The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Has The Ad Industry Become A Hype Industry Rather Than A Creative One?

A while back – unsurprisingly, at Cannes Scam Ad time – an agency made a plate that they said absorbed the grease from food to reduce the calories.

Of course, I’ve not seen this plate anywhere since they entered it into an award … but the reason I bring it up is because I recently saw a real, live, genuine product that frankly, is an embarrassment to that piece of scam.

Worse, it’s an embarrassment to the whole ad industry.

Here is it …

Yep, it’s another plate.

Except this plate doesn’t have mini-holes to “supposedly” drain a small proportion of the bad stuff from your dinner.

No, this one is shaped to reflect the size, shape and capacity of the average human stomach.

That’s it.

At a glance, you can see the quantity of food that should be going down your mouth.

Now of course what food you put on the plate has a huge impact on the effect it will have on your body, but given so many of the obesity issues are caused by quantity, this could have a real impact on your overall health in an instant.

No questionable ‘technology’.

No ads telling you to eat healthier.

Just a product that actually helps you help yourself … albeit in an ingenious, guilt-tripping/educational way.

I’ve said this before, but I genuinely believe designers are currently solving problems in better and more powerful ways than adland. Of course we still do brilliant things, but in our quest to try and make ourselves look good … we seem to be focusing our energies on chasing hype rather than doing something that proves how genuinely smart we can be.

And if you need any more evidence of that, just look at the recent Super Bowl.

An event that should be the best ad for the industry but ends up being the worst … mainly because for all the talk we spout about being innovative and focused on solving problems, we end up making TV spots that sell bad humour, brand ego or z-grade self-help manifestos.

Sure there’s the odd one or two every year who do something genuinely interesting [but rarely as good as this], but at a time where we have a chance to show how good we can really be, they still end up being the exception rather than the rule.

Or said another way.

A bunch of ads that cost millions of dollars are less effective, creative and insightful than an £18 bowl from


38 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ingenious idea, simple, useful and cunning.
I particularly like your point about the super bowl being TV led when the industry talks about their focus on innovation. I hadn’t thought about that before, you are so right. It has been a good week of posts, dare I dream this will continue next week?

Comment by George

I think we all know the answer to thag George. No.

Comment by DH

i fucking hope not.

Comment by andy@cynic

I love your optimism George, even if it is tinged with the pain of knowing reality.

Comment by Rob

Better than the baz cookie cup.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Is this where you claim to have bovine DNA so qualify for 4 stomach plates?

Comment by DH

Actually cows have one stomach, just with 4 quadrants. #Asksiri

Comment by Bazza

how this for fucking irony. today i ate 4 fucking quadrants worth of prime fucking beef.

Comment by andy@cynic

To be fair, that was more novelty than this. That said, Firebox sold a shitload of them for us.

Comment by Rob

Cool idea. I was going to say the diet companies should have come out with it but then I remembered they make all their money on selling their members small portions of tasteless and overpriced food.

Comment by DH

theyre as fucking bad as drug dealers at pushing their shit on the fucking addicted and vulnerable.

Comment by andy@cynic

Wieden’s Weight Watchers ad from 2 years ago.

Comment by Rob

That’s so good.

Comment by Bazza

didnt wk get fired after this? shows weight watchers knows absolutely fucking all.

Comment by andy@cynic

Cannes and the super bowl really are bad for the advertising industry. Or is it the advertising industry have made it bad. Discuss.

Comment by DH

Both are complicit in bringing the worst out of each other.

Comment by Pete

who the fuck gives a fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Agree with the post but that plate is rubbish and won’t change anyone’s behaviour.

Comment by John

You don’t know that John. It is a much better idea than many of the alternatives that have become billion industries.

Comment by Pete

How will it change behaviour? If it were to work, the sale of small plates would have rocketed by now. The cause of obesity is not meals eaten off plates at home.

Comment by John

Don’t you think you are generalizing? Obesity isn’t limited to consumption of Dominos and Burger King. And this isn’t a small plate, it’s a glimpse into your bodies reality.

Comment by Pete

Don’t try to reason with me – I’ve endured an evening of design wankery elsewhere and this plate is the icing on the cake.

As for generalising, I’m not sure I agree. Those cheap food/ high portion outlets are very big businesses with huge customer bases in every sense of the word.

And while I don’t accept the argument that the plate connects you with how much food should be in your stomach, the counter argument is that all dietary advice is not to eat until you feel fool, just to eat until you don’t feel hungry. Moreover, it does nothing to address the emotional side of over-eating.

Here endeth my ranty reckons.

Comment by John

How is that a counter argument?

I agree the fast food industry is huge and must shoulder a lot of the blame but the health epidemic is not all down to them and if this plate was used just to educate parents for their children, it would make a difference.

Comment by Pete

put your fucking handbags down.
dont you know youre making campbell think his blog is working?

Comment by andy@cynic

This is awesome. It’s like that Neve Campbell / Denise Richards fight in Wild Things just without any of the sexual appeal.

Comment by DH

its fucking better than a fucking plate that claims to drain oil or soft drinks that claim to be good for you. stop sounding like a fucking tory politician. it wont work but its not taking the fucking piss as badly as everything else. especially anything adland has bullshit created.

Comment by andy@cynic

thats at you doddsy. petes going to be a dad so i need to be soft on him for the mindfuck hes going to have for the rest of his life.

Comment by andy@cynic

Which is why I said I agreed with the post.

Comment by John

But let me stress that my agreement does not constitute any sort of endorsement of this blog.

Comment by John

Because the design logic of the plate is that it limits you to eating a stomachful rather than a whole plateful.

Comment by John

Obviously I disagree with you John. I’m not saying this plate can change obesity by itself … and I know a lot of the cause is from eating fast food away from the home … but it’s a product that I genuinely think could make a difference to people. Maybe it’s only those people who are consciously trying to improve their diet, but I believe it will make a difference. At least more than most of the things on offer today..

Comment by Rob

youre so fucking nice at times. makes me fucking sick.

Comment by andy@cynic

I have ordered one of the plates Robert. Advertising works.

Comment by Lee Hill

Genius. I want one of these. So good.

Comment by Hannah Fearless

Geezus… reading the comments praising this bowl. Try to fill it with nuts and seeds and tell me if you lose weight. I don’t know if it is a reflection of how people is so fed up about reading bs, fallacies and contradictory info about nutrition that they end up going for inventions like this… pheewww £18. ^.^;

Comment by Dan Escobar

I agree that losing weight and gaining health is based on what you put in your stomach and how you exercise but portion control can have a huge impact – especially in these excessive portion times – so while the bowl can be misused, it’s still better than relying on eating so called “healthy meals” that are full of sugar and salt.

Comment by Rob

Well, I think the portion part can be done without spending £18 on a fancy bowl. Weight control is more about what types of foods you mix with each other and muscle tonification than counting calories, it’s hard to explain on a comment. People must take responsability for themselves and get informed while avoiding scams and disinformation. It is the way things are imho. And I agree with you on those “healthy meals” if you mean nutraceuticals also called “functional foods”. Most of the time a simple beet or cauliflower is healthier than those fancy and expensive foods.

Comment by Dan Escobar

Of course it can be done without that bowl.
Lots of things can be done without expensive extras.
All I’m saying is that of the expensive extras, I feel this is better than those expensive, high sugar and salt foods that seem to do the opposite than they are intended.
But I’m in violent agreement with you.

Comment by Rob

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