Sunday, July 24, 2011

People Food

The 50th birthday of Charlie the Tuna got me thinking about the anthropomorphism of food in advertising.  This was particularly popular in the 50s and 60s...

...but it still goes on today.
So why do we like our food to look human?  Well, our food becomes a part of us, and therefore human.  Perhaps such anthropomorphism suggests that the food is already on the way to humanness, so will require less digestive work, or that it is suitable for humans--it is people food.
Eating anthropomorphic food is also a socially acceptable form of cannibalism, an ancient practice fallen out of favor in recent times.
My favorite explanation is that human-like food suggests that we will attain the qualities or states suggested by the food's form.  We shall become distinguished and gentlemanly like Mr. Peanut, as beautiful and sultry as Chiquita Banana, or as happily energetic as Kool-Aid Man. (How do they know it's male?)
I invite my readers to put forth their own theories.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Okay -- I don't have a theory, but the stupidest at the moment are the Frosted Mini Wheats. How do they defy digestion (and certain death) to help all those little ones learn?