Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Touch of Mother in Your Meals

Normally, Flavors of Brazil doesn't talk too much about frozen prepared meals - you know, TV Dinners, and Weight Watchers prepared meals; that sort of thing. In fact, this blog hasn't ever talked about them, even though they are as common in Brazilian supermarkets as they are in the Safeways, Albertsons, Tesco and Carrefours of the Northern Hemisphere.

However, the other day I came across an intriguing ad for a line of frozen prepared meals in the most recent issue of the Brazilian food and wine magazine Gula that brought such a unique and different take on food advertising that I decided to share it here. I somehow can't imagine a North American version of this advertisement - perhaps in Europe you might find something similar, I don't know.

Brazilian culture, for some reason, has always had a predilection for, and an appreciation of, cross-dressing. There have been numerous doctoral theses and many academic tomes written about why this is so, and the reasons posited are complicated and complex. There certainly are some less savory aspects to this, such as the huge number of transvestite and transsexual Brazilian prostitutes inside and outside Brazil, but for the most part, cross-dressing Brazilians view cross-dressing as something lighthearted and comic. TV comedy shows in Brazil have many characters who cross-dress for comedic purposes. It's as if the earlyTV culture of Milton Berle in the USA still existed. At Carnaval time, hundreds of thousands of Brazilian men - most of them heterosexual and masculine in demeanor - can be seen dancing, drinking and singing in huge wigs, lots of make-up, a perhaps a tubetop and mini-skirt. And on a more serious note, the ceremonies of the Afro-Brazilian religion, candomblé often include male participants in female attire.

All of which brings us to the interesting point as to why the advertisement for Perdigão frozen entrées shown below would choose to highlight their slogan "Um toque de mãe nas suas refeições" (A Touch of Mother in Your Meals) in the way they have. I have to say the ad brought a smile to my face, and I definitely noticed and remember it, which is just what the ad agency who sold the idea to Perdigão told the executives of that company would happen. And that's what makes a successful ad, right?

Somehow, I can't imagine Swanson's or Weight Watchers taking a similar approach to selling their products in the pages of Bon Appetite, or any other North American food and wine magazine. The whole business of cross-dressing has become too serious and politicized by all sides of the cultural divide there to be treated as lightly and good-naturedly as it is here. I hope the ad brings a smile to your faces, too. (click on the ad to enlarge it)


  1. This is fantastic!! I copied the image to my Facebook page b/c I think everyone I know should see this! If we are going to continuously associate mothers with being domestics and housewives, at least give that stale stereotype a fun twist!

  2. Thanks for spreading the Flavors of Brazil word around the net! (and Perdigao thanks you too!)