Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum, in vanum laborant qui aedificaverunt eam - "Unless the Lord built the house, they worked in vain who built it" Ps. 127

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Life Sells Chips (or, Chips Sell Life)

An earlier version of this Worth Revisiting post first appeared on 8 February 2016 on the blog Principium et Finis. To enjoy the work of other faithful Catholic bloggers please see Worth Revisiting Wednesday, hosted by Elizabeth Reardon at and Alison Gingras at

If you want to sell something, what better place than the most-watched television program of the year?  That, as those who follow American football and/or American pop culture could tell you, would be the Super Bowl, the National Football League’s annual championship game. Small wonder that advertisers spend millions of dollars for a single 30 second ad during the broadcast. Most often these ads are for things like beer, cell phones, cars, insurance, etc., but sometimes something a little different shows up.  Six years ago, for instance, Focus on the Family ran a pro-life ad featuring the mother of college football star Tim Tebow, which created a lot of discussion about the cause of life and, as I detailed in this post last week, saved at least one life.

Freddy Carstairs appearing in Doritos Super Bowl Ad (image from youTube)

    A Super Bowl ad promoting human life made waves again last night [7 Feb 2016] . . . but not in quite the same way as the Tebow ad did.  The commercial in question was advertising Doritos tortilla chips.  In this one, we see a mother happily looking at an ultrasound image of her late-stage unborn baby on a monitor; the mother then turns to her husband, who is contentedly munching on Doritos.  To the mother’s increasing annoyance, the father waves one of the salty snacks in front of the screen, where we can see the unborn baby reaching for the chip.  Finally, the exasperated mother grabs the chip from her husband’s hand and hurls it at her feet, at which point the unborn baby on the monitor, apparently eager to eat the chip, appears to dive for the “exit”, at which point the mother goes into labor.
    First of all, it’s a pretty sure bet that this ad is not intended (certainly not by Frito-Lay, the producer of Doritos) to make a pro-life statement.  According to an article at, the creator of the ad, an Australian filmmaker named Peter Carstairs, came up with the idea when he saw ultrasound images of his unborn son Freddy (who was born last year), and thought it would be a funny and (most importantly) an effective way to sell chips.  Frito-Lay chose Carstairs’ ad because it tested well and was unusual enough to stand out from the the welter of weird and ridiculous ads striving to make an impression upon Super Bowl viewers.

Ultrasound baby reaching for chip (image from Youtube)
    And make an impression it did, in some cases positive, in some, well, less so.  Apparently, NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League) found this tortilla-affirming commercial to be guilty of the shameful “antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses” (see article here), demonstrating yet again that pro-abortion fanatics cannot abide any suggestion that unborn humans are, well, human.  That’s why they insist on using dehumanizing terms like “fetus”.  That is also why they despise ultrasound, because sonograms make unavoidably obvious the already irrefutable scientific fact that unborn babies are not just “clumps of cells”, but little people.  Their objection to this particular commercial is not so much that the “fetus” is doing things that an unborn baby can’t do (which everybody watching knows: that's what makes it funny), but that the ultrasound image is being shown at all.  That’s why they fight tooth and nail against laws mandating that women seeking abortion first be shown an ultrasound of the “product of conception” in their womb, because ultrasound,  even ordinary ultrasound images of unborn humans doing ordinary things, changes minds.  As I detail in my post "The Truth Is Pro Life":

    The abortion providers can only argue that simply requiring them to show truthful, unaltered pictures of what (or more accurately, as the images show, who) is being aborted will dissuade some of their customers.  A federal court, in striking down one of these laws in North Carolina, said in its decision [according to pro-life attorney Howard Slugh] that the law “explicitly promotes a pro-life message by demanding the provision of facts that all fall on one side of the abortion debate.”  Notice that the law does not require the suppression of “facts” that fall on the other side of the debate: it simply requires that the mother know all the facts before undergoing abortion, and the facts happen to be pro-life.  And so the abortionists are reduced to asking the court to help them hide the plain, incontrovertible truth.  As Slugh notes:

All these sources agree that the more a mother knows about her child, the less likely she is to abort him.  This is not because ultrasound images are misleading or politicized; it is because they supply a mother with truthful information necessary for making an informed choice.

Champion of Human Life?

    Last night’s silly little Doritos ad, has (most likely unintentionally) reminded millions of people about the truth of human life in the womb. Again, I doubt very much that Frito-Lay was trying to make a pro-life statement with their ad: they probably saw it as just a funny take on an everyday experience that would make people laugh and, consequently, help sell their product.  It’s quite possible that, if they determine that the unfavorable attention from abortion promoters is hurting the bottom line, they may issue an apology and pull the ad from the internet (if YouTube doesn’t do it first).*  Let’s hope not; we shouldn’t allow the abortion industry and its apologists to silence the Truth.  Who knows? It might even be worth buying a bag of chips . . .   

*A year later, the ad is still there:

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