Advertising can be an annoying, all-intrusive, manipulative way to hock a bunch of crap we don’t need, or it can be an entertaining and necessary cog in the wheel of any business. The most effective ads are the most honest ones (which are also the least greasy). After all, an ad that is lying might get a customer in the door the first time, but when they see a difference between what they were promised and what’s actually being delivered, the brand is tainted and has lost a long-term customer.
The recent commercial for Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed (a product of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company), is the kind of total horseshit that makes me want to stand on my couch and hurl things at the television.
Check out the commercial:
“We’re foodies!” exclaims the couple in the commercial. “We love to eat, we just didn’t know that our plants did too.” Aside from the fact that you don’t need to be a foodie to know that plants need nutrients, it’s apparent that this commercial is using its own special brand of smelly fertilizer to sell LiquaFeed. (That’s right, I’m calling their ideas poo. Because I’m really mature.)
First, some quick context — a ‘foodie’ is a person who has an interest in food (duh), but there are connotations that go along with that. A foodie treats the culinary arts like a hobby, seeking new experiences and learning about food and drink; from the specifics of preparation itself to related topics like farming, distribution, and food science. They’re in the know.
Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed calls itself, “the easiest way to feed and water your garden all at the same time,” and claims to grow your plants (including vegetables) twice as big in size. The commercial shows us big red vines of lovely tomatoes to illustrate that with Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed, “anyone can have a second helping.”
Here’s the problem for me — the commercial is manipulatively piggybacking on the fact that people understand that a foodie takes pride in what ingredients they use. However, no proper foodie would use a product like this. ‘Real Food’ is what foodies and chefs are after, using fresh ingredients that have been produced as naturally as possible. From pesticide free fruits and vegetables to hormone free meat, the Real Food ethos doesn’t allow for chemical shortcuts. If you can’t pronounce it, you don’t eat it.
Miracle-Gro has a hell of a track record; from 2005 to 2008, they sold birdseed coated with pesticides banned by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] that were known to be fatal to birds and fish. Experts that worked for the company tried to warn them in 2007, yet they continued to sell it. They even falsified pesticide registration numbers, which are required by the EPA. They’re a hair off being hand wringing maniacs with Snidely Whiplash moustaches — and we’re supposed to pour their product all over stuff we’re putting in our bodies?
Tonight’s Menu: Delicious, handmade pasta, like your Italian grandmother would make, lovingly topped with a beautifully toxic mutant tomato sauce, with aubergine that has been grown with only the best poisons and cancer-causing agents.
Eventually, Scotts got their hands caught in the birdfeeder, and a Federal court sentenced them for 11 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]. They were fined millions of dollars and had to perform community service, for what the Justice Department called the largest criminal and civil settlement of the FIFRA in history. And it’s not the only time they’ve run afoul of the EPA for making false or misleading claims or lacking the required safety instructions.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m qualified to say what is or isn’t in LiquaFeed. But what I can tell you is that Miracle-Gro products aren’t the only things reaching unsafe EPA levels — so is my bullshit meter. It always goes off when I see a commercial that is being wildly dishonest. Contrary to what the commercial is peddling, you’re not going to find LiquaFeed in any foodie’s garden arsenal.
The average person is being spoon-fed the idea that LiquaFeed is a product that those ‘foodies’ would use. “Mildred, you just know if those snobby those foodies are using it, it must be all natural!” This also begs the question of how bad the strategy really is — don’t most ‘regular’ people dislike foodies anyway? It’s as derogatory a term as ‘hipster’ in normie circles these days. So why would the average person want to live like a group they think are know-it-all, food shot Instagramning pricks? Who is this commercial for?
It’s not only dishonest advertising, but bad strategy, which I guess I can take some solace in. Hopefully, the only people dumb enough to buy this product to put on their veggies are those perverted tomato squeezers that are court ordered to stay 100 feet from gardens. “Oh Gawd,” he says, rubbing his nipples, “dat’s a plump one. Let me git my hands around dat big fat tomato and I’ll squeeze it gooooood!” And so forth.
Isn’t it time to go water your tomatoes?