Unethical TV Ad Of The Month: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats

I would call this ad “brain dead,” but that would, perhaps, be in bad taste.  Still, the wilful disregard by the NFL and its sponsors—and the public, of course—of the increasingly undeniable evidence that football kills brains is an ethics black hole.

Did Kellogg’s not read this (and similar reports)…?

From the New York Times:

Athletes who began playing tackle football before the age of 12 had more behavioral and cognitive problems later in life than those who started playing after they turned 12, a new study released on Tuesday showed. The findings, from a long-term study conducted by researchers at Boston University, are likely to add to the debate over when, or even if, children should be allowed to begin playing tackle football.

The results of the study by researchers at Boston University, published in the journal Nature’s Translational Psychiatry, was based on a sample of 214 former players, with an average age of 51. Of those, 43 played through high school, 103 played through college and the remaining 68 played in the N.F.L.

In phone interviews and online surveys, the researchers found that players in all three groups who participated in youth football before the age of 12 had a twofold “risk of problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive function” and a threefold risk of “clinically elevated depression scores.”

Oh, never mind, spoilsports!  This NFL play-off time! De-FENCE! De-FENCE! Let’s give support to those irresponsible parents who send their kids out to scramble their gray matter and get that CTE started! Let’s encourage those potential NFL dementia victims with a heart warming vignette about a Dad urging his young son to “Give it your best!’ prompting the lad to run roaring into combat, perhaps even to cripple someone else.

Is this Kellogg’s reasoning? Apparently so.

Brain dead. Also dead ethics alarms.

13 thoughts on “Unethical TV Ad Of The Month: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats

  1. I won’t even allow football to be streamed in my house, for fear my one-year-old will begin to think it’s cool.

    WTF is wrong with people?

  2. I am a very fortunate grandfather. My middle son, a Saints fan, has encouraged both of my grandsons to play football. You might ask “Why is this fortunate?”. Well, because both of them suck. Neither of them will play college ball nor will either of them go on to the NFL. I only hope that the youngest of the two stays at a Jr. Varsity level (he’s 16) until he graduates.

  3. I’m just bemused at the ad itself. Being particularly skilled with deconstruction mindset, I instinctively pick apart all the implied associations in advertisements. What perplexes me is why they would work on anyone. This ad raises several questions for me:

    What does a sugary treat with negligible nutritional content have to do with playing sports?
    Who is actually going to write messages for their kid on the wrappers, which are probably going to get smudged? Why not use a piece of paper instead?
    Why the heck did that kid put a half-eaten treat back in his locker without wrapping it in plastic first? Isn’t it going to get stale and dusty?
    Why is a young, small kid enrolled in a violent sport, especially if he is less than enthusiastic about it? It seems like the father is pressuring him for some reason.
    Where does he think he’s going before he finishes fastening his inadequate safety gear?
    Great Scott, what are those hideous creatures at the end?! Why haven’t people realized that 3D animation isn’t inherently superior to 2D? If you can’t make 3D look good, stick to 2D!

    • Your excellent analysis omitted the horrific image of the kid’s father in his locker, with his head severed from his body, residing and speaking from the upper compartment. What was that supposed to mean? i assume it was supposed to be humorous. I have a pretty black sense of humor, and it creeped ne right out.

      • No, his whole body is in there. They took out the top shelf, but for some reason left a bar in front of his neck. He makes a cutesy “heart” gesture with his hands. The kid was imagining his father actually speaking the words he wrote, trying out various tones.

        In retrospect, I’m hoping that maybe the kid actually wanted to play football, and is just discouraged because he’s not as good as he thought he’d be. In that case, the father would be ignorant of safety concerns, but at least not actively pressuring his kid into violent sports.

  4. I’ve read some of the reports and watched the movie concussion. I tell other parents that if you watched concussion while your son was at football pracice, you would get into your car, drive to the field, and pull him off. I’ve had more than one tell me that’s why they won’t watch it. Ignorance is bliss i suppose.

    It is strange that Kellogg probably paid some marketing firm a lot of money for that ad.

    • I find it amazing that the ad wasn’t stopped well before airing. It’s like movies such as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or the Ben Hur remake. How could anyone fail to see what was wrong?

  5. The Rice Krispy Treats in packages are also disgusting. I always thought tackle football was beastly, and I grew up in TX. I can’t watch it, especially since Concussion (which just gave proof to suspicions!). THAT particular kid has no business on a tackle football field even as a kicker! ALL the kids running by are about 100 pounds heavier than he is! And the dad in the locker is just WEIRD. The whole team writing/selling/shooting that ad was smoking stuff.
    Now flag/touch football is FUN.I loved playing it in college, especially when our dorm team would beat the sorority girls… (bias alert!)

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