Kraft, welcome to my Shit List

Kraft’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese has won itself a special place on my shit list for a commercial I saw recently.   The end of the commercial featured two female angels.   One commented that some third female angel looked great lately.   The other explained that the angel in question had had a “wing tuck”, which “sucks it all in” (pulling in her abdomen to demonstrate).   Then she commented brightly , “Not a bad idea” as she scarfed down another wad of fat-laden cream cheese.

I’m not sure where to start here, but I’ll make my first charge: presenting two perfectly slim and healthy-looking women considering plastic surgery.   Second charge: presenting unecessary cosmetic surgery as “not a bad idea” for women.   Third: presenting unecessary cosmetic surgery as a viable alternative to, you know, eating healthy foods instead of Kraft’s unhealthy, processed shit which is right up there with McDonald’s in terms of quality.   Third charge:   Fourth charge: effective calling their customer base fat cows.   At least that’s how I took it.

But let’s let Kraft speak for themselves [page since removed]:

Philadelphia has been a regular on TV screens in the UK since 1963, when the first ads appeared featuring Dora Bryan – a popular actress of the time and one of stars of the ‘Carry On’ films.

This was followed by the ‘Two Secretaries’ campaign, which ran from 1987 through to 1999, and proved to be one of the most memorable and well-loved TV campaigns of its time, with the scripts constantly changing to follow the fortunes of the dizzy pair.

Philadelphia went to heaven in 1999 with a new series of ads depicting the light and heavenly taste of the product. These ads featured Caroline Quentin who had starred in the hugely successful sit-com, “˜Men Behaving Badly’, and a new advertising slogan and trade mark were   introduced -“˜A little taste of Heaven’.

More recently, the heaven theme has continued to evolve.   Two sassy and street-wise angels – Danni and Bev – were introduced in 2002 to reflect the modern young women of the 21st century.

2005 sees the campaign moving into new territory with new angels and a host of heavenly new serving suggestions.   These ads highlight how easy it is to cook with Philly and feature recipes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water!

With the launch of new Philadelphia Splendips comes a new TV advert, which features two of our Philly angels driving along a heavenly highway.   The advert highlights the innocently virtuous nature of this tasty new all-in-one Splendips dipping snack which achieves the perfect balance; tasty and satisfying with  less than 200 calories and 7g fat.

I already don’t eat any Kraft “food” products because they’re not food. They are cheap filler ingredients augmented with minimal quality (and quality) of actual food product.   They and other companies like them are part of why Americans are experiencing record levels of diabetes and obesity.   Even when they remove some calories and fat (which are   replaced by crap like sugar and other fillers), there is no nutritional value there whatsoever.   There are plenty of higher quality alternatives available.

And now Kraft has the nerve to suggest that cosmetic surgery provides a way for you to eat their post-industrial waste and still appear healthy, no matter what’s rotting away under your surface.


  1. scarlett says

    I think Kraft used to be an Australian company, it mostly sells highly-processed cheese products like philly chees and those seingle-serve tubes of cheddar and speads like penut butter and vegimite. I never understood why people would want to eat philly cheese – it taste like processed. When I need cream cheese in a recipie, I’ve found I can usually replace it with cream AND cheese.

    This article makes me think of one Beta did a few weeks ago about the crappiness of Guess jeans/their ad campaign – basically, that the crappier a product, the more style/hype they have to inject into their ads because ‘we have a good product’ isn’t going to cut it.

    One of these days I’m going to write a piece about Target.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    Actually, you may have something there. The exact point I made about Guess? was that evidently bigotry goes hand-in-hand with making crap, since Guess? products were of good quality years ago when they did ads that were racy, but not sexist. According to the Kraft website, their ads going back to the 60’s have been about “dizzy” secretaries or angels pining for plastic surgery. Their product has always been crap, so they’re marketing like Guess.

    Let’s go out on a limb and assume this is deliberate, just for the sake of brainstorming. Could it be that bad products don’t sell to smart women, so you market them toward insecure women? And the way to do that is to have ads that feature women sharing men or women worring about getting cosmetic surgery? Maybe they don’t even want smart women sniffing around the product and possibly reporting the truth to friends. Insecure women aren’t as likely to badmouth a Name Brand, because they don’t feel entitled to make observations about quality.

  3. scarlett says

    I did my piece on Target (it’s timestamped and working its way through all my other timestamped stuff :p). I won’t give much away but basically as I was writing it occured to me that they have such basic ads ‘here is our product and here is what it costs’ and very high QC. And my confident women friends proudly wear Target, but the ones who don’t have much confidence will justify how more brand-name products are better quality.
    I’m sure there’s a link there and if I were majoring in advertising instead of jourbalism I’d take it up. Maybe that women with crappy self-esteem gravitate towards ads which promote cosmetic surgery and make-up as a means of covering up the symptoms of a crappy lifestyle.


  1. […] I find myself wondering if it’s any coincidence – the overall amazing quality of the show and its overall amazing equality of its representation of women as people. We’ve noted in the past that sexist ads tend to be for crap products, and theorized that this might happen because discriminating customers neither buy crap nor see women as lesser beings, and so the ads are meant to repel choosy people who might complain about poor quality. This seems even more apparent in TV. […]

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