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Jimmy Dean, Rebel Without a Cause

Jimmy Dean, Rebel Without a Cause

I’m willing to gamble—against more than substantial odds—that the last thing on Jimmy Dean’s mind when he performed as Jim Stark in the1955 film Rebel Without A Cause, (see link below) was sandwich spread.

Yes, you heard right. Sandwich spread.

And if the latest TV advertisement for a well known sandwich spread (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=_70xGUxznYY) is to be believed, their product has come to personify the same rugged teenaged trailblazing rebellion of kids who “will not tone it down”.

Nothing like a little unsubtle, ham-fisted manipulation (pun completely intended) of teenaged minds.

If these ads are to be believed (by anyone, including my 3 year old, which is doubtful), this particular brand of sandwich spread is (by inference) the new culinary drug du jour, the thing that is getting your kids high with its unique-one-of a-kind flavor at the latest cucumber sandwich tea party rave.

Man, you better look out for that mayonnaise substitute! It’s killer! It’s got its own mixed up blend of one-of-a-kind spices.

And if that was all there was to it, we (the parents) would be profoundly grateful.

We’d probably go out and buy a lifetime supply of the creamy, white substance as blithely unaware of the spell we were under as our parents were when they bought endless supplies Amway or Tupperware that stayed in the box and never saw the light of day.

But that’s not the issue.

The issue is an old one: they are trying to get to kids, so they can get to us.  That’s bad enough. But because it is sandwich spread they are selling, this approach has hit an all-time low. It presupposes a deficit in creative thinking on behalf of our children. It patronizes them.

Show me the ad executive who bagged this one.  How did they twist the market demographics—as well as suspend the disbelief of their client—to get this commercial into production?

And here I agree with Danny Gallagher (http://www NULL.tvsquad NULL.com/2009/09/12/the-most-annoying-commercial-of-the-week-miracle-whips-dont/)—neither Darrin (Dick Sargent nor Dick York), during the worst script writing disaster on the set of Bewitched (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Bewitched) would have pitched it to Larry, let alone a client.

The “get the kids to sell to the parents” tactic may work with bicycles and computer games, but not with sandwich spread.

Why? Because with sandwich spread, you are selling to mom. There is no middle-kid.

Kids don’t ask their parents for sandwich spread at Christmas and birthdays. They ask for something memorable.

So people, here’s a news flash: tweens and teens don’t buy the ‘spread’. We do. (And if the ad is selling to university students, I like to think they are already past that age of gullibility.)

Like Frank said, heckling the last TV performance of Don’t Be So Mayo!: “Why don’t they tell us what’s in the stuff? That’s what we really want to know.”

If my children are somehow misled into thinking that the consummate form rebellious self-expression lies in their choice of sandwich spread, I’d be more worried than my folks were the first time they heard Led Zepplin  booming so loudly from my bedroom stereo that it rattled the door handle.

Yes, I rebelled when I was a teen. It is a rite of passage. But when I rebelled, I took the classical approach—protesting against my parents’ rule,  anything that resembled dogmatic institutional authority, or  anyone else dictating how I should behave when they didn’t appear to make sense.

But I didn’t fight back brandishing a sandwich dangerously loaded with a mayonnaise substitute.

And today, I’m a rebel with a different  cause.

I will not be quiet.

I refuse to be cajoled by commercial ads that fail to appeal to the most basic, ambient form of human intelligence and afford us (at any age) an opportunity to use our common sense.

And I will not tone it down.

Notes for this blog:

Ref: Rebel Without A Cause (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Rebel_Without_a_Cause)

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