The conservative pressure group One Million Moms called this "the most disgusting ad ... we have ever seen Kraft produce." (Photo: Kraft Foods)
A salad dressing ad that leaves a little to the consumer imagination has drawn the ire of conservative Christians who object to having a nearly naked "Zesty Guy" be the life of the picnic.
AdWeek reported on the "Shame on Kraft" campaign by One Million Moms, an arm of the American Family Association, which issued a tart rebuke to the food giant's current print advertising for its "Zesty Italian" salad dressing.
The magazine spread stars birthday-suited model Anderson Davis ("The Zesty Guy") sprawled across a red-and-white checkered picnic table cloth, a corner of which strategically covers his male signifier. He lounges beside a basket, a bottle of wine, grapes, bread and, least prominently, the product he's serenely hawking.
Not taking the affront lying down, OMM declared it "the most disgusting ad on the inside front cover that we have ever seen Kraft produce."
"A full 2-page ad features a n*ked man lying on a picnic blanket with only a small portion of the blanket barely covering his g*nitals. It is easy to see what the ad is really selling."
(OMM said it used asterisks to get past certain spam filters.)
The organization's dressing down continued:
"Kraft has gone too far and will push away loyal, conservative customers with this new ad campaign," "Christians will not be able to buy Kraft dressings or any of their products until they clean up their advertising. The consumers they are attempting to attract - women and mothers - are the very ones they are driving away. Who will want Kraft products in their fridge or pantry if this vulgarity is what they represent?
"One Million Moms cannot get over the gall of this company. It is unnecessary for Kraft to use s*x to sell salad dressing!"
Naturally, Kraft Foods defends its "Let's Get Zesty" campaign, which has shaken up a certain video channel.
The ad "is a playful and flirtatious way to reach our consumers. People have overwhelmingly said they're enjoying the campaign and having fun with it," said the conglomerate, based outside Chicago.
Kraft and "The Zesty Guy" are loving the exposure, if his Twitter feed is any measure.
"Both HOT and Hilarious."
"Watching zesty commercials all night.. drooling over @andersondavis. ... Thank you."
"If you can't handle the Zesty Italian, get out of the kitchen."
As always, sex does indeed sell.
A counter group has been created on Facebook for fans of the ads called, One Million Moms who love the Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Ads.
Michael Winter, USA TODAY