Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playing The Spoons

What’s astonishing about this 1960 ad for Campbell’s tomato soup isn’t that youngsters can be persuaded to actually eat a bowl of it, or how unfeasibly close their bowls are placed, or their matching oddly formal outfits, or even their oddly androgynous haircuts (are they boys? girls? one of each?), but that they both demonstrate, at such a young age, perfect form when holding their spoons.

While it is entirely possible that they are simply well-trained professionals who can maintain a pose while a director puts the spoon in their hand, it seems unlikely that a toddler could affect such poise without spilling. (Of course, who’s to say that the “soup” is actually a liquid; it could be dyed and dried Elmer’s School Glue for all we know.) But just look at the child on the right: it’s as if he (or she) had years of practice eating soup with a spoon (yet not enough maturity to be able to knock a pair of scissors out of a barber’s hand).

The look he (or she) is giving his (or her) sister (or brother) appears to be judging her (or his) reaction to the soup before he (or she) tastes his (or her) own spoonful. But it could also be a look that says “and I take it you looked over the residuals and made sure we’re getting the 12%, yes? Because I have a very important meeting with my broker as soon as this nonsense wraps and I’m dying for a drink. How does it taste? As bad as it looks? Because it smells like shit.”

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Ad, 1960
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