Nestlé Has a Funny Idea of "Health and Wellness"

[Content Note: Rape culture, reproductive coercion, misogyny, homophobia, fat-hatred, body policing, food policing, demonizing of body hair, classism, objectification, fake German.]

Shaker IndyM sent me the link to this advert for Lean Pockets, part of a series in which David Hasselhoff plays a character named Günther, aka "Mr. Lean," who offers "advice" about why it would beneficial for people to eat Lean Pockets. In a series about terrible advertisements that is now well over 100 entries, this is one of the biggest garbage disasters of them all, failing on just about every conceivable level.

[Complete transcript below the fold.]

Fake German accent complete with fake German words? Check. Playing gay? Check. Body policing? Check. Food policing? Check. Sexual objectification? Check. Fat hatred? Check. Mocking people with body hair? Check. Equating thinness with happiness, attractiveness, and personal success? Check. Ridicule of large families? Check. Classism? Check. Heterocentism? Check. Reducing women to weight- and sex-obsessed nincompoops? Check. Stereotype of the sassy gay mentor? Check. Treating food as a moral choice? Check. Treating a thin partner as a reward for moral eating? Check. Treating a fat partner as punishment for immoral eating? Check. Implying fat women do not deserve and cannot have love and contentment? Check.

A rape culture trope about a woman under the influence reluctantly "consenting" to sex/marriage and bearing multiple children against her will? Checkity-check-check.

I could go on (and on and on), but the point, I feel, has been sufficiently made. That is a lot of contemptible shit to pack into two minutes.

teaspoon icon Lean Pockets' Facebook page is here. Lean Pockets is, however, a Nestlé brand. Nestlé promotes itself explicitly as a company interested in "nutrition, health, and wellness," but apparently does not consider body-shaming, which is demonstrably associated with disordered eating that kills people, or antigay stereotyping, which is demonstrably associated with the violent homophobia underlying hate crimes, or rape culture narratives, which underwrite epidemic sexual violence, to be inconsistent with "health and wellness." You can contact Nestlé directly here, and/or tweet at them here.

David Hasselhoff, wearing a kelly green sweater and a white sportcoat appears onscreen in front of a glittering silver wall. In a German accent, with effeminate inflection and gestures, he says, "Mr. Lean here, reminding you: You are what you eat!" Cut to an image of a Lean Pocket on a plate. Text Onscreen: "Lean Pockets Presents: Summer's Coming; Get Ready!"

Cut to a young white brunette woman, who is thin and hews closely to the Beauty Standard, standing on a boardwalk at a beach. She is wearing a black bathing suit with a yellow-checkered wrap around her waist. She has a bored, stupid look on her face as she stares at a billboard advertising a burger called "The World Famous Double Bacon BOHEMOTH [sic] Burger."

"Oh god," she says. "That double bacon behemoth burger looks good." She smiles dreamily and pants.

"Mm-mm, girl!" tsks David Hasselhoff, coming in from offscreen with a waggling finger. He is holding a plate with a Lean Pocket and still speaking in the affected German accent and "playing gay." "Eat it if you want to become a big hairy reality star shtupper!"

"Huh?" replies the woman, looking confused.

"Okay," explains Hasselhoff. "Let's say you eat that monstrosity, and you tries [sic] to squeeze into that swimsuit again." (Over image of woman bending over in swimsuit accompanied by ripping sound.) "Oops! It's rippostoppo's (?) at just the wrong time, and Mr. Right says, 'No, that's wrong!'" (Over image of a "tall, dark, and handsome" young thin man rubbing lotion on his bare chest, looking horrified.) "But Harry Butobuco (?) over there" (over image of a fat, hairy man—to whom extra, obviously fake chest body hair has been added—wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, grinning and rubbing his hands together) "says, 'That's my humma-humma (?) lady!"

Cut to a cheap Italian restaurant where the woman is looking miserable and drinking a glass of wine. The second man is down on one knee, proposing. "He says please; you says [sic] yes, and the next thing, you and Mr. Hairybacks have fourteen ridiculously hairy childrens [sic]!" (Over image of woman bouncing a hairy baby surrounded by a bunch of screaming hairy children; her husband is now even hairier.) "You live in a shoebox, trying to afford the shampoo and razor bills!" (Over image of two little girls with fake moustaches pretending to shave each other, while the woman sits beside them, looking stricken.) "To pay for them, you end up on a reality show called Lifestyles of the Freaky Furry Family!" The woman, from inside a TV, screams: "NOOOOOO!"

Cut back to the beach. Hasselhoff presents her with the Lean Pocket on a plate and says in a baby voice: "Or, you could choose a yummy Lean Pockets pretzel bread sandwich." She looks at it, then inhales its glorious scent or whatever. "Mmmm," coos Hasselhoff. "Ahhhh," she sighs.

Over close-up images of the Lean Pocket, Hasselhoff says, "Warm, soft-baked, filled with tasty goodness—the yum-schnuckle (?) you won't regret!"

Cut back to the beach. Hasselhoff whispers conspiratorially: "I'll even throw in Hunky McHunkerson over there." He nods at the first guy, who is now looking lasciviously at the woman while running his fingers through his hair. "Ooh," observes Hasselhoff. "He is a bufft boy, ja." The woman looks back at the first guy wantingly. "It's your choice!" says Hasselhoff, throwing up his hands as if he's staying out of it. "I'm just here to help!"

Cut to the woman and the first guy pressed against each other and grinning at the camera. "Hot Pockets!" they sing, then kiss. Text Onscreen: "Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread Sandwiches." Cut back to Hasselhoff holding the plate with the Lean Pocket on it, and the woman sniffing it and breathing and oohing and ahhing, while Hasselhoff encourages her like some weirdo sandwich Svengali.

Cut to a still image of Hasselhoff in a paisley cravat, open shirt collar, and turquoise jacket, posing with a toothy grin and a raised, upturned hand. Text Onscreen: "Watch More Mr. Lean on"

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