Thursday, June 4, 2009

We Can Have It All

Post Cereals has recently launched a new nation-wide television ad campaign: “Progress plays no role in Post Shredded Wheat,” says the actor who is supposed to be the company’s CEO. Then he proudly states, “We put the NO in Innovation!”

Most other advertisements boast that their product is the newest incarnation and will make us better citizens in this fast-spinning world. Post says shredded wheat is fine, just the way it’s been for decades

If shredded wheat were an appliance or an electronic device instead of a cereal, the company could never have taken such an approach. Imagine an ad for an 80-year old paper shredder. “Progress plays no role in our paper shredders,” the announcer would boast. That means we’d still be using something that resembles a hand-cranked pasta maker to destroy our old IRS records and love letters.

And what about an ad that claims, “There’s been no progress in microwave ovens?” There’s certainly no room in my small kitchen for the earliest microwave oven — the one that was 5 ½ feet tall and weighed almost 800 pounds. That 1947 microwave would leave no space for even mini shredded wheat.

Smarter cars and phones, the newest digital recorder, tweeting, and measuring time in nanoseconds—these advancements can put us in a tailspin and leave no time to stop to smell the roses.

Then one morning we wake up and want to check out. That’s when we take a break, sit on the deck at Deep Eddy or trek to the beach. That’s when we head to Colorado or to Jamaica or to Bastrop or Lake Travis. That’s when some move to the country to escape the hustle and bustle of city living and settle into a life that embraces a simpler, calmer time.

And then we start to fret because some of those places don’t have Wi-Fi; internet connections are slow in rural areas; and there are miles and miles of Texas without cell phone service. That’s when we question our decision to check out and wonder why we can’t have it all.

We can have it all — we just have to be clear about what all is, and when we want it. I think it boils down to paying attention and making choices. For even in the most tranquil life and in the most tumultuous one, we can choose what we do and what we pay attention to. Nobody makes up pick up our smart phone the minute our plane touches down; nobody makes us sit and stare at a lake. We’ve always had those choices, and we still do.

Maybe Post is reassuring consumers through their shredded wheat ads that we still have a handle on our cereal even if we can’t decide between the latest PC or Apple or which phone meets our needs. Post Cereals, I’m certain, is giving us an opportunity to philosophize about lots of issues and to reexamine our values. And I bet all they intended to do was to sell some shredded wheat.

1 comment:

  1. You're right when you say we have to decide what "all" is.

    I would bring back some of the old things or at least the old way of making things. In today's world, it seems like things are designed to break down so you'll have to buy a new one.

    Straight From Hel