The ad agency for Kraft Foods, makers of the iconic “Mac and Cheese” recently decided to promote the brand in honor of National Noodle Day (Oct. 6) (Did you know National Noodle Day even existed?) The campaign promoted primarily virtually was entitled #SendNoods, urging customers to bestow boxes of their Kraft powdered mac and cheese to loved ones who might benefit from comfort food during the pandemic.
Video and print ads featured Vanessa Bayer (of Saturday Night Live fame) who offered: “In these strange times, people are in need of extra comfort. That’s why it’s always a nice gesture to send noods, so they know you’re thinking of them,” Bayer also repeatedly emphasized she was talking about “noods”, not “nudes”. Unfortunately for Bayer, Kraft and “Mischief” (the ad agency), viewers were not amused:
“I do not want my boys growing up and seeing a commercial where they joke about the exploitation of children!” commented one. Others talked about the sexploitation of children. One parent blamed Kraft for a marketing tactic that “grooms children into believing it’s OK and even FUNNY to ‘send noods,’ ” they claimed.
Somehow, even though children were never featured in the commercial and Bayer emphasized it was “…noods, not nudes”, the Kraft Food Company just got a lesson in the paranoia around the concept of nudity that infects this country. It gets worse.
The post was quickly overtaken by conspiracists who stoked fears of widespread, high-profile child trafficking — one of the prevailing theories of QAnon supporters — and implicated Kraft as a complicit player in the alleged criminal scheme, adding the telltale hashtag #SaveTheChildren to their comments.
Hashtags such as #BoycottKraft and #CancelKraft began to appear. In response Kraft removed all traces of the latest campaign throughout social media after their attempt at a tongue-in-cheek viral moment prompted the above backlash. Had a nudist been on the Kraft ad team, he/she might have warned “There are lots of things you can joke about…but Americans do not find nudity funny or “tongue-in-cheek”. It is a regrettable fact of life Americans, by and large, are so uptight about the concept of nudity that they cannot envision it to be fun, liberating or a positive and healthy philosophy of living, let alone an acceptable topic for humor. It is the reason why the Naturist Action Committee and especially, the Naturist Education Foundation exist… to imbue Americans with a sense of perspective and appreciation for the positive aspects of non-sexual nudity and nudism as a positive life force… or at least something people can have a tongue-in-cheek moment about without going ballistic.