AD/JUDICATED: Healthy Kid Food TV Spot Omits a Key Ingredient





Once upon a time, Annie’s Homegrown made a television commercial that looked like it climbed right out of my 3-year-old’s bedtime ritual of reading four books, drinking one hot chocolate, drinking one glass of water, 30 minutes of negotiating for another book, a semi-meltdown involving teeth brushing, more book negotiations, one more book, a song, another song, and finally the sweet sound of toddler snores. The four books (okay, five) is where Annie’s comes in: Super-cute animated illustrations and a bedtime story about happy kid foods.

This TV spot set out to give me all the good feelings of the glass of wine I pour right after putting those books on the shelf and patting myself on the back for another quasi-successful day as a working mom. And I’ll be honest — my kid is made of 50% Annie’s Fruit snacks, so I really wanted to like it.

But … I didn’t. Frankly, this spot ain’t got nothing on my Pinot Noir. In fact, it kind of made me feel, well, bad.

I’ll recap the narrative for you: According to Annie’s Homegrown, 30 years ago kids ate what was “yummy” and all the slacker MOMS out there “didn’t say no.” Dad was working, I presume, so he didn’t have a say — either way, he’s not mentioned in this commercial. Over the course of those 30 years, moms wised up and stopped letting their kids subsist on evil processed foods. All the junk food in all the land was super sad about it. And in a rare plot twist, Annie’s Homegrown pulled a metaphorical macaroni out of a metaphorical dark cave of processed ingredients and into a metaphorical garden that supposedly doesn’t contain red dye No. 1 — not their claim, but that’s my takeaway — and kids now got “kid food” again (of the organic variety).

YAY! A HAPPY ENDING! … almost.

Annie’s has saved the day for lots of tired parents, lots of times (myself included). But there is a key word missing from this commercial — Dad. “Parents” are only mentioned once in this spot, and the rest of the time, it’s on Mom. It’s Mom who is giving her kids bad food. Mom who takes the bad “kid food” away. And Mom who has to turn to Annie’s to solve the problem for her. But why is this exclusively a mom problem? Where is Dad? More often these days than a few decades ago, Dad is there, taking an active role in caring for his children — he might even care that his kiddos are eating organic macaroni. And while Mom is undoubtedly there too, she’s more often working outside the home, full-time, just like Dad.

Recent research from Pew says that parents are sharing their roles at home more often as the number of families with two parents working full-time continues to rise. Working moms (part-time and full-time) represent more than half of two-parent families in the U.S. Half! If you want to catch Mom’s ear and make moms feel supported, be inclusive of dads and encourage them to carry some of the burden of the “second shift”. If Annie’s really wants a happily-ever-after for the parents who buy their products (and the kids who eat them), adding the word “Dad” to the story would go a long way.