Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Processed Lemon Flavor is Dominating the Natural Foods Market Like a Boss

At a certain point, advertising crosses the line from credible and canny to unintentionally preposterous. 

This is one of those times. 

Like the marketing of Carefree Panty Liners as "fierce," or the marketing of Adam Levine's voice as good, the marketing of Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea as featuring "Natural Flavor with Other Natural Flavor" is substantively laughable, in addition to being grammatically redundant.

It's as if Crystal Light conducted a focus group and asked, how can we market our carcinogenic aspartame poison (which I drink all the time, by the way) as a health food? Oh, I know! Let's use the word "natural" twice on the label and stick a picture of an actual lemon with the leaf still on it, notwithstanding the fact that the chemical dust inside the package bears about as much resemblance to a real lemon as my ass cheeks bear to Gisele Bundchen's.

Duncan Hines has also jumped on the same bandwagon, naming their neon-glow, nuclear spill lemon pie filling "Wilderness" and trademarking it with the "Wilderness Promise." They know you'll be compelled to look at the back of the can, because you see this picture and immediately need to know how this toxic-looking Chernobyl sludge could possibly invoke the word "Wilderness" so prominently on the label?

Then you turn the can around, and there's your answer. "The Duncan Hines (tm) Wilderness (tm) Promise" is that this dystopian gelatinous goo is allegedly made from "the finest fruits picked at their peak to deliver homemade taste and quality--that's the promise we bring to you with Duncan Hines (tm) Wilderness (tm) fillings and toppings."

Well, that's quite a stretch, isn't it?

I'm no patent lawyer, but I'm pretty sure you can't legally trademark the words "Wilderness" and/or "Promise," especially when the nexus between this "product"' and either the wilderness or a promise is so tenuous as to border on truly false advertising.

I think it would be more effective to sell Crystal Light Iced Tea as what it is: "Chemical Flavor with Other Chemical Flavor" and Duncan Hines pie filling as what it is: corn syrup, with "The High Fructose Corn Syrup Guarantee."

Is that so hard, or so terrible? I mean, I found both of these products in my own pantry, and I'm not fooled. If anything, these desperate ploys at marketing processed food as natural only draw attention to the fact that consuming them is slowly sending me to an early grave.

These products should just promise "better living through chemistry" and be done with it. It'd be more honest, and you'd gain the trust and respect of customers like me who are more than happy to slowly commit suicide over a period of years with fake sweeteners and Yellow #11.

(Oh, and by the way: If you want to see a "natural" or "wilderness" product that's truly worthy of the name, check out the cool things my friends at Tidal Vision are doing with fishery waste in Alaska. They're upcycling ocean byproducts and turning them into stylish aquatic textiles, and as far as I can tell, there's no gross lemon flavor involved).

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