I keep thinking about a comment our speaker (Tonise Paul, President and CEO of BBDO Chicago) made last week regarding the 30 second TV spot. After a man in our class asked Tonise about how to keep media fresh in people’s minds and that he felt that TV and more traditional forms of media were dead, Tonise responded with an informative piece about the use of traditional media. She told us that the 30 second TV spot is not dead, in fact it is still very powerful. It is all about how we use certain forms of traditional media; the message we send to our audience; most importantly if we are able to make a significant connection with them.

I was thinking about this message and the impact that television ads still have on their target audience. Lately, there has been a commercial that has really bothered me and I feel that there are ethical issues surrounding its message. Chef Boyardee has currently been running a series of TV spots that claim that their ravioli has a full serving of vegetables, which is fine and good, until they say “but don’t tell your kids that.” Another commercial shows a young girl on a time out for almost telling her other friends that there are vegetables in their food, and was then punished by the surrounding parents for her attempt.

If the TV spot is still so powerful, then why is this major food company trying to tell not only adults but the children that see their ads that vegetables are something that should be hidden away or something to fear and that children are not able to learn what is beneficial to their health. The United States has been facing a health crisis related to poor dietary and activity choices for several years with no real positive light at the end of the tunnel. Having food companies encourage parents to not educated or feed their children vegetables (because no kids like them?) is completely irresponsible.

V8 Fruit Fusion is also a company who makes claims that their product offers a whole serving of vegetables, but that the taste is covered up by fruit flavors that are also in their product. I know this does not have a lot to do with emerging media, but it does present a valid ethical dilemma that some advertising agencies may have to deal with in the future. 

Where has the line been drawn between making a profit and what is over all the best message to send to your current or potential consumers?  Further will ethical concerns for the target audience actually yield long term benefits for your customer?

 


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