The Silliest Commercial: The Laughing Cow/La Vache Qui Rit, A Guest Post by Johanna van Zanten

Posted on February 27, 2015


Johanna is “a late bloomer who started writing my first short story when I turned sixty. As a newly single woman, with a lot of time on my hands and a wish to write a book, I got the hint and just started writing realizing, if not now, when?  
I continued writing short stories and another book, not published yet. I am a social worker by trade, was born and raised in the sexy sixties in The Netherlands, and immigrated to Canada for love at age 33. My blog on WordPress I am inviting others to stop by some time, and let me know what you think…”

Don’t you hate those ads where animals talk and eat, or food is prepared for consumption, while the food is thinking and talking (and feeling?), like those M&M ads.
Then they are all happy about being eaten too…although the super-sized M&M talks back to the father, who wants to get the M&M for a snack for the family while watching TV: “You get in’a bowl…” Unbelievable and weird, although its cheeky response is funny somehow. I wonder who comes up with those things.

The most idiotic TV commercial in my opinion is the one where the cows make cheese from their own breast milk in a happy factory on a musical set, chop it and pack it in cute little triangles, and then happily eat it with the whole family. Who would do that–cows or people!?!
In no way is it feasible that even anybody would like to eat a product made out of breast milk. Who has heard of that? The idea is weird and quite repulsive, don’t you think?

As a breast-fed baby born a few years after the end of the World War II, (no other options were readily available), I  breast feed my own baby too. I must have embarrassed some people by breast-feeding in public as well in the eighties in Canada.
Now we believe milk is food, but it’s a natural food for babies only. You won’t let anybody else drink it, if you were a lactating mother, would you? That would be a deviant sexual thing…..

In the case of cow-mothers, the milk is meant for calves. If you think some more about it, you wouldn’t even want to drink cow’s milk, as it is such a private cow-calf thing.
That’s why the milk production is sanitized to the hilt in more than the visual presentation: through processing it hardly contains any of the goodness and fats that it naturally contains. It is pasteurized and packed in cartons, the milk hidden from view, until it guzzles down your throat, or you pour it from the square box into your cereal bowl.

I guess the producers count on the fact that nobody associates milk with cows’ breast milk. I hope for the parent that their kids are still curious enough to start asking questions about this, when they watch the commercials, as it might make many parents cringe and try avoid answers, but be a good teaching opportunity.

When we drink milk, we don’t see pictures in our head of cows being stabled, their teats cleaned before being hooked up to equipment. We don’t see the large amounts of the milk that the robots pump from their teats. We never see a cow feeding a calf naturally, not on TV and not in real life.
We have domesticated cows at mega-farms (somewhere else in the country) to such extent that their calves are never with their mothers. Their babies are separated, as soon as they are viable and can be fed without their cow mother. Yet, we don’t consider that cruel or unusual, and accept that without questioning.

In that light, I find it rather surprising that the producer of the cheese triangles would want to point out that cows do possess, by some miraculous method, motherly feelings, and have milk. Amazingly, our attention is drawn to the fact that in the commercial, the cows children–the calves–eat the cheese made from  the milk. Only thing that is rather strange: that we do not get to know from the commercial’s clip that the milk actually comes from the cow’s teats, which are the equivalent to breasts in a human! I guess we’re just supposed to think the milk comes from somewhere else on the farm….


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