No Product Placement Here

The phrase real food has been thrown around a lot since Nina Planck and Michael Pollan started using it, but what does it mean to you? “To me, it’s this creamy, colloidal beige stuff, made in a giant factory, that’s shelf-stable for months at room temperature,” sarcastically muses Bonnie (a.k.a. Dairy Queen) of the Ethicurean. In a funny post, Bonnie chronicles her exchange with the ad-agency rep who approached her last week about a new campaign he’s working on for Hellmann’s mayonnaise (or Best Foods to all you West Coasters):

He said they wanted to hear my thoughts on real food. If they liked my description, they’d feature the post on the Yahoo Food site they’d set up, where ‘celebrity chef’ Dave Lieberman is blogging and posting videos about Americans and real food. In case I was worried that they just wanted to help me advertise mayonnaise, oh no.

‘Our aim is not to get you to talk about Hellmann’s or mayo, but to get your authentic view on what “real food” means to you so we can share it as part of our site,’ said the email. ‘To that end, your post does NOT have to mention our campaign or anything about Hellmann’s.’

The Yahoo! blog is part of a multimillion-dollar campaign that’s meant to dispel the common belief that Hellmann’s/Best Foods’s eerily long-lasting mayo is unhealthy or unnatural. But so far no bloggers have taken the bait, and Derrick from An Obsession With Food offers a concise explanation of why not:

Taste the real thing, and you’ll wonder how anyone considers Hellmann’s to be mayonnaise. The real sauce is a snap to make, especially if you use a food processor. It only keeps for a week in the refrigerator, instead of the months and months that Hellmann’s will hold up, but which expiration date sounds more like real food?

Word up, and a big wag of the finger to Yahoo! for slipping this advertorial into its “original” content. Not that I wasn’t half expecting some lameness from the site. In fact, I’d thought that the recipe section would be the one component of YF that I would find useful, but it looks like even that has been co-opted by “partner” companies (witness Exhibit A). Bummer.