mother: [Places plate on table.] Here’s breakfast.
daughter: [Arms-crossed with some attitude.] Just toast? Dad gives me scrambled eggs.
mother: [Places plate on table.] Scrambled eggs…
daughter: [With more attitude and a rude gesture towards the plate…] Plain scrambled eggs? Dad makes it how I want. And to drink? …juice, chocolate or coffee.
mother: [Brings some orange juice.]
daughter: And the whole wheat?
mother: [Frustrated]
Commercial voice: Our breakfasts do not have competition. Only in our restaurants do we prepare you a real breakfast, complete and your way.
[Commercial ends with father and daughter eating.]

This advertisement currently airs as part of the commercial prelude to feature films in Puerto Rico’s movie theaters. Due to its dry humor, its consistent showing during the summer offerings, and the context of the cinematic apparatus, every movie-going person now knows it by heart. The phrase ¡¿Revoltillo pelao?! has become part of everyday conversations.

On a first glance it’s a fairly standard advertisement: short and to the point. Its story relies on contemporary characters and scenarios we can quickly understand, an association it uses to explicitly inform, with a hyperbolical narrative, the benefits of this particular fast food chain. Yet, a deeper look reveals a myth(An obvious undertone of separateness is reinforced with dual settings, and a secondary narrative is told with contrasting work attires, a lack of wedding bands, and the clear attitude towards the mother which is excluded from the father) portrayed by a series of implicit messages which reference a drastic cultural shift in the Puerto Rican understanding of family values: the divorce has been socially accepted.

The unchallenged nature of this advertisement is sad news for the social status quo as it portrays parents competing for the attention of a child, a sequence that feels as the ad’s presumption of relevance (which seems to assimilate too well with observing audiences, almost as modal behavior).

Clearly, the contemporary concept of the nuclear family has changed, but I question the advertising agency’s social responsibility in the creation of this text and its latent functions. Ironically, even though I hope to not have to experience one ever, in many cases I think divorce is a flexible mechanism that can help solve many ills. And yet, as responsible social content creators, advertisers should not place audiences in situations that lead to laughter when it is based on a scenario such as the one portrayed. Designers and communicators have the responsibility to do better. This should be especially true in the field of advertising which is, as Prof Meredith Davis of NC State University says, the most socially relevant of all communication disciplines.

Irresponsible statements in communication only lead to a confused fabrication of ideal behaviors, which in the end lead to superficial and unmeaningful myths.

***UPDATE*** El Nuevo Día reported that the makers of the advertisement have decided to stop its airing.

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