When is a commercial not just a commercial?
When it is played in the middle of the Super Bowl and peripherally taps into one of the biggest debates going on in the United States today: Reproductive rights.
The ad? Australian filmmaker Peter Carstairs’ unlikely story of a Doritos-obsessed foetus.
Watch the ad here (post continues after video):
In a pool of around 4,500 entrants in a Doritos competition the 45-year-old Melburnian’s commercial was one of two to air during the iconic half time break, putting him in the running to win USD$1 million. (He didn’t win in the end.)
But it also put him directly in the firing line, with pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates facing off over whether the ad was pro-choice or anti-abortion.
It was a 30 second clip in which an-almost-full-term foetus propelled itself out of the womb for a corn chip.
Pro-choice advocates NARAL said it humanised foetuses.
While some people thought it had the opposite message.
Talk about not being able to win.
Sometimes a weird advertising concept is just that.
But in the US, women’s reproductive rights have become a battleground.
In some states legislators have enacted laws that have forced abortion providers to close.
Women are being jailed for having miscarriages or not properly looking after their own health, and therefore the health of their unborn child.
The biggest abortion services provider Planned Parenthood (although abortions are just a tiny fraction of the women’s health care they provide) is constantly under threat of defunding from the US Congress and almost all the Republican presidential candidates are anti-choice.
So it’s a loaded issue.
Really, this is just an ad that was not in any way about abortion – pro, or anti.
Some people were grossed out.
Others viewed it as an impromptu biology lesson.
Expectant mothers trying to get their babies to vacate the womb were reaching for their own packets of the chips.
But the ad also had fans.
And then there were the journalists who cover US politics.
You just know it’s going to come up.