Kraft, where do you get off?

Nicole Aikens

A question of the day was posed in the newsroom: “Why do Jell-o pudding cups say ‘Frown is a four-letter word?’”

Maybe saying something is a four-letter word implies it is profanity, and frowning is just as bad as, say, cussing. Maybe. But after some Google-ing, no one could settle on an answer.

So I gave Kraft Foods Inc. a phone call, and I’m frowning at the answer.

Ivan answered the phone, and he seemed happy enough to get to the bottom of my question. After being on hold for a minute or two, this is what Ivan had come up with: It’s a marketing ploy.

That’s it. There’s no rhyme or reason, just marketing.

I even made Ivan clarify. I said, “So, what you’re telling me is there’s no reason that the pudding cups say ‘Frown is a four-letter word,’ it’s just marketing?”

Ivan, much to my dismay, said “Yes.”

Oreo, another Kraft product, uses the same type of marketing. Have you ever noticed the Oreos are Double Stuf? Yeah, that’s s-t-u-f. Stuf. No reason for that one either, it’s just because.

Now, maybe we just expect our nation’s children to be smart enough to understand that Kraft’s just having a little fun with its graphics. Maybe we expect the kids to know it’s all just supposed to be appreciated then shrugged off and dunked in a glass of milk.

But I don’t think it is such a huge leap to think all of this marketing could cause a problem for little Johnny or Jane when they get to second grade, and they have to write about what they did over summer vacation. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say the teacher might find some little boy or girl did a lot of fun “stuf.” Way to go, Oreo.

All I wanted was an awesome reason why frown was a four-letter word.

Then to make matters worse, to rub salt in the proverbial wound, Ivan went ahead and tried to sign me up for a mailing list. No thank you, Ivan, you already disappointed me enough. I don’t need any e-mails clogging up my inbox. If that wasn’t bad enough, he asked me if I wanted to pay for a food publication; he didn’t specify which one that is currently selling for a special price. Absolutely not, Ivan. Geez.

OK, Kraft, you got me. I wasn’t keen on your shenanigans, and you conned me into calling so you could try to get me to sign up for this and that. Good for you.

But you know what else is a four-letter word, Kraft? Shit. And that’s what I think of your marketing strategies.

Nicole Aikens is a sophomore magazine journalism major who hates Double Stuf Oreos and is a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].