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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Frank Newman: Ice cream DOES make me happy!


As far as I am concerned, the link between ice cream and happiness is a fact. 

And I am not the only one of that view, which is why the decision of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to uphold a complaint about an ICE CREAM MAKES U HAPPY sign on a dairy in Tui Crescent in Maunu, Whangarei is so bizarre.

We live in weird times.

Not so long ago a complaint from an individual who appears to have a thing about ice cream (and presumably other dairy products like chocolate - which definitely makes people happy) would have been ignored, as is utterly appropriate. 

Not so nowadays where every view, no matter how far on the extremity of the normal curve, gets taken seriously.

In this case the complainant was a local person. From what I can determine they live a couple of streets away and pass the dairy on their way to work. Presumably they walk to work and have an opportunity to study the signage at this particular dairy. 

I make that presumption because according to their bio they are into fitness and wellbeing and environments that make it easy to be active and eat well.

That's great. I too encourage health, fitness, wellbeing and good manners at the dinner table, but surely one does not have to sacrifice ice cream to do that? 

I really do like ice cream; orange chocolate chip is a personal favourite, and I am actually quite responsible about it. Like, it's not the only food I consume, and it's only as a treat because it really does make me feel happy.

The complainant was of a view that saying Ice cream makes U happy "is extremely irresponsible given the obesity and mental health problems that exist in New Zealand".

Personally I have never heard about the connection between ice cream and mental health - all I know is ice cream does make me happy. 

Perhaps it does cause mental health issues - I don't know about that and clinical trials may be needed.

The ASA, in its infinite wisdom, decided by a majority that "the advertisement did imply there is a link between ice cream and happiness, and this could potentially undermine the health and well-being of consumers".  

Here are some facts. 

For me, there is a link between ice cream and happiness. Could saying that potentially undermine the health and well-being of consumers? Yes it could, if someone seeing the message was stupid enough to think that ice cream was their only source of happiness or indeed the only food they should consume. 

But do we really need to base our standards on what some dumb-bum would do. How about applying a standard of what a reasonable person would do? 

Or is that just not PC enough in this age of sensitivity and inclusiveness?

Here's another confession: MCDONALD'S HAPPY MEALS MAKES KIDS HAPPY.

Frank Newman, a writer and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.

8 comments:

Tinman said...
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You are correct in most of your points, to the point that the ASA members agreeing to this decision should immediately resign in that they are appointed to display wisdom on matters advertising and this decision demonstrates a definite deficiency of wisdom.

Two of your points, however, need further consideration:

"MCDONALD'S HAPPY MEALS MAKES KIDS HAPPY."

Do they? My children were always after the toys which were part of the "Happy Meal deal.

The food they were indifferent of and, in fact, had to be coerced to consume by the threat of withdrawal of the toy.

Is that making the kids happy?

The second point is obvious to those with taste: Hokey Pokey by far makes New Zealanders happier than Orange Chocolate Chip. :-)

Frank Newman said...
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Thank you for your comment Tinman. Re your two points. I stand by my comment that MCDONALD'S HAPPY MEALS MAKES KIDS HAPPY. I agree with you that it is the "free" toy, not the food that makes them happy, which would explain why they have to include the toy to sell the food. Given the success they have had enticing kids to buy their food, I suggest it may well work for adults too: Buy a Big Mac and large fries and get a free Holden Colorado ute would work for me - it would make me happy.
On the second point. I respect your preference for Hokey Pokey rather than orange chocolate chip, which I stated as my preference. I too like Hokey Pocky; it also makes me happy. Choosing between the two is no stress-free decision and a reoccurring trauma for me as I approach the frozen goods area on our weekly shop. I blame my local supermarket and may well complain to the appropriate authority that it's their fault for forcing me to make a choice. If that authority happens to be the ASA I may well succeed in a damages claim.

Jenny Harrison said...
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I disagree that ice cream would make me happy. The only thing to make me happy is a McLaren.

Stan said...
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@Frank Newman
Well I can attest that ice cream does make people happy as I have tested it on visitors from overseas, very fit and active people, and they were definitely happy, until I took it away and put it back in the fridge.
MacDonalds Happy Meals do not make me personally happy but I expect a lot of kids would be all smiles.
By the way, you have not yet had really deep happiness if you hav not had Much Moore Salted Chocolate and Half-Baked Brownie icecream...I'm happy just thinking about it sitting in my fridge!

Anonymous said...
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I would have thought that the other sign advertising alcoholic beverages would be more detrimental to health and happiness. You don’t hear of attacks or accidents because someone has had an ice cream or two.
My flavour choice is chocolate chip

Geoff Bourke said...
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I also like chocolate chip ice cream but not Hokey Pokey. I do not like Mac Donalds - in our family we referred to them as Yuck burgers (but please don't tell the Thought Police that I said so)

basil Walker said...
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Ice Cream has a wrong reputation as not being good food . At 15-18% sugar per 100gram it easily is healthier than cake ,biscuit , soft drink jam ,honey ,pickles and most sauces . Add in delicious and a person is not being irresponsible in choice of food as a treat.

paul scott said...
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Now, I don't know what the practical legal implications are for this dairy but there is only one thing to do. Make this sign bigger, bolder, and florid. Pictures of happy ice creams everywhere, Neon lights and fun. Every chance must be taken to thrash the speech and expression control freaks. A crowdfund should get this to the Courts if necessary. One scary thing, Activist Judges.