Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Legal Wife: Soap Opera or Sardine Opera...

Thank heavens for sardines.
I was not rally paying any attention when I heard a TV station doing a promotional ad on its top rating show "The Legal Wife."  

Upon third or fourth hearing, I turned around from the computer and paid attention to the TV and there it was again: Join the promo and win a daily supply of sardines.

Three things violently entered my mind there and then:

1. Is this for real?
2. Is this sane?
3. Isn't this insulting?

Obviously, this is for real.

This promo is different from the others not because of its mechanics, I mean, I have seen them all, but what made this promo different is because of its prize: the lucky winner will get a daily supply of two pieces of canned sardines. The promo did not mention if the supply is for eternity, for a lifetime,  or for as long as the show is being shown on TV. There is no mention of the duration of the supply. 

Soap operas are sponsored by soap brands.
This is product placing. The soap opera has some of its protagonists working in a canned sardine manufacturer. I don't know if the management thought of this to attract sardine manufacturers to sponsor the program or if there was a prior product placing agreement, but it easy enough to think who the sponsors would be. "Soap operas" are called soap operas because their main sponsors are soap manufacturers, so its only logical--and ground breaking at that--to call the Legal Wife a "Sardine Opera". 

Is this sane?

Anyway...

Canned sardine together with rice are the backbone of
relief goods.
I have nothing against canned sardines. It is food and I'm not even going to demean or degrade the food as cheap or whatever. Keep in mind that canned sardines saved a lot of lives and is still saving lives in times of disasters and other emergencies.

But there's something about it, there's a psychological stigma attached to canned sardines.

The Philippines is one of the most typhoon hit countries in the world and from the recent super typhoons and abnormal monsoon rains that have created large scale floods, water and wind surges that caused huge losses in lives and properties in the country, canned sardines have become the staple of relief food operations along with instant noodles and other "instant" products. Add to natural disasters are the insurgency problem in the south that have displaced a lot of communities.

How may ways to cook canned sardines?
From the TV specals i have seen on TV,
I believe it is safe to assume the the Filipinos
are the only people in the world who have
created hundreds of ways to prepare and
cook food with canned sardines as the main
ingredient.
After typhoon Yolanda wrecked havoc in the Visayas, canned sardines become the primary ingredients of everything the typhoon victims cook. 

The Filipinos creativity was tested to its limit when faced with the situaton of eating the same food over and over again. They have invented many ways of cooking and preparing food to beat the monotony and at the same time aiming at getting the balanced daily nutrition they need. 

But still,  I could only imagine the pervading fishy and metallic aroma of the canned sardines that permeated the air almost everywhere and for weeks in the affected areas especially evacuation sites that volunteers, journalists and even the victims themselves said it's already sickening.  

Whether we like it or don't, through experience and media exposure our minds are conditioned into connecting canned sardines with disasters and relief operations.

Consciously or unconsciously we don't like to be reminded of our helplessness of being victims. 

Isn't this insulting?

I don't know what's in the mind of the people who thought of this gimmick but giving away sardines as a prize?

I have only two hypothesis:

1. Somebody up there an employee, an executive, someone connected to the station is writing a masteral thesis or a doctoral dissertation on "the application of simian intelligence in advertising" from some veterinary college.

2. Somebody up there must have an abnormal predilection for eating sardines.

 Anyway...gonna have my lunch..."tortang sardinas na maanghang". See, I love the stuff but I don't like it being given to me as a prize...a motorcycle or an internet TV is more like it.

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