This commercial from BostonPizza.com was brought to my attention by Fooducate. Apparently, the commercial for this Toronto-based restaurant chain has been around since last fall, but this is the first time I’ve seen it. This 30-second spot called “Finger Cooking with Bill” is catchy, but when you really take a look at what’s going on, it’s kind of scary.
What’s so scary about this commercial? What I find disturbing is the message that cooking is not valuable, that family is not valuable, and that men are only good for ordering take-out. Yes, this commercial is from Canada, but it could just as easily be from the United States. Here are the not-so-subtle messages the commercial puts out there:
- Cooking is not worth the time or effort. Eating is important, but actually cooking the food would be a ridiculous waste of time. Why would you do that when you can simply open boxes? Look at the counter behind Bill. See all the take-out boxes neatly piled up? Now look on the counter in front of him. See all the food neatly plated on real plates made to look like home cooking? Bill’s giving the illusion that he’s done work, but the actual work isn’t worth his time.
- Screen time is more important than face time with family. I suppose the kid painting a picture of his father ignoring him (while his father is actually ignoring him) is supposed to be funny, but for me it’s the most disturbing part of the entire commercial. The message here is that family is totally in the way of this guy’s life. Watching TV is more important than cooking a good meal for his family. Watching TV is more important than paying attention to his kid. You just know, if that take-out food actually makes it to the dining table instead of a tray in front of the TV, Bill’s going to have his smartphone out during the entire meal.
- Expecting the entire family to eat the same thing is unreasonable. Oh no! What a dilemma! Everyone wants something different to eat! Then everyone must get what he wants. That’s the only way to raise happy children, right? If they are unhappy, Bill might have to take the time to talk to his children face to face to teach them that you can’t always have everything you want. Spending a ton of money on separate entrees is certainly worth it to keep him from the hassle of raising unselfish children.
- Real men don’t belong in the kitchen. When it’s Bill’s night to cook, he calls the kitchen a “cage.” Cages are unnatural. They keep a creature away from its natural habitat. Take a look at the kitchen in the commercial. Someone must cook in there. There’s a nice cooktop, cookbooks on the shelf, and what looks to be fresh herbs growing on the windowsill. It must be the woman in the house who cooks because “come on, guys” (emphasis on guys — advertisers chose their words very carefully) cooking deserves the finger.
- We are desensitized to “off-color” language. The last words uttered in this commercial are “let’s give cooking the finger.” We’re supposed to laugh at this double entendre. He means using your finger to click the mouse on the computer to order, but what he really means is giving a big ol' “F-U” to the act of taking the time to create a healthy meal from ingredients you trust to nourish the family you love. Come on. Laugh. It’s funny, right? Actually, it’s not funny, because the message in this commercial is dead serious. If you value your family, you can go flip off.
What do you think? Am I taking this too seriously, or is this commercial too telling about society’s attitude towards cooking and family?