Shredded Wheat with Strawberries

January 13, 2009
By Rachel Kautz, Hartland, WI

This ad is advertising Shredded Wheat cereal with Real Strawberries. In the ad, a middle aged woman is kneeling on a bed with a bowl of cereal in one hand and a spoon in the other. She is wearing a white nightgown with a red satin robe over her. Her fingernails are the same color red as is the bowl. In the background, a box of cereal is on the nightstand and a man is sleeping on the other side of the bed. On the top of the page is a rhetorical question: “What satisfies a hungry woman?”
Middle aged women who want a healthy and delicious snack are drawn to this ad. Since this ad was found in Self Magazine, women wanting to be healthier and eat healthier foods are especially drawn to this ad. A beautiful white woman is eating the cereal and she portrays pure happiness on her face, making others feel happy—an attitude is contagious. Women between the ages of 30-50 and predominantly white are targeted because a middle aged white women is used in this ad.
The rhetorical question, “What satisfies a hungry woman?” portrays that a bowl of cereal alone can satisfy a woman’s hunger. This hunger is not a stomach growling hunger, but rather a desire or pleasure-seeking hunger. The expression on her face and the setting of the ad show that the hunger isn’t exactly the stomach-growling one that tells the body it’s time to eat. Therefore, a symbol of sexuality is used. The question is, since when was cereal an object of sexuality? Cereal is a common household item used for snacks and mainly for breakfast. The average woman doesn’t eat cereal in a fancy red satin robe on the bed when she is hungry.
The combination of red lipstick, red satin robe, red nail polish, and red bowl all center the focus on the real strawberries of the cereal. It can also be a symbol of passion since the rhetorical question is not suggesting actual food hunger. Furthermore, the man in the bed is sleeping. Here is a woman sitting on a bed with a devilish look in her eye and cereal in one hand and the man is sleeping.
This ad is a poor representation of the cereal Shredded Wheat with Real Strawberries. The rhetorical question does not refer to the actual cereal and does not promote it in any way. The entire mood is useless since cereal is a source of food used to satisfy hunger and nothing else. It is offensive to women, to use them as an object instead of a person. The ad should display the actual quality of the cereal and how it could satisfy a person’s taste buds in a healthy and delicious manner.

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