As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been living in Europe for the past year. (I’m not naming the country so it can’t be Googled, but if you’re familiar with the language, you’ll recognize it from this post.) I have found it very entertaining to watch TV here and see the differences from the US, and something that stood out to me is this yogurt commercial that I totally adore. It personifies hunger as this so-ugly-it’s-cute troll figure, Pikku Nälkä (Little Hunger) that bugs you during the day. The way to get it to stop bothering you? Eat!
I am reminded of the Weight Watchers commercials that Brian talked about here, where hunger is also personified as a monster. This monster is even cuter than Pikku Nälkä, but the message in this commercial is that dieting is the way to get rid of the monster, which is completely nonsensical. When I dieted, hunger followed me around all day long – diets just prolonged and amplified my hunger. As well as made me feel like there was something wrong with me for even having an appetite! I was really struck by the difference between the two commercials – eating to satisfy one’s hunger seems like such a no-brainer, but it certainly isn’t a message that gets much play in US mainstream media.
I am also intrigued by the personification of hunger as a monster in both commercials. Certainly hunger seemed monstrous to me when I dieted, and I fought against it so fervently as if it were an enemy. Now my hunger is so useful. It lets me know when I need to refuel, and it sparks my appetite so I am able to enjoy my food. Were I to personify it for myself, I might think of it as a guardian angel of sorts, tapping me on the shoulder to wake me up to the need and desire for food. Except that I think there is something to the image of the cute monster – it makes me think of when I get too hungry and start to get cranky and snarly and out of sorts, and a cute-ugly troll seems the perfect representation for that feeling.
Then I eat, and me and my Pikku Nälkä settle back down, soothed and satisfied.