Mixed Signals: Miracle Whip Offers New Motivation for Divorce

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising,
branding, and messaging.

People love contests. Especially contests that give cash prizes. Miracle Whip got this part right in
their contest titled Not for Every Relationship. The winner is awarded $25,000. So far, so good.

Then things get goopy.

Submissions are via video, in which contestants are to explain how Miracle Whip has either
enhanced or destroyed their relationship. Contest rules state: “Tell us your story in 60 seconds or
less for a chance to win $25K towards your wedding . . . or divorce.”

It’s possible that many of the submissions were couples simply trying to be the most entertaining
in order to win the prize. And I doubt that couples going to divorce court would site Miracle
Whip as the cause of irreconcilable differences.

Yes, this contest is all in good fun. I realize Miracle Whip just wanted a fun way to juxtapose its
adoring fans with those who prefer plain old mayonnaise.

The part I am uncomfortable with the casual way in which marriage and divorce are presented.
Getting a divorce for any reason is devastating to everyone involved (always at the top of the list
of life’s most stressful events
). This contest suggests that a divorce over condiment preferences is
something comical.

In real life, with your friends and family, when has divorce ever been casual or humorous?

This is advertising’s formula for success: making light of something serious and making grave
something that isn’t. But beyond the marketing hype, the message is what we need to judge.
That’s why discernment is needed, because those messages may be packaged within a humorous
contest, making things palatable that never would be otherwise.

So be sure to check what the advertising machine is feeding you—it may go down with a giggle
but it will have its revenge upon the way we approach very serious matters in life.

About Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Associate Editor) is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant, helping organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways. After a stint in corporate marketing while earning her MBA, Erin taught marketing communications at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State. She is crafting her first book, writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike. Find more from Erin at her blog Filling My Patch of Sky and on Twitter @ErinStraza.
E-mail: erin [at] FillingMyPatchOfSky [dot] com
Blog: Filling My Patch of Sky
Twitter: @ErinStraza

  • Jeff Schultz

    I saw this and thought, “Building a loving marriage is difficult enough without drawing lines in the sand over your preference of sandwich spreads.”

    Although now I have a new illustration to use in premarital counseling.

  • http://www.FillingMyPatchOfSky.com Erin Straza

    @Jeff > I agree! And I thought, “We live in America. Condiments are cheap. You can buy both kinds of spread—no need to make this an issue!”


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