that my boy expressed strong feeding preferences when he was two days old. No way did his temperament just develop in those two days! He came out with an agenda, and stronger preferences than either of his parents have to this day.

Carrie said...

Loved your perspective. Thanks for this post.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I didn't know ANYTHING about "that commercial" until I read Erin's post here. But then, I don't watch the Super Bowl, in fact, I don't watch any broadcast TV, although I may get around to buying an antenna at a rummage sale this summer so I can watch the election returns in November.

I will wholeheartedly join in the hearty laughter at the notion that anyone could take a darn commercial seriously enough to paper their respective values all over it with stern implications and imprecations. It reminds me of the sociologists who took time out of their busy research schedules to comment ominously on the Dannon Yogurt commercial that had dialog from three or four ladies of evidently different racial categories all enjoying their yogurt and exchanging analogies about how good it was. Apparently this was a Very Bad Thing because in real life people never mix like that, at least not while enjoying some yogurt in the sun.

Lighten up people, its a commercial, and of course, contains an element of fantasy, since we all know that nobody around that approximate age knows words like Doritos. (I won't even ask if the fetus displayed was past 20 weeks gestation, because... its a commercial for Doritos, for God's sake.) Anyway, I never buy Doritos, no matter how clever their commercials... I buy my chips at Aldi's.

Melissa Sparks said...

The ultrasound is so Hilarious and like others also I wanted more after baby comes out.

Harvy Yee said...

I love how you see things clearly. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Courtney Sia said...

Speaking of Doritos Commercial, I love the Ultrasound version. It makes me laugh just imagining it.