I’m Not Just…

I was flipping through the latest issue of Food Network magazine, not paying a whole lot of attention – I like looking at pictures of food, not cooking it – when something stopped me in my tracks.

“What the hell,” I wondered, “is this?”

A glossy full page.

A lot of vibrant colors.

A striking woman.

An over-the-top outfit.


A large garbage bag.

A large pink garbage bag.

This required research.

It turns out this page was not a one-off – it was one part of a much larger campaign created to convince consumers that our lives are not only incomplete, but probably pointless, if we do not immediately purchase mass quantities these:

Meet the GLAD ForceFlexPlus cherry blossom scented, grips-the-can, tall kitchen drawstrong bags with Febreze freshness.

That full-page ad in Food Network magazine was just a slice of something much bigger:

A full-blown advertising campaign that includes not just print ads, but all the social media you can think of, including Instagram, which included this montage from the commercial (more to come on that):

The campaign’s 30-second commercial made headlines earlier this month, like this:

And this:

And this:

Here’s a description of the commercial from AdAge:

“The 30-second video shows an over-the-top fete attended by glammed-up revelers.  A woman in a couture pink dress carries the bag around the house collecting leftover food and decor as the high-fashion party-goers take in the cherry blossom scent.  Finally, the host goes outside to toss the waste, looking fantastic as her schlubby neighbor looks on, grasping his leaky, stinky, boring white plastic sack.”

Here’s the woman going outside to toss the waste:

Here’s here schlubby neighbor:

There’s no dialogue in the commercial, but a sultry female voice-over intones:

“Strength…desire…ripguard technology…a fragrance this alluring could only belong to a powerful…”

(Move in for close-up)

“…trash bag.”

(Voice drops down to an equally sultry whisper)

“With superior strength.”

(Voice resumes previous level.)

“The cherry blossom fragrance, it’s all fabulous…” 

“It’s all GLAD.”

And I’m sure my fellow Americans and I are glad to know it.

But it turns out that perhaps my fellow Americans and I aren’t exactly the consumers that GLAD is looking for.

According to the articles I mentioned above, GLAD and its advertising agency…

“…created a campaign personifying the notion of being strong and fabulous:  expressed through bold attire, empowered attitude and a fabulous setting.  Inspired by luxury fragrance brands and their glamorous worlds…a trash bag experience for those that live the ‘extra’ life.”

Self-doubts assailed me.

Am I “strong and fabulous” enough for the GLAD ForceFlexPlus cherry blossom scented, grips-the-can, tall kitchen drawstring bags with Febreze freshness?

Am I living the “extra” life?

“Ultimately, the campaign positions the bag as a kind of accessory that expresses the style and bold attitude of its users.”

Do I have the “style and bold attitude” they’re looking for?

And if all this isn’t worrisome enough, check out this statement about the commercial from the GLAD director of marketing:

“Our goal is to add joy to otherwise mundane experiences…The cast lit up the room, bringing beauty and power as a manifestation of the benefits GLAD is introducing with our new product line.”

And this, from the ad agency’s executive vice president:

“As an agency, we believe the best way to connect with people is to understand their shared values.  In this campaign, we used the notion of being ‘extra’ as a way to culturally resonate with people across different demographics and sociographics who value self-expression and creativity.”

Well, I – like you – value “self-expression and creativity.”

I’m just not sure I can become “strong and fabulous” and attain that “extra” life…

From a trash bag.

Even if it is the GLAD ForceFlexPlus cherry blossom scented, grips-the-can, tall kitchen drawstring bags with Febreze freshness.

But – before I slid completely into the Slough of Despair, I discovered that GLAD has other ForceFlexPlus scented garbage bags:

And perhaps if I try all of them, I’ll find exactly the right one to represent my “style and bold attitude.”

And…perhaps I lied in this post’s headline.

I have, indeed, throughout this post been…

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