What I started out to say...

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Everyone needs an editor. Of course I would say that, having been employed as one for almost 30 years. But I see it often as a blogger, too — a blogger without an editor.

Yesterday, I started out saying something else — what I hope to get to now — but by the time my prelude was done, I had a post that was longish already.

You may have noticed that I'm in my third paragraph already, and I haven't gotten to the point still yet! So here it is...

You can perceive some really interesting intentions, just by listening carefully. Take for example, "guerrilla marketing," or "stealth marketing." These terms use war terminology to describe how sellers are going to attack us. Yeah, it's only metaphor, but the metaphor isn't "loving intervention marketing," is it?

The people who use these phrases are unabashed: In the former, they say they're going to emulate small cadres who stalk the jungle, waiting to pounce. In the latter, they're going to model themselves on intensely sophisticated aerial weaponry designed to be invisible until it can strike. In both cases, they're venerating secretiveness, but displaying in-your-face-ness. 

David Kessler alludes to the phenomenon at least twice in "The End of Overeating." Remember the Lays Potato Chip slogan, "Bet you can't eat just one"? One subtext of that is, "we've made something intended to make you lose control." But one level of subtext deeper is, "We're bragging about it." 

Yes, it's just potatoes, salt, oil, and a couple of chemicals. But the attitude is akin to the drug pusher's: I'll give you the first one free, 'cause I know you'll come back and pay me plenty of times over.

That slogan is pretty old, but consider what TGIFriday's is saying today:

"This isn't about grabbing a bite. It's about a bite grabbing you. 'Cause when Friday's gets hold of your appetite, we're not letting go."

How would you feel if, say, the neighborhood bully said something similar: "I'm going to grab hold of your [insert body part here} and I'm not going to let go." I'd be scared.

I understand metaphor. I like metaphor. But I think it's also valuable to listen at face value too, and these people, these food marketers, are telling us they're coming after us.

Oh, so it's with yummy yummy yummies, so it's OK? Not when food products are increasingly, more sophisticatedly, developed with the intention to grab hold of us and not let go. Off the record, a venture capitalist bluntly told Kessler: 

"The goal is to get you hooked."

When drug dealers said that, we went to war.


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