View Full Version : Stupid, stupid, stupid...

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06-19-2012, 07:50 PM
I can't speak for the 70's, but as an 80's kid I can attest there were plenty of "it's a good time for the great taste of McDonald's" TV ads. Not to mention sugar cereals galore.

06-19-2012, 08:01 PM
there were plenty of commercials on tv for fast food back then, too.

Yes, there were commercials in the 70s but they were contained to just a few stations. In the NYC area we had Channel 2 (CBS), 4 (NBC), 7 (ABC) and Channels 5, 9, and 11 were the re-run channels. Before cable television, we weren't flipping around channels, we knew exactly what was on and when it was on because there wasn't much choice. There just wasn't as much space for fast food commercials in there. The kiddie programs were at designated times so the kiddie commercials had a smaller window of opportunity for manipulation, too. Also, the style of commericals was different back then. Sometimes I go to BoobTube and watch the commercials from my childhood and they're rather quaint and quiet in comparison to today's aggressive bombastic style. The most aggressive commericals back then were the Crazy Eddie commercials and even they seem pretty calm by today's standards.

But then cable came along in the 80s and 6 outlets became 50 billion outlets, and in the 80s everything became so big and bombastic and the big bombastic movies started to be cross-promoted in the fast food. So it wasn't enough to go see the big blockbuster movie in the theater, now you had to go to Burger King or wherever and get the toys and the cups and whatever Steven Spielberg deep-fried whickety whack was being pushed. And now kiddie programming isn't restricted to just a few hours a week, the kiddie programming is non-stop and relentless. And from some of the kiddie behavior I've watched over the past few years the kiddies aren't interested in muting the commercials, they watch the commercials with as much interest as the programs.

I think also what's different today than pre-80s is that there wasn't a McDonald's or a Burger King or KFC on every corner. So even if you *did* see a commercial for it in the 70s, you likely had to go out of your way to get it. I think that's part of what made it such a treat and made it more of an event to go there rather than a regular everyday experience. There's nothing special about fast food today. It's everywhere.

06-19-2012, 08:31 PM
Was it really different in the early 1980s? Doesn't seem so to me, but apparently obesity rates have risen greatly since then.

There was a lot of advertising, there were many fast food places, not so many Scooters/Starbucks, but most families I knew, had fast food maybe once or twice a week. Friday's was pizza night, sometimes on Mondays (when I bowled) my husband would pick up Hardee's for the kids. The kids never drank lattees or smoothies (don't kid yourselves they are not that healthy).
I am not certain about most families, but from my children and their friends, they are so busy, that drive thrus on the way to the xzy activity is the norm. Recently I met a child age 6 who was 90 pounds, he had a big appetite plus he told me that he has a latte every morning. :eek:
Didn't Taco Bell have advertising last year that said one needed the 4 meal at midnight? I believe in the 6 small meals a day, but the ad I remember was one for a large 4th meal.

06-19-2012, 09:04 PM
Junk food was definately there in the 80's - I just couldn't afford to buy it as much as I can now. :D

06-19-2012, 10:24 PM
Our family hardly ever ate out. If you did go out to eat, plates were smaller and portions were a lot smaller. Food was, relatively speaking, a higher (much higher, I think) cost as a percentage of personal income than it is today. In the mid-sixties, we could buy a quart of milk for $.21 -- equivalent to $.84 a gallon. Using the CPI from 1965 until now, $.84 then equals $6.08 now. I can buy organic milk for a whole lot less than that, and the store brand equivalent to what I had as a kid runs about $2.20 a gallon. (Average 4.3% inflation.)

06-19-2012, 10:26 PM
I do appreciate the information nonetheless. On my way to the Oregon Coast this weekend (which, BTW, is so beautiful!), I stopped by a place called Jersey Mike's Subs (so many American chain fast food places I have never heard of before). They had the calories for each sandwich, which I think is great. I wish Canada would follow suit tout de suite. Originally, I was gonna get a veggie sub but then ordered the turkey and provolone when I found out that the veggie sub was actually higher in calories.

This place, like most fast food places, had refillable drinks where you go back to the pop station to fill your cup for free. So, even with the limits placed by the NYC govt, you can drink as much as pop as you wish. You just have to walk a bit more.

Jersey Mike's is awesome!

06-19-2012, 11:17 PM
I don't know that the following had an impact but IMO it would be a consideration (since I come from a sugar is bad for you POV)..........I think the 80's is exactly when the obesity epedemic *started*. There are theories that this is tied to the corresponding "low fat" mantra that happened simultaneously. Sugar replaced the fat in many cases. The fat, at least, satiated your hunger, while the sugar spurs it on, possibly causing people to eat more total calories.

06-20-2012, 12:11 AM
I'm reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I'm in the first third, which is about the advent of nutritionism, and talks a lot about how in the 70s and 80s whole foods began to be replaced in the mind of Americans by the nutrients that were in them. Saturated fat became the Big Evil, and people were advised to eat less saturated fat as a percentage of total calories. Therefore, a lot of people started eating a lot of carbs, but rarely actually cut out the amount of fat they were eating, or replaced the fat with carbs, but lots of carbs. And, after they got rid of a prior law required imitation foods to label themselves as imitations, and after the nutrients became more important than the foods themselves, brands started marketing themselves like crazy based on those nutrients. So something totally awful for you that had some fiber - like sugary cereals - would paste TONS OF FIBER or some equivalent on their boxes, and people would feel that that gave them leave to eat a ton of that product - because they were being told to eat that nutrient, so a lot of that nutrient is good, right?

I'm trying to summarize 73 pages of stuff so far :lol: So I hope that all makes sense. But I highly recommend the book. It's my favorite Michael Pollan book so far, and the whole first third is just about what we're currently talking about - why people started getting fat in the 80s (though it sort of started in the 60s).

One of the most interesting things to me was that the very first committee appointed to figure out why rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes were rising (in the 60s) delivered a very uncompromising, simple recommendation: eat less meat. The meat companies all went apeshit, the head of that committee was never re-elected again, and subsequently all recommendations were phrased in terms of nutrients (eat less saturated fat).

06-20-2012, 01:41 AM
I think also what's different today than pre-80s is that there wasn't a McDonald's or a Burger King or KFC on every corner. So even if you *did* see a commercial for it in the 70s, you likely had to go out of your way to get it.
We had to go to Hackensack :)

06-20-2012, 02:13 AM
We had to go to Hackensack :)

River Street? :lol:

06-20-2012, 03:40 AM
I don't know about the 80s. I was a child of the 80s and I loved me some Big Macs. I remember always going to McDonald's for birthday parties. Older relatives who see me now after a long time apart always recall me wanting to eat a Big Mac. Oh, so funny!

I seem to remember portion sizes at McDonald's as being smaller in the 80s than today.

This is interesting: http://www.divinecaroline.com/22177/49492-portion-size-vs-now

06-20-2012, 04:06 AM
I seem to remember portion sizes at McDonald's as being smaller in the 80s than today.

This is interesting: http://www.divinecaroline.com/22177/49492-portion-size-vs-now

Those are some fascinating images. I remember the small bagels. And in my memory, they tasted better because there was a much higher surface to area ratio than with today's giant bagels. And, if you got one, you either ate it plain, or with a thin smear of cream cheese. At least around here, that 330 calorie bagel is then spread with a solid quarter cup or more of cream cheese. :eek: Urp.

06-20-2012, 05:16 AM
I don't disagree, but are these the same kids who are regularly getting dinner at McDonalds? Somehow I don't think the parents of these kids are also introducing them to sushi.
In the case of my kids' friends, yes, they are the same kids. They are exposed to more people from other cultures and their foods but also eat a lot of junk food. It's been interesting to watch.

I grew up in the 60s and there wasn't much junk food around. We had ONE McDonalds anywhere near us and we might go once a month. There was no Burger King. There were some fast foods places that weren't chains (like this great place that sold Philly Cheesesteaks) but I have more fast food restaurants just within 10 minutes of my house than we had within an hour of the house growing up.

I would say this started to change in the 70s but it really exploded starting in the 80s.

06-20-2012, 11:53 AM
I seem to remember portion sizes at McDonald's as being smaller in the 80s than today.

Drink sizes definitely were smaller. I think the fry sizes might have been smaller too.

06-20-2012, 01:23 PM
I know this is focusing on just one item, but the bagels around here were always the larger ones. I wonder if it's location. Living in the NJ/NY/CT area, bagels are a food group :lol:.