Stupid Marketing Gimmick

I see quite a lot of marketing in my everyday life. But one bit of inspired marketing psy-ops has always made me smile:

It’s the Food for Life Baking Company’s Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Products, specifically, their sprouted bread. Which contains the electrolytes – your pardon, I meant the assorted sprouted grains and pulses – the Israelites presumably craved. It’s Biblical!

Except if you actually look up the chapter and verse cited, you’ll find that the bread in question was a symbolic punishment ordered by God to demonstrate how Israel would suffer if it did not repent. It was originally supposed to be cooked over a fire of human excrement, but after Ezekiel complained the order was changed to dried animal dung instead. Also, Ezekiel was supposed to eat it while lying on his side continuously for weeks at a time.

It’s also one of the many examples in the Jewish scriptures of a mixing of things or qualities being represented as bad or wrong, or as symbolic of corruption and evil. Similar cases include the prohibition against weaving with more than one type of fiber, plowing with different types of animals yoked together, and planting different crops in the same field. (Having animals of different strength and endurance levels pulling a plow seems a rather bad idea, but the other two examples rule out both modern fabrics and interplanting, which is one of the most effective and powerful low-tech agricultural techniques.)

So this bread is marketing itself on being biblical, when its biblical appearance is as an omen of suffering and a symbolic lesson of the dangers of racial and cultural intermixing.

Nice work, there.

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One Response to “Stupid Marketing Gimmick”

  1. James Scott talks a lot about “interplanting” in “Seeing Like a State”. He uses it as an example of how primitive traditions (often tied into indigenous religions) are wiser than “authoritarian high-modernism”. But according to Peter Turchin the Hebrews were historically herders rather than farmers (hence Cain is the bad sibling).

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