Well paint me green and call me Gumby. I never thought I’d see the day when ‘genetically modified’ was actually used as a selling point for a product in the Western world. Normally, on the hierarchy of characteristics worth advertising, marketers place ‘genetically modified’ alongside ‘made of 100% puppy tears’ and ‘may cause genital herpes’. While you watch this ad, I shall go and promptly eat my hat.
Oddly, this actually works. It may be argued that, in this case, the use of ‘genetically modified’ does not cast its usual ominous cloud because everybody knows that cars don’t really have genes. It’s symbolism. True. But the reason runs much deeper than that. This ad works with the common emotional and value distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’. The common thought reads like this: Cars are machines – unnatural lumps of technology, where adjustments and engineering symbolise value-adding. Tinkering is a bonus. Yet food is meant to be natural – wholesome, spontaneous, unrefined. Tinkering is dangerous.
Wait. OK. Now everybody stop. I may have got ahead of myself. So “…everybody knows that cars don’t really have genes”? Apparently not.