Friday, May 30, 2008

Why the sudden Cheetos uproar?


So, I'm amazed at what appears to be a sudden uproar concerning the Cheetos campaign. (If that sentence isn't proof enough that I have no life, than I don't know what else I can tell ya.) It all started on Monday morning, when Bob Garfield's column in Ad Age ran under the headline, "Cheetos Ads That Promote 'Random Acts' Are Irresponsible." Whew! Garfield compares the campaign's premise of encouraging youth to commit random acts to "stick it to the man" as stealing marketing tactics from the drug trade. Don't need to tell you how many stars he gave the campaign, but let's just say that Cheetos' agency, Goodby, Silverstein + Partners, may have never seen this treatment before. Then, yesterday, someone at AOL Living picked up the story, which now has 239 comments. Here's the amazing thing: this campaign has been out for months now, so where was the initial outrage? Seems to me that if a thing can sit around for months without anyone expressing outrage, than it's a trumped up controversy—although, yeah, not the best ad idea ever.

3 comments:

Jeromy Lloyd said...

I'm not sure the controversy is as "trumped up" as you say. It could just be that it failed to register on Garfield's radar (or anyone else's).

That said, the comments under that story are pretty entertaining. For my two cents, I think "kids" don't need excuses to act like jerks. Sure, some may be inspired by these ads, but they'll just as soon take inspiration from books, TV, songs, friends, imagination... thin air...

Catharine P. Taylor said...

well, my point is that how come it hasn't been on anyone's radar screen before this week? The campaign has been out there for at least three months and not all controversies are waiting for Bob Garfield to show up and get them started.

Bob Garfield said...

Truth be told, I thought the campaign was newer than that. As to your point about the previous lack of fuss about it, well, what's at stake is an ethical question, not a practical one. It's either right for a marketer to encourage -- or, let's say, normalize -- vandalism or wrong.

Also, much as I'd like to take credit for bringing this foolishness to the attention of the American people, I don't think one thread on AOL quite constitutes an uproar.

(By the way, if you really wish to be disheartened, read those comments. I know that exactly half of the population is dumber than average, but how do those people dress themselves in the morning? The inability of the majority of the commenters to accomplish basic reasoning is truly eye-opening. )