Saturday, October 3, 2009

Because they're here, and they're hungry.

Here's an interesting ad put out by the Hungry Pests Coalition, a "coalition of individuals and organizations that understand the threat of invasive pests to our ecosystems, quality of life, food supply and economic system."

Some members of the Hungry Pests Coalition include:
  • Agricultural Council of California
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship
Go here for a full list of members. (Incidentally, the Hungry Pests website is a USDA sponsored website.)

The ad, either purposefully or not, really plays to the romanticized stereotype of rural America as so picturesque and unadulterated in order to draw support for its cause. The commercial shows a little girl in pigtails and a yellow sundress happily skipping through an orange orchard and a tomato field before finally coming to an overhang where she can look out to see vast, majestic farmlands. With imagery of such peacefulness and innocence, the commercial really pushes the idea that such a place is certainly worth saving and this campaign is, therefore, certainly worth supporting. As the little girl skips through the commercial, an orange and a tomato fall to the ground and instantly shrivel up and disintegrate. At the end, the little girl herself disintegrates into a swarm of insects - omens of what is to become of this beautiful land and its innocence if the Hungry Pests Coalition does not succeed. There is also some kind of eerie, creepy (at least I think so) toy box + child's singing music in the background... another suggestion at the innocence gone wrong theme?

The website also has some other variations of this commercial - essentially the same commercial (little girl skipping through a field), but with different fruit.

Now, I'm not saying that the campaign isn't worth supporting or that rural areas aren't worth "saving" - but the ad campaign doees seem to be exploiting a stereotype about rural areas.

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