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Duane Reade Gelato Ad Tells Women Food Is Love

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Margaret Wheeler Johnson
Margaret Wheeler Johnson

Given advertisers' complete willingness to exploit women's fears and insecurities whenever necessary to promote a product -- especially when that product is edible -- I wasn't terribly surprised this morning when I walked onto a Manhattan-bound R train and saw this advertisement for the Duane Reade drugstore chain's new store-brand gelato (drug stores whipping up gelato? different issue):

(For more images, see here and here.)

While the unoriginality of this ad -- virtually any woman will recognized the newly dumped drowning her sorrows in a tub of ice cream as approximately as tired a concept as a Carrie Bradshaw voiceover -- is rather depressing, the fact that a retailer would still deploy the underlying message is, frankly, astounding.

The next time someone tries to blame obesity rates in this country (at least among women) on genetics or laziness, the next time someone wonders why women are so damn fixated on food and weight, I hope they'll remember this. Our struggles with food in America are at least as much about the constant selling of food as a source of succor, fun, freedom, belonging, love -- the things we hunger for emotionally -- as they are about how much or little or what we eat. Duane Reade is now a part of that.

What do you think of this ad? Am I overreacting, or is it as bad as I think?

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