Smart Balance “Disguise”

This spot for Smart Balance fat-free milk has bad news about 2 percent milk. Or maybe it’s good news about French fries. Created by Baltimore-based Trahan, Burden & Charles Advertising, it denounces 2 percent milk as “an imposter” — a point underscored by the fact that containers of it are shown wearing Groucho masks. (It’s worth clicking on the commercial just to see this spectacle.) While you may think 2 percent is low in saturated fat, the voiceover is here to tell you that one glass of it “has 20 percent more saturated fat than a small order of French fries.” No doubt many viewers will take the intended point that they should switch to Smart Balance, which “tastes rich and creamy like 2 percent, without the saturated fat.” Others of us will go and treat ourselves to an order of fries, having inferred from the voiceover that they must not be nearly as bad for us as we’d always supposed. Actually, any such reaction will be a guy thing. Curlicue typography (delivering key product points) gives the sales pitch a distinctly feminine tone. And for many women, the most vivid aspect of the spot will be the beautiful kitchens it displays. If women come away feeling that people who drink Smart Balance have an above-average propensity to inhabit such splendid rooms, they’ll be primed to buy a gallon next time they’re at the store. –Mark Dolliver