News highlights, market trends, and original data analysis related to the U.S. retail food & beverage industry … by Jay Nargundkar

Watch John Oliver Skewer Deceptive Food Marketing


(Video embedding disabled by HBO. Click image to launch in new window.)

On the debut episode of his new HBO show Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver had a hilarious and acerbic take on misleading consumer marketing, prompted by the Supreme Court battle between Pom and Coca-Cola covered earlier on this blog. From there, he goes on to confront the overstated benefit claims made by brands including Hellman’s mayonnaise, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Pop-Tarts.

Referring to Kellogg’s (and their cereals) as “the folks that make candy you can mix with milk” is just one of the memorable zingers in this clip, but it’s not just empty insults. Showing a Mini Wheats ad claiming the cereal helps kids concentrate, Oliver points out the underlying study compared the effects of eating Mini Wheats to kids who were fed nothing. Even then the commercial overstated the improvement by almost double! “Arguably better than hunger,” would be a better product slogan, Oliver suggests.

Click on the clip above to watch it on YouTube — it starts at about 15:30 into the episode.

Edit: the original video appears to have been removed by HBO, but an alternate version of the relevant clip can be found here.


One comment on “Watch John Oliver Skewer Deceptive Food Marketing

  1. Andrew
    June 25, 2014

    (Clip is “private”, but you can find others.)

    I have to admit, when I buy juice, I’m more interested in what it tastes like than what exact fruits were used to make it. Especially when it’s a “blend” like that – I have trouble picturing someone deciding that pomegranates are their magic nutritional bullet, going to the store, and exclaiming “ah, pomegranate-blueberry! close enough!”, thereby missing out on its valuable properties.

    I mean ultimately, yeah, it’s misleading and should be clearly disclaimered, but the idea of the primary label being for flavor isn’t completely insane 😛

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2014 by in Marketing and tagged , , , , , .

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