J500 Media and the Environment

BASF is Even Making our Twinkies Better? by justinh79

“We don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” – BASF slogan

Remember this? It had the woman’s voice. It was so comforting.

This slogan immediately popped into my mind as I was reading reading Don Lee’s piece, China’s additives on the menu in U.S. in Twinkies Deconstructed. I laughed inside, but then I had to think about what that slogan meant. I had heard it throughout my childhood, and I used to think, “cool – they make stuff better for me. Right on.”

...we make the Twinkies you buy better.

...we make the Twinkies you buy better.

But was BASF talking to us? Or to corporations? Were they saying that they make the products we buy safer and more durable? Or were they saying to corporations that they make the products they buy cheaper by teaming up with other businesses that offer cut-rate goods that are eventually sold to us?

I’ll go with them trying to make the products we buy safer. In the story BASF is presented in a dim light. They have closed down chemical plants in the West and partnered up with Chinese businesses that get to operate under looser environmental regulations. The Chinese group Ningbo Wanlong, the world’s largest maker of sorbic acid according to the article, sells their product for cheap and pays their employees on average less than $200 a month. Yeah, but Ningbo Wanglong has 400 employees who wear “white gloves and gray uniforms” – so it’s cool.

Just seeing BASF’s name in this particular story gave me a temporary perspective on an advertising campaign that defined, or at least comforted, my childhood. Luckily, it was only temporary.

Justin T. Hilley


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The slogan BASF uses to comfort and reassure people does exactly that. Unfortunately the mass majority of people take their word for it and allow themselves to be ignorant to the truth. We are all going to have to educate ourselves and each other in order to obtain higher quality standards.

Comment by christinaw09

The advertising world never ceases to amaze me…how will we ever know what “better” really means? Does better mean cheaper, healthier, or tastier? Who gets to decide what it means?


Comment by Lauren Keith

I completely agree.

-Justin H.

Comment by justinh79

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