Deceptively Delicious


Bogusky treats this inconvenience with, at best, selective disclosure. He mentions up front that "I have worked on campaigns for dozens of clients," and includes Burger King at the end of a long list. "Yes, Burger King," he writes. "Fast food. I still love it and eat it. This 'diet' will work with any food because it's not about what. It's about how much."

That's the last we hear about BK, though Bogusky does talk about other clients later on. There's a funny story about Ikea when it first came to the U.S. and had trouble "keeping one particular vase stocked. Some people were buying four, six, even eight at a time." Turns out that we gigantors, raised on Big Gulps and movie-theater Cokes, thought that a vase was a normal-size glass to drink soda.

What is unfair is that the book illustrates examples of fast-food supersizing mostly with photos from the McDonald's menu. And those pictograms are what will get picked up in the press (as already happened in People magazine), not the couple of lines he devotes to noting that Ray Kroc was actually against supersizing.

There's no debating that the tip about plate size could reform eating habits and help people to lose weight. But what the book doesn't consider is the changing sociology of America, where both mom and dad are working longer hours, and no one is home cooking anymore. Chances are, if you cook your own food, you'll lose weight regardless of plate size.

The other thing Bogusky doesn't consider is that there are no plates at fast-food places -- only paper wrappers, which in the case of BK were brilliantly designed by Crispin. Even a Whopper with double cheese and double bacon (the way one spot suggested you personalize it) could fit on a 9-inch plate.

By the way, the 9-inch thing is a conscious double entendre. Chapter six, titled "Size Matters," opens with a full-page photo of a young, cut, nude, tattooed dude holding the a plate over his privates.

More of a product than a book, The 9-Inch Diet contains all the elements of any good piece of Crispin advertising. It's provocative, graphic and counterintuitive. The medium is the message here, whether it's about a diet or not.