Bought a tube of Jaffa Cakes to accompany the coffee while watching the Oscars on Monday morning. Not my usual tipple, but really nice, let’s be honest. Anyway, I was just squashing the empty tube up for recycling this morning and I noticed that Jaffa Cakes are no longer a tasty little sponge biscuit with a smashing orangey bit in the middle. No! They are now an aid to fitness and health.
The side of the tube says, “EAT HEALTHILY: McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Each Jaffa Cake contains lots of energy, and only 1.0g of fat per cake. That is why they are recommended by sports nutritionists.” How proud these sports nutritionists must be for having “recommended” and “endorsed” a cake. (I like the way they refer to the weight of fat as “1.0g”, as if that’s less than “1g” – look, it’s got nothing after the decimal point! That’s how low the fat content is!) I’m glad a sports nutritionist isn’t giving me dietary advice. (Actually, it’s probably just two sports nutritionists, not all of them. McVitie’s should name them, especially with the Olympics coming up.)
Furthermore, the tube itself says it is “IDEAL FOR SPORTS BAGS”. Now, this is meaningless, because a sports bag is just a bag. They may as well say, “IDEAL FOR BAGS” (which doesn’t, I admit, have the same dynamic ring). But you can see the implication: it looks a bit like a tube of tennis balls, thus it’s for eating between serves. (Hey, don’t get your tube of tennis balls and your tube of Jaffa Cakes mixed up! You wouldn’t want to eat a ball and play tennis with a cake!) Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s smashing that fitness is back in vogue and that people are more aware of health problems and their links to what we eat, but let’s not fool ourselves: Jaffa Cakes are cakes. They are eaten for pleasure. They are not put in sports bags, except by people who aren’t planning on using the bag for sports but are in fact using it to transport cakes.
Memo to marketing dept: why not just sell Jaffa Cakes as “really nice”? It would stop McVitie’s looking like fucking idiots.