I was minding own business watching tv last night (I don’t remember the show or the network, but it was likely a syndicated episode Seinfeld or Big Bang Theory) when this commercial for Velveeta cheese comes on. My brain usually tunes out the commercials, but my ears perked up when I hear some guy say “I host a book club…” and then a girl (his wife, presumably?) coos “soooo sexy!” The scene cuts to a man reading from a book. He is made up to look like like the author pictured on the over, complete with a fake mustache. I thought he vaguely resembled Thomas Hardy, but I couldn’t zoom in and clearly read the book title. “Vega had no tolerance for such dastardly deeds,” he intones in an affected British/Academician voice. His two suffering guests listen obediently on the couch but would clearly rather be somewhere else. What could possibly save them from such a miserable situation? Why, the wife arriving in a tight dress with a tray of Velveeta cheese queso with Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis, of course!
The announcer pipes in that “some parties need a bowl of queso…”
Of course, a book club meeting cannot stand on its own as entertainment and therefore would be one of those parties.
So, there’s a lot wrong and inaccurate about this 15-second advertisement. First, I know of NO book clubs that contain just men. In fact, most of the book clubs I’ve been part of were mostly women. Second, I don’t know of any book clubs where the members read from the book in an affected, snobbish-toned voice. Third, although I’m still young (well, sort of) I’ve yet to hear a woman sigh and say “ooh… sexy” when I refer to my book club. They are often too busy running in the opposite direction to say anything. Fourth, we never have a stack of extra copies the books sitting on the coffee table (were they expecting others to arrive? If so, she’s going to need more Velveeta!) And fifth, we do not use our BOOKS as napkins as the guy on the right on the couch does. If you look closely, you can see he has even dripped some queso on the book already! Sacrilege!!
Plead join me in urging Kraft Foods to pull this offensive commercial from their lineup (OK, I’m only joking about this part) and let them know book clubs and readers are not to be made fun of or taken lightly!
If anyone wants to see it, one place I found the clip on-line is here: http://theadlist.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/velveeta-rotel-commercial/
(Note: as of 8/2013 this video is no longer available. I looked elsewhere but couldn’t find it. “Obviously,” my campaign to end BookClub discrimination was a success!)