Why I Won’t Buy Oreo Fudge Cremes
Posted on 04.18.11 by Danny Glover @ 8:28 pm

As our young children and I watched television Saturday evening, I saw a commercial for a new product called Oreo Fudge Cremes. My sweet tooth was sold by the visuals in the ad, and I told the kids we would have to buy these fudge-coated cookies soon.

But a few hours later, after the kids were in bed and my wife and I were watching TV, the commercial played again. This time my ears heard the words of the ad, and I was not impressed.

The specific words that caught my attention, an exclamation uttered by the mother in the ad, were “Shut the front door!” They may look innocuous in written form, but the inflection in the mother’s voice and the context of the ad made me think she was sending an entirely different message — and a vulgar one at that — to myself and millions of other viewers.

The “f” in “front” sounded like code for the “f” in a four-letter word — one of the few dirty words the FCC still won’t let people say on TV.

I had never heard the euphemism “shut the front door” to imply “shut the [expletive] up” before, so I gave Nabisco the benefit of a doubt. Before making an unfair judgment, I Googled “shut the front door”; I was not surprised by the results.

That I had to turn to the Urban Slang Dictionary and Online Slang Dictionary to answer my question speaks volumes about the etymology of the phrase. But what I learned is that proud-to-be-crude radio host Jason (Buckethead) Bailey coined the phrase precisely as a way to curse while avoiding FCC sanctions for indecency on the air.

I also learned that the makers of the Oreo ad clearly knew this and willfully chose to degrade America’s commercial culture another notch. The ad immediately caught the attention of advertising industry experts, undoubtedly part of the target audience.

The Adweek analysis gets to the heart of why I hate this Oreo ad so much: “Mom’s ‘Shut the front door’ line will surely be repeated in actual, nonhyperbolic families during the course of the spot’s TV run.”

Yes, and our impressionable, home-schooled children, who know neither the f-word nor the subtle techniques of worldly ad wizards, may be among those who repeat it in ignorance, thinking it’s just a goofy exclamation. And they may think me a fuddy-duddy for insisting that saying “shut the front door” makes people hear something they wouldn’t want to say.

“That’s distracting and not really humorous, at least to this mom,” Dallas Morning News arts editor Leslie Snyder said after she saw the ad.

So Nabisco, you hooked me with the promise of a tasty new treat, but you blew it with your too-clever-by-half ad strategy. Don’t expect to sell any Oreo Fudge Cremes to my family — and do expect me to warn our wholesome friends that you’re no longer a family-friendly advertiser.


Filed under: Advertising and Business and Food and Home Schooling and Parenting and Video
Comments:

23 Comments »

  1. It’s little different than what Disney and other companies have been producing in their cartoons for decades. Do a youtube search on “cartoon hidden message.” Some are a stretch and some are obvious.

    Comment by Tom — April 18, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  2. Precisely, Tom, which is why we are careful about which cartoons and kids’ movies, Disney or otherwise, that we let our children watch. Just because it says Disney or Pixar doesn’t mean it’s clean. Everyone in Hollywood loves to be “edgy,” and sadly, that too often means vulgar and/or suggestive.

    Comment by K. Daniel Glover — April 18, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  3. I saw that ad, and I too was offended. Immediately offended. It just sounded like she was gonna say that other thing and it was shocking. Good for you to not buy those cookies. They aren’t all that good for me anyways. I have plenty of waistline to loose and not buying cookies is the deal!

    Comment by Katy the blogger — April 21, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  4. Thank you! I heard it and thought she was going to say the other word, and immediately wondered…did they do it on purpose. And knowing Madison Ave I knew, of course they did. Thanks for doing the legwork. For some reason they love to have Moms and Grandmas being vulgar. Probably because those are supposed to be the people who hold the culture together and civilize things.

    Comment by Susie — April 24, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  5. I haven’t seen the commercial, but this is quite disturbing. I’ve seen and heard even teens and pre-teens knowingly saying disgusting “code phrases” with the excuse that they’re not saying “bad” words. Oh, yeah? When one phrase becomes a stand-in for foul language, yes, they’re saying the same thing. I’ve also seen young adults laughing at younger people who don’t know what they’re saying. It’s not all in fun. It is discouraging, and encourages foul attitudes and language. To me it encourages the attitude of: After all, isn’t it what you can get away with that counts? …whether in life or in the media? That’s the wrong road to travel on.

    Comment by Gina — June 7, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  6. You really need to find something else to help you occupy your time. This is one of the most frivolous blogs I have ever run across on the World Wide Web. I regret ever trying to locate the one responsible for coining the term “shut the front door.” I think my IQ dropped a few points by simply reading this web-log. Please, for the sake of your children, get off your “high horse” and come down to earth.

    Comment by Anna — June 10, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  7. @Anna - I find it interesting that you feel this is a frivolous topic and yet you had to stop and put in your opinion. Maybe, just maybe, you should look for something better to occupy your time (especially at 2:45am!) than to give a hard time to the average American who doesn’t wish to see our future corrupted. And your final line “Please, for the sake of your children, get off your “high horse” and come down to Earth.” is preposterous. There is not “elitist” or “high horse” attitude here, simply people being willing to stand up for what they believe (I believe that is called FREEDOM). It appears from your statements that you have apathy for creating an America where the children are disrespectful and vulgar. That attitude is what is contributing to the dumbing down of America and causing the country to fall behind in nearly all areas.

    Comment by Lisa — July 13, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  8. I admit I’m not nearly as bothered by this commercial as some. First of all, English is full of lesser profanity. We say shucks, darn, dang, gosh and heck all without thinking. Flip and frick are also quite common. This, to me, just follows that same pattern. It seems entirely logical to me that phrases like this will crop up to replace phrases that are much more vulgar, and without all of the attention, this phrase might harmlessly evolve into a common phrase that isn’t offensive. I don’t know about you, but when I hear someone say “beats the heck out of me!” or “where did I put my dang glasses?” my brain doesn’t translate these phrases into their more vulgar counterparts. They’ve become so familiar and engrained that they’re simply common phrases that have their own meaning. Frankly, I’d rather have my child say shut the front door, than to repeat the alternative. Perhaps a national ad campaign like this actual serves the purpose of helping a replacement phrase for vulgarity “catch on” so that everyone uses it instead of dropping the f-bomb. And, it almost goes without saying that by reposting the video on your blog for all of the concerned parents out there, you’re helping it become viral and aiding in the effort to replace the vulgar phrase with something much more palatable. I suppose at the end of the day the real shame falls on those who listen a phrase like shut the front door but hear something vulgar instead!

    Comment by Mr. Rational — July 15, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  9. I thought the oreo commercial was funny and if you’re that shocked from a commercial you probably find it hard to ever leave the house. I honestly hope that you aren’t as snobby as you sound and the freedom that you refrenced above goes in both directions, you would be wise to remember.

    Comment by Martha — July 20, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  10. Sucks for you guys… these things are delicious. I would continue to buy them even if she said the actual words. Get over your pretentious selves.

    Comment by Matt — July 24, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

  11. @Anna You really need to find something else to help you occupy your time. I find it totally amazing that you would criticize the blog that evidently sated your curiosity on what the phrase meant or where it was coined. Now that you’ve found your answer you’re going to criticize the person who took the time to research the topic for you. On the subject of the phrase. I immediately upon hearing it the first time I thought I heard the same thing. It sounded like a curse phrase. It is up to the parent to explain to their children about bi-words or words that sound like or are meant to imply a curse word.

    Comment by AH — July 27, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  12. I’ve seen this commercial several times and it is inappropriate and out of place. The Mom’s comment was so out of place for the situation. Burger King did the same thing a year ago with the Sir Mixalot commercial.

    Comment by mattie — August 2, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  13. It’s a funny commercial! Get over yourselves.

    Comment by May Frank — August 7, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  14. Complaining about words we use every day in a commercial and you have a gun in the top banner. And you use the word Redneck in your header…. how offensive…. harumph

    Comment by bobby — August 10, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

  15. Are you people serious? Shut the front door offends you? You really need help, that is not in the least bit offensive, it was something used eons ago by my great great grandmother before that word you keep trying to turn it into was thought of. Come on, it’s an innocent old fashioned expression which basically mean’s “that’s incredible” nothing more. I think you all grew up in the wrong time era if you take this wrong, or have the wrong frame of mind. you’re really missing something good, if that’s the case and need to think of things more legit that does harm to your kids. I agree, Redneck is far more harmful then “Shut the front door” is, and an insult to some people, you’re lucky you’re not sued for using it.

    Comment by Sherry — September 13, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  16. I cannot believe this blog is serious. You are payhrtic and really need to lighten up. Your poor children must live under tight scrutiny and a strict regimen. I get trying to keep children from using and hearing profanity, but you are blatanly exaggerating. It’s a funny, light-hearted commercial. Grow up and look at the world around you, is this really something to take so seriously? Really?! Wake up and smell the coffee honey, if you stay under that rock you live under for the rest of your life you are going to miss out on reality.

    Comment by Mar — May 4, 2012 @ 4:19 am

  17. Unbelievable! I thought they had taken this commercial off the air - hoping it was off the air! I am by no means perfect but this commercial instantly made me mad. Really?!!! If you don’t instantly think they are going to say shut the “F” up your nuts and if you don’t think your kids are thinking that your stupid.
    Nabiso is smarter than this … Or maybe they are really smart?

    Comment by Watishka — June 6, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  18. You people are so picky… Like your home is a place of purity… If you think Nabisco will lose a penny over your decision not to buy them, then hold your breath. You can’t control every little thing that happens in the world; try controlling your emotions. Unbelievable

    Comment by j. robison — June 30, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  19. I did not hear anything vulgar with this expression, “shut the front door”. As Sherry said…this is an old saying which means it is simply amazing! Sorry y’all are making a “mountain out of a molehill”….

    Comment by Barb — July 4, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  20. That saying was first on a gum commercial, I think. Before the Oreo commercial.

    Comment by Emily — July 22, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  21. Wow, get a sense of humor. You’re extraordinarily lame.

    Comment by jennifer — August 17, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  22. Probably not the worst thing in the world that you are opting to not buy these things for your family. I think you should be more offended that they are allowed to advertise to kids for products that do nothing of benefit for you or your family. Stfd seems like the least offensive thing in the whole debacle.

    Comment by Jim — August 18, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

  23. It’s not freedom if your trying to censor the world. Children do best in stable environments where they are able to develop an understanding of real world problems and come to their own understanding of right and wrong and decency, NOT a sheltered absent of thought.

    Comment by Casey — September 12, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

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