Ad Snacking: Nutella is part of a Healthy Balanced Diet...Columbia's Undergrads

Mar 8, 2013 1:03 pm

Columbia students eat how much Nutella? How much???

If your breakfast consists of two eggs scrambled with no salt, two slices of dry organic whole-wheat toast, a grapefruit, a six-ounce glass of orange juice, daily vitamins and half a tablespoon of Nutella, then yes, Nutella is part of your balanced healthy breakfast. 

But we all know that Nutella is consumed either as a Nutella-on-Nutella sandwich or straight out of the jar. It's delicious, and preposterously addictive. Remember Jesse Spano and how she was so excited and she just couldn't hide it? Well you can get that same feeling by eating 2 tablespoons of Nutella. It's speed for kids. What once was a product consumed by brazen 11-year-olds raiding their parents fridge during a sleepover, has left administration at Columbia University reeling. According to the NY Times, out-of-control students are hoarding/stealing Nutella from the dining hall and costing the university THOUSANDS of dollars a day. (Slow news day in the Middle East, huh NY Times?) So in the interest of keeping things very topical here at Ad Snacking HQ, here's a Nutella commercial from 2010.

PRODUCT: A+ “Usually people apply peanut butter on one slice of the bread and Nutella on the other slice, but I apply thick layers of Nutella to both slices of the bread.”
That's a real quote. That ran in the NY Times. And they ask why newspapers are dying. Any human being knows Nutella is crack. Students at Columbia are stealing it. RA's report fights started over it. The administration is facing a PR nightmare because of it. But what did they expect? They used to only have Nutella on the weekends to go with crêpes. That seems logical. But then they decided — at the urging of student council member Peter Bailinson — to serve it EVERY DAY.

What is this? The palace at Versailles? This is college. Ramen. Chicken nuggets. Powdered mashed potatoes. Crêpes on the weekends? Nutella every day? When can I book my in-dorm tailor appointment so I can have my bespoke suit ready for Intro to Econ next semester? Maid O'Brien, fetch me 10 pounds of Nutella! Master Crawley and I will take our breakfast in the dining hall today!

Message: B-/C+ “I was told it was more than 100 pounds per day.” That's a real quote about how much Nutella the university estimates was being consumed per day. Nutella's tagline in this ad is "It takes a lot of energy to be a kid." So we've got college kids going H.A.M. on Nutella to cram for exams, little kids going H.A.M. on Nutella in order to have energy to take on the day. Want to go swimming? Button your shirt? Storm a beach like Normandy with floaties? Kill it in the elementary school talent show with a choreographed dance number? No problem. Just eat a ton of Nutella for breakfast, and you are good to go. My favorite part of this commercial is at the :20 second mark when a kid whose teeth have presumably rotted because of the massive quantities of Nutella he consumes, yanks a tooth out with no problem and zero emotion. That would never fly in the U.S. Unbalanced messaging and jarring sugar-rot imagery earns this ad an uneven messaging grade. 

Creativity: C- “This Nutella situation is a perfect storm"
That's a real quote about Columbia's chocolate hazelnutty PR nightmare. This ad is a perfect storm of mixed messages. Look at all the visuals of this commercial — sleeping late, jumping off  stairs with reckless abandon, belly-flops into a pool, a bunch of friends getting together for a party on the beach, girls dancing on stage for attention, pulling your own teeth out not remembering how they got loose in the first place...is this about little kids having fun or going to college? In light of the NY Times' big exposé on the Nutella controversy I have to say that this ad is looking like propaganda that created the Columbia storm.

Is it the students fault for stealing and hoarding all that Nutella? No. Is it the university's fault for supplying it? No, it's Nutella's fault. They've weaned us on the teat of chocolatey delicious spread from when we were young, and now we need it to survive. So get back to work. And if you need a quick pick-me-up snack mid-afternoon, I suggest a few heaping spoonfuls of Nutella.

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