November 27, 2008

Eat spuds (bring toothpaste)

There was some research published recently that claimed 40% of young adults do not know how to cook a jacket potato. Considering that all you do is wash it and shove it in an oven, one’s Daily Mail Reflex is to assume that youngsters are just too stupid. I think it’s more plausible that nobody’s actually bothered to show them.
My 10 year-old didn’t know how to drive a car, but, after seeing a particularly harrowing episode of Dora the Explorer, he was so worried about how he’d survive a zombie apocalypse that I let him loose in our Hummer in Sainsbury’s carpark, as well as revealing that a brain shot is the only way to kill the undead. He also knows how to cook a potato. You see? Showing and doing is the only way to teach.
Presumably the same 40% of potatophobes won’t be buying anything from McCain’s spud range because they’d have the added burden of opening the bag. Health & Safety rules would forbid the formal teaching of scissor-use but, again, one’s Daily Mail Reflex leads one to assume that the aforementioned youths would just use a flick knife.
But seriously, I’ve long been intrigued by this brand. It really is a case of great advertising, shame about the product. Agency BMB have fun with the food porn genre in a way that trumps M&S. The recent Media Guardian piece about the campaign sums up my thoughts too: the ads work because, dammit, you know they’re bad for you but the copy makes you really want it.
The problem is that having tried the product, it’s fucking awful. The whole goose fat thing (no doubt inspired by Nigella) leaves one’s teeth coated in a residue that’s ickier than a waitress’s forehead at a bukkake party. Still, it’s the ingredient that would draw the shopper away from the infinitely cheaper raw loose spuds and onto the dinnerplate equivalent of a deep fried Mars bar.
It’ll be interesting to see how brands like McCain survive the recession. After all, lighter purses are the greatest spur to changing consumer behaviour. That 40% who can’t bake a spud? They’ll learn, because they have to.

See also:
M&S dish up drool-worthy dinners
At last, REAL food porn
Sweet and creamy


Nick said...

"You almost can't believe what you're reading", says the Guardian piece. Damn right I can't - how on earth do (presumably costly) ads like this make it all the way to public view without even one person saying "are you sure there should really be an apostrophe in 'it's'"?

Given that and the whole apparent soggy-biscuit nature of the product, I'll probably pass.

DIno said...

I saw this 'food porn' on the wrap of the Metro paper, 4 sheets of ad's just on the front and inside cover. I watched sat on the bus as people picked them up and started to read. The majority started then realised it wasn't the news so quickly flipped. Not sure how effective these are but it's funny to watch!