A Creepy Ad

The following ad keeps popping up in my blogroll and it just bothers me to no end:

Do people find it as creepy as I do? Would you feel the same if it were a man kissing a child on the lips? The slogan on the right of the photo also resembles the pedophiles’ motto of “We really care about kids” way too much. Altogether, this just looks disturbing to me.

The ad is for a restaurant chain that feeds kids disgusting garbage, which is why I don’t want to name it.

P.S. Now that I placed this nasty ad here, I can’t even look at the homepage of my own blog without shuddering.

60 thoughts on “A Creepy Ad

  1. Maybe this is another “through the eyes of a stranger” thing…it’s actually not that uncommon to kiss on the lips within a family in the US. I’ve always found it creepy and gross, but you see it happen quite a bit.

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  2. It does bug me. In my family, we NEVER kissed on the lips, and I think that’s just as normal in the US as lip-kissing within families. So while my brain tells me there’s nothing wrong in the picture, it still looks….weird.

    When I first met my future MIL she gave me a big wet one on my lips. From that moment I knew we wouldn’t get along

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        1. Oh, it’s so n ice to see a young person who is still innocent about the horror that is the dreaded mother-in-law!

          I have to say, though, that my current mother-in-law is a treasure. She lives on a different continent and has no interest in being in touch with us. My former MIL, though. . .

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  3. Melissa’s right but even so there is something creepy about this picture. I don’t know how to articulate it but it’s creepy.

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  4. Who does that? I’ve never met anyone who kisses their kids on the lips. My best guess is it’s: 1) a creepy ad
    2) A creepy ad documenting some regional behavior. Some areas of the US are more affectionate than others.
    Ever seen the SNL skit with the *really* huggy/kissy family? Skeeves me right out. Heck, I’m just grateful I don’t belong to a family that hugs a lot.

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  5. I don’t think occasional kissing on the lips between parents and children is creepy, and I come from a demonstrative and affectionate family, but it’s definitely a strange picture that makes me uncomfortable to look at. It’s awkward looking and the faces look distorted.

    One thing I do find creepy is father/daughter dances. I’m glad they didn’t have them when I was growing up and I have no clue why they became so popular. Getting all dolled up and going out on a date with Dad? What’s with that? Also, I’ve never heard of mother/son dances. Why not?

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    1. //Getting all dolled up and going out on a date with Dad? What’s with that?

      It’s called purity balls, haven’t you heard? The idea is that young girls start having sex not because they want to, like boys do, but due to low self-esteem and trying to get it higher by getting boys’ attention. If you buy into it, makes sense to pour attention on one’s daughter, take her on dates, so that she won’t want to go on dates with her peers.

      No mother/son dances since boys aren’t looked at like girls, as having to save purity.

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  6. I personally feel you’re overreacting. A kiss on the lips, between mother and child is certainly strange, but it’s just some sign of affection, nothing else. The picture was obviously chosen to grab people’s attention and it seems it has done its job well. Are you against marketing in general? Would you rather see no ads at all, or only informative, political-correct (boring, non-catchy) ads?

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    1. Would you feel the same way if there was a man depicted rather than a woman?

      As I said many times, I love ads, commercials, and billboards. I don’t think that they make people do what people don’t want to do anyways. So I’m a profoundly pro-marketing person. 🙂 However, if this is an ad that promotes food, it seems kind of weird to have an ad that makes people feel disgusted by it.

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      1. I think there’d be nothing wrong if it was a dad and a child: a sign of affection. Unfortunately this could probably be seen as ‘terribly wrong’: associating him with the picture of a molester.
        Parents would probably first find the picture a bit weird, but that would allow them to think of the ad for a second. Then they’d think there’s nothing wrong with it and try to adapt it to an interpretation, something along these lines: I can kiss her/him in the lips because we love one another, to hell with what the world thinks. I can take him to this restaurant if it really pleases him/her (even though the world advises against).
        The other idea is simply associating a brand with a positive thing: A good relationship between mother and child, and the brand: suggesting that going to the restaurant would help nurturing it.

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      2. Other possibility is that as you say, it causes disgust, and so everyone starts talking about the ad and the restaurant. Eventually all this talk reaches those who do not feel disgusted by the ad and by hearing about it the brand association is reinforced in their minds.

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        1. Well, it is a brand that everybody is very much aware of, so I’m not sure how much value that has. If we were talking about a relatively unknown brand, then this strategy would make sense.

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      3. Would you feel the same way if there was a man depicted rather than a woman?(Clarissa)

        I sometimes kiss my daughter on the lips and have since she was little. I know some feel that is weird but I would question what happened to them to make them think that a genuine expression of love is weird? Maybe they just hold some “repressed” memories of abuse? Hmm, I wonder? 😉

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        1. There is nothing funny about child abuse. Unfortunately, many people have such experiences and often do repress them. This is tragic, not funny. It is sadly very easy to breach a child’s bodily integrity because children have no ways of resisting. How many parents sleep in the same bed with their children, for example? Just thinking about it is blood-curdling.

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  7. You’re over blowing this whole kiss thing. It’s definitely not meant to have any sexual overtones, it’s more of a sign of affection. In South America kissing your child in the lips is not uncommon and not seen as creepy. Here in the US most signs of public affection are seeing as creepy. If you go to South America or Paris you will see all sorts of kissing in public and is not seen as creepy.

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    1. I’ve been to several Latin American countries and I’ve never seen anything like this. Because of my profession, I’m constantly surrounded by Latin American people and I have never seen or heard of such a thing. Besides, this isn’t an ad aimed at Latinos or Parisians, so your point makes no sense in this context.

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      1. I’m just trying to show you that “creepiness” is dependent on the society you live in.

        I’m Latin American and I have seen many people kiss their children on the lips. I’ve seen it in my own family. We even kiss strangers on the cheek.

        The US is definitely way more puritanical when it comes to public affection, you cannot deny that.

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  8. I’m sure the people who designed this ad campaign have done their homework (surveys, market research panels, etc.). If this picture made most people feel disgusted, I don’t think it would have made it to print.

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    1. I wouldn’t idealize marketing campaigns. The most inane marketing campaign I’m aware of is that of Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle has a cult-like following among its users and in spite of their massive dislike for the campaign, it continues. Marketing people are human and as likely to mess up royally as the representatives of any other profession.

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  9. bloggerclarissa :
    Well, it is a brand that everybody is very much aware of, so I’m not sure how much value that has. If we were talking about a relatively unknown brand, then this strategy would make sense.

    I think all brands need reinforcement: the more the better. Otherwise once they’re reached the known, they wouldn’t need ads at all. ( On another note, the reply button disappeared from the last comment, Is that a hint that is impolite to make the thread too long 😉 ?)

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    1. No, the threads should be as long as possible. 🙂

      I removed 10-level deep commenting option because readers complained that such comments often became impossible to read. I still haven’t figured out the best depth of a commenting tree.

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  10. Sadly I’m betting that somewhere during the planning stages of creating that ad there was at least a quick mention of how it had to be a woman in the picture because “women and loving and men are child molesters”.

    bloggerclarissa :
    Actually, such mother-son events also exist: “Now, there is a similar type of event for young men and their mothers. It is called an integrity ball. The young men are not expected to pledge their virginity to their mothers. Instead, they promise “not to sully someone’s daughter or future wife.”

    I can’t be the only that’s noticed that on the flip side of the coin that tells girls they have have to “maintain their purity” is the idea that boys are inherently dirty. A girl that has sex with a guy is supposedly now “dirty”. That translates into “she got dirty by having sex with a guy” which basically means guy = dirt.

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    1. Interesting point, Danny. I never thought about it that way.
      And by the way, I don’t think it’s just purity balls. Aren’t those religion based? (haven’t read Clarissa’s post yet but I will) The dance I just heard about was sponsored by Girl Scouts. Which is why I was relieved that it is a new thing because I was an active Girl Scout. Another time I heard about it it was through a Catholic school, not fundamentalist or anything, and am pretty sure it was not called a purity ball.

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        1. “I don’t think the purity balls are religion based (some of them might be but not the entire idea of it).”

          -Then where do you think the idea of purity balls comes from? The Puritan mentality that sees sexuality as dirty?

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  11. “First-grader Aleia Green was all smiles from the minute she entered the door. This was her first dance, she happily announced.

    “I’ve been practicing in my bedroom,” Aleia said, adding that she was particularly good at spinning around. She wasn’t sure if her dad, Dustin Turnbull, was a good dancer.

    No, he confided, he isn’t, but he would give it a whirl. Turnbull added he’d never heard of a father-daughter dance before, but he likes the idea.

    “I thought it was pretty neat,” he said. “It’s good for the girls – no boys are here. It’s good for them.””

    from a random selection out of about a zillion results from a google search of “father daughter school dances”

    Yep, it’s good for the girls because no boys are there. Just a lot of grown men.

    “father daughter girl scout dances” also links to zillions of weird articles and youtube videos.

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    1. Okay one more, from a Catholic HIGH SCHOOL version “The evening ends with a last dance and

      lasting memories of a night out with Dad!

      If a students’ father is unable to attend,

      the student may bring an adult male relative

      or family friend in his place. ”

      Gee, that’s not creepy at all.

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  12. bloggerclarissa :There is nothing funny about child abuse. Unfortunately, many people have such experiences and often do repress them. This is tragic, not funny. It is sadly very easy to breach a child’s bodily integrity because children have no ways of resisting. How many parents sleep in the same bed with their children, for example? Just thinking about it is blood-curdling.

    You find a lot of things creepy and such. What is actually wrong with a kiss on the lips of your child or sleeping with your child in the same bed. If there is nothing sexual happening what makes you view it as so blood-curdling? I find that mentality very weird and alarming.

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  13. I have no problem with folks kissing their families on the lips. SNL has a great sketch in which they parody family-kissing, though, and it is HILARIOUS.

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    1. We are not talking about any family member, though. We are talking about children who cannot offer any resistance to adults whenever those adults feel like breaching their bodily integrity.

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      1. A child who has grown in a place where kissing is a sign of affection will not feel like it is a breach of his bodily integrity. Such feelings are culture dependent.

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        1. I also grew up in a place where kissing is a sign of affection. So I have no idea what this comment is even about.

          Of course, when I kiss my husband to show him affection, I do it differently than when I kiss my little niece to show her affection.

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  14. bloggerclarissa :
    I also grew up in a place where kissing is a sign of affection. So I have no idea what this comment is even about.
    Of course, when I kiss my husband to show him affection, I do it differently than when I kiss my little niece to show her affection.

    So why can’t this be extended to parents kissing their children in the lips? Why is it all of the sudden so wrong and creepy?

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    1. I don’t see anything “sudden” in my reaction. I always felt creeped out by parents who can’t fulfill their needs for tactile experiences with adults and use children for that.

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      1. bloggerclarissa :
        I don’t see anything “sudden” in my reaction. I always felt creeped out by parents who can’t fulfill their needs for tactile experiences with adults and use children for that.

        Its somewhat telling reading your thoughts on what some people do for genuine expressions of love(not your style) and how you view it as them taking advantage of their children. Wow.

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      2. Interesting that you put it this way…don’t children have needs for tactile experiences too?

        I come from a family that never ever ever kissed on the lips. It just Wasn’t Done. My husband’s family did it all the time, it’s just how they greeted one another. And so did all his parents’ friends and extended family.

        My kids have grown up with friendly lip-kissing as a very normal way for close family to greet, say good-bye to, or express affection for one another. It doesn’t creep me at all, but I still find it sort of awkward…but it’s how my kids do things, based on my husband and their grandparents and half of our social circle. (More than half, really–his family lives nearby, mine does not.) I’ve tried to sort of redirect sometimes–we sometimes do what I call “Europe kissing” with the both cheeks thing, just as an example–but they feel gypped if they don’t get a lip-kiss at some point. It’s just become their expectation along the way.

        Just because a particular behavior can’t be pinned to a specific ethnic group doesn’t mean it isn’t “cultural” in some way…so I think the idea floating around that this is a “cultural” behavior is probably still pretty valid.

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  15. bloggerclarissa :
    I also grew up in a place where kissing is a sign of affection. So I have no idea what this comment is even about.
    Of course, when I kiss my husband to show him affection, I do it differently than when I kiss my little niece to show her affection.

    And for the record I am talking about totally platonic kisses like the one in the ad where there is no sexual component.

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    1. You have friends, right? Of both genders, do you? Do you platonically kiss them on the lips? How does your partner / lover / spouse feel about that?

      Now, let’s think back to your childhood. You are five. Your Daddy / Mommy comes to pick you up from school and kisses you on the lips, right in front of your friends. And you feel super happy, I guess, right?

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      1. Friends is a different issue. I don’t have the same relationship with a friend as I do with someone like say my sister.

        My mom and my sister used to kiss me on the lips all the time in public. I do not feel violated.

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        1. ‘Friends is a different issue. I don’t have the same relationship with a friend as I do with someone like say my sister.”

          -You are the one who mentioned the word “platonic.’ This is a word that is normally used to discuss friendships. Nobody says they have a platonic relationship with their mother.

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  16. One more vote for the lip kissing being creepy. I think all photos of lip kisses are in bad taste, just as full mouth kissing in the movies is also in bad taste. I can’t understand why they would think that the photo is going to sell anything. It crosses boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed.
    Lip kissing should be saved for ones significant other and done in private.

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  17. From wikipedia’s “kiss” article:

    In Slavic cultures until recent times, kissing between two men on the lips as a greeting or a farewell was not uncommon and was not considered sexual…..With the Andamanese, kissing was only used as a sign of affection towards children and had no sexual undertones…..Kissing in humans is postulated to have evolved from the direct mouth-to-mouth regurgitation of food (kiss feeding) from parent to offspring or male to female (courtship feeding) and has been been observed in numerous mammals….In fact, through observations across various species and cultures, it can be confirmed that the act of kissing and premastication has most likely evolved from the similar relationship-based feeding behaviours.

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    1. And this is precisely why I tell my students not to trust Wikipedia. I don’t know about the Andamanese, but in terms of Slavic cultures what was common among older people of all genders (men and men, women and women, women and men) was 3 kisses on the cheek in the imitation of a cross. And it wasn’t something common among all Slavic people. Just the Orthodox ones.

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