Candy UNJUNKED Video Preaches Rather Than Persuades

Because I once read a pamphlet about the food pyramid in the waiting room of a doctor's office, I do not labor under the impression that candy is good for me. Whenever I find myself mainlining nougat, I don't try to convince myself that it is a distant nutritional relative of kale. When I wake up with a hot case of the Butterfinger sweats, I don't blame Big Chocolate for forcing its wares down my throat. Personal accountability, people. All the cool kids are holding themselves to a higher standard of it.

The last thing I need, then, is a truly random assortment of celebrities telling me that, thanks to their generosity and benevolence towards all the children - even the ugly ones - they've created a better, smarter, healthier candy. That's the gist of "Get UNREAL - Candy UNJUNKED," four-plus minutes of celeb-piety that attempt to convince us that they've reinvented candy for the everything-organic era.

I know what you're thinking: "Celebrities telling me what to eat? Next thing you know, they'll be telling me who to vote for!!!" Oh, but "Candy UNJUNKED" is far more annoying than that, because it can't even figure out what it wants to be. A PSA? A straight-up product promo? A celebrity-spackled Internet sensation? By adopting a kitchen-sink approach, the clip alternately comes across as glib, self-impressed and preachy. Tonally, there are huge disconnects from one segment to the next. If you didn't know any better, you'd think whoever created this thing was hopped up on sugary goofballs.



There's the how-do-you-accomplish-this-great-Nobel-worthy-task-of-making-candy-healthy? part of the video, which commences with Gisele Bündchen brewing a snifter of mint tea in a kitchen that's far more luxuriously equipped than yours. "There's nothing better than mint tea… Everything that comes from the earth is the best, isn't it?," she testifies breathily.

Which creates a natural segue to footage of the "candy chef" on a south-of-the-border mission, foraging for only the greatest and purest ingredients to use in the production of the supercandy. In one quick sequence, we're treated to clips of workers - all paid a decent and equitable wage, I'm sure - chopping and toting around keg-sized mounts of blue agave. And lookie there - "blue agave" is listed on the candy's wrapper, just like they said it would be! Truth in advertising lives to see another day.

Then it's time for the smart-person-who-knows-better-than-you segment of our clip. It kicks off with a few quick thoughts from Tom Brady, clearly intent on wresting back the superstar-doofus-QB conch from Eli Manning. "I could eat about ten of [the candy bars]," he says doofus-ily. Then a doctor who wrote a book about something related to food or nutrition comes on screen to tell us that all candy except the UNREAL stuff is bad. Then Matt Damon (identified as Jason Bourne - hoy-o!) comes on screen to tell us that all candy except the UNREAL stuff is bad and that Nestlé and its cohorts make a lot of money "because they use the cheap products."

Need to catch your breath and reassess everything you know about sugary foodstuffs? I sure do. Thus the clip pauses for some quick shots of UNREAL products on roller coasters and on boats cruising along the Amazon, set to a techno-music soundtrack. This proves emotionally restorative.

Aaaaaand, we're back… with the but-how-does-it-taste? portion of our program, in which a bunch of kids are ushered into a white room and asked/told to choose UNREAL over the competition in a taste test. Cut to: Guy who founded Twitter, who likes the candy. Cut to: John Legend, who half-articulates his proclamation that the candy contains "no artificials, no hydrogenateds" before nodding contentedly. Tom Brady thwacks a folded football through imaginary uprights. Matt Damon yaps about "creat[ing] a movement." Doctor NoCandy talks about how we can apply this food technology to, like, burritos and other nonhealthy stuff. All the celebrities smile and laugh. Somehow, neither Kelsey Grammer nor the Laker Girls are asked to weigh in, which feels like a real oversight from where I'm sitting.

Despite its 4:11 length, the video manages to leave several questions unanswered. You know, like, "How much more do these hydrocandies cost than the contemptible Raisinet, because I'd guess that costs associated with the harvesting and importing of pure Brazilian cacao might effect a drag on one's profit margins?" And: "What candies are we talking about here? Because if you've somehow improved upon Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which have always been and will always be God's greatest creation, even greater than indoor plumbing or iPhones, you should probably trumpet this from the highest mountain, recipe-infringement concerns be damned." And, of course: "What are 'GMOs,' why are they so bad for me and why are you forcing me to pause your video so that I can look them up on the Internet and OH MY LORD COVERTLY SPLICED CANDY DNA CAN SHRINK ONE'S NAUGHTY BITS???"

So yeah, I find "Candy UNJUNKED" both overbaked and shallow – not because it forces me to reconsider my fructose-lapping ways, but because it lectures rather than persuades and attempts to wallpaper over any questions with celebrity sheen. Candy is tasty and fun. This clip ain't. I'll be turning to my two good pals, M&M, to cope with the disappointment.

3 comments about "Candy UNJUNKED Video Preaches Rather Than Persuades ".
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  1. Zachary Cochran from CPXi, September 27, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.

    Being preachy ain't great, but I pretty much hate candy (or drinks, or anything) with high-fructose corn syrup.


    That said, marketing aside, I ate some Peanut Butter Cup Candy UNJUNKED and I like them more than the original thing, which is also sitting on my desk.

  2. Sylvia Hof from Media C23, September 27, 2012 at 4:54 p.m.

    The Unreal video was made by Casey Neistat. He's done some other good work for Nike.

  3. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion, September 27, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.

    I'll just stick to high-end dark, dark chocolate, preferable organic and fair-trade, with an ingredient list something like: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, ground vanilla beans.

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