With the the recent passage of RA 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Women, the Women Media Circle initiated consultations and discussions with women media practitioners in order to draft proposals for the new law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). The focus dealt on the provisions in the law’s Chapter IV Section 16 ““Nondiscriminatory and Non-derogatory Portrayal of Women in Media and Film,” as well as other provisions relevant to media, arts and communication, that will have an impact on our practice and creative expression.

During our break, a media practitioner pointed out to the group the latest Lucky Me! TV ad below:

The ad shows the kid eating alone, pretending to smoke using the lumpia, then a caption “Studies show that the less often we eat with our children, the more likely they are to smoke, drink and use drugs when they grow up”. No source of the study cited. Towards the end of the ad, Sharon Cuneta invites everyone to go home early on September 28 so they can eat together with their families. We all agreed that the ad discriminates against the OFWs, the working parents and others who can’t make it early during dinner time.

I posted this in my plurk and facebook where I said that the the new Lucky Me! ad discriminates OFW families and career moms and I failed to mention and others who can’t join their kids in the dinner table. I got diverse opinions: ( I removed those that got confused with my incomplete posting)

1. my sentiments exactly while I was watching the ad. I am a working mom and most of the time, I don’t get to eat with my kids but that shouldn’t be a reason for them to feel neglected, right?

2. Whoever made that video has no empathy for working moms who get torn up between work and taking care of the kids since “dads” aren’t even around or not doing their job as a parent… ewan ko… just irritated lang.

3. I believe the TVC was a good ad, one that does not intentionally discriminate.

It’s true, kids need attention and guidance. Where the attention comes from, the commercial does not exactly specify. If their yayas or aunts or immediate relatives are their family because of the parents’ working condition, then guidance and attention should come from them.

Where’s the discrimination in that?

4. It’s a good ad. Advertisements target the majority of potential users, this one hit the bull’s eye.

5. I have mixed emotions and am still mulling over this, quite thoughtfully. I frequently had dinner alone, or with just my younger sister if she felt like eating at the same time I did. Both my parents worked long hours, and even had to travel often. On one hand I understood why they weren’t around; on the other, I greatly envied my friends who had dinners at home with their entire family to talk and laugh with.

As we discuss topics like this, maybe one of the questions on the table (so to speak) should be why is it so that millions of parents have to be torn apart from their children in order to feed them? And why does the Phil govt encourage this just so they can benefit from dollar remittances? Family dinner conversations ARE important — they are one of the few times parents can find out what their children are up to (and vice versa). I didn’t grow up to have any kind of substance abuse or delinquency problems, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel like I missed out either.

6. This is a flawed concept. It doesnt mean that if you dont eat together your children will turn up bad. A lot o f kids around the world eat alone from time to time and they turn out ok. The one who conceptualized this ad has to do more research or maybe has to have more common sense.The owner of Jimenez, Abbie Jimenez(is it the agency) is a HS classmate of my sister so far their previous ads had been OK.I know she and her husband are not managing it anymore.

7. I almost always eat alone since childhood and it would be nice to have some family around to eat with. =/ I respectfully think you’re reading too much into what the ad has to say.

8. if it was not presented in such a negative light. It smacks too much of anti-smoking, anti-drugs ads (ie. if you smoke, you die). So here it’s insinuated that if your kids eat alone, they get in trouble — which obviously brings up a lot of parental feelings of frustration, anger, angst, even guilt. If, however, the message was cast in a positive way (ie. when a family eats together, then good things happen), then Sep. 28th would become more celebratory rather than fear-generated. I don’t think scare tactics were necessary here, and I suspect might have even diluted the power of the message by creating too much negative noise.

9. This ad made me feel weird. Agree with Gigi’s comment. A lot of ads appeal to guilt but this is just a bit off for me.

10. But this ad got an impact on my daughter. She was always telling me she might become a hold upper, smoker, drug addict if we would not eat together. I still guided her although I already finished my meal. And I explained to her it will always depends on her outlook in life and good deeds.

The ad was more on negative impact on my daughter. Eating together is not the only activity for bonding time. There are some ways of bonding time…

11. i don’t think it discriminates – it just shows that when parents don’t eat with their kids – things may happen. possibilities lang naman

12. di naman siguro. mas okay naman tlga na salu-salo ang isang family sa hapag kainan, kahit at least once a week.

13. it could have shown differently. It’s such a big impact when kids see this kid doing some action as if he is smoking. Kids will only understand the action but not the real message

14. it’s telling OFW parents and career moms that they aren’t good parents because they don’t have the time to be with their children as much

15. Many OFW parents and career moms want to be with their kids but have to work, and feel guilty about that enough already. It makes people feel that if they don’t eat dinner with their families every night then they are not a good family. It ended up making me *not* want to buy Lucky Me because of the ad. So I guess it backfired.

16. The ones who made the ad should’ve been sensitive enough to not do this. Awareness for what? Clearly, they have conveyed the message in a terrible way. I myself am a mother and I find this ad too controversial

As you can see from the comments, 3/16 thinks it is a good ad while the rest think it brings negative impact.

I am not sure where the Lucky Me! ad agency got their source of the study. A study on ” The Importance of Family Dinners IV, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA)” at Columbia University was conducted in September 2007 and says that

Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.

Family meals together is a great activity. It’s the perfect time and place to reconnect and to show our kids that they are our priority. Sitting across the table is where and when I find out more about my children’s likes, dislikes, and daily life. Each family’s situation varies. If only, Dad and mom goes home early from work in time for dinner. If only dad or mom did not have to work abroad. If only dad or mom was not a single parent.

I was a stay at home mom and ate with my girls during dinner time. The problem is their daddy works late at night and the kids will be too hungry by the time their dad arrives. We made up for it during weekends when we were all at home.

This Lucky Me! advertisement does not give positive feelings to most families. Sure, we should encourage family meals together but why use this scare tactic? In Time’s article on The Magic of the Family Meal does not specify dinner.

Research on family meals does not explore whether it makes a difference if dinner is with two parents or one or even whether the meal needs to be dinner. For families whose schedules make evenings together a challenge, breakfast or lunch may have the same value. So pull up some chairs. Lose the TV. Let the phone go unanswered. And see where the moment takes you.

Each family determines their family meal time, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night snack. The definition of a family unit varies. A family may be composed of two parents or single parent, a guardian, grandparents , siblings or the yaya and combination of all. Let’s not alienate the OFWs or the working parents or those who can’t be there for dinner. Schedules can be adjusted within a family unit. The ad is silent on the family unit involved. It might have helped if they showed a scene of this family unit.

And for goodness sake, this study was done in the USA. Maybe it is high time, Lucky ME! initiates a Family Meal study in the Philippine setting before launching another ad campaign.

I won’t allow Lucky Me! to set the standards for the Value of the Family Meal in my family. First of all, their products are processed foods. The value of Family Meal comes in preparing and enjoying the cooked meal , not instant pancit noodles. Secondly, they shouldn’t define family meal time.

Just instill the magic of the family meal.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1255 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

27 Thoughts on “Lucky Me! Family Meal Ad

  1. Pingback: Lucky Me! Family Meal Ad | A Filipina Mom Blogger | BlogRupiah - Get Free Money!

  2. It doesn’t particularly hot OFWs, I think, since they communicate daily through the web or cellphones.

    I think most smokers you see along Ortigas and Makati are not kids by OFWs.

    Also goes to show that OFW life and life of their family needs research.

    • well it is not really the smoking thing. It’s just that the campaign advocates family meals that are not clearly defined in the ad. Especially their sept 28, go home early to spend dinner with your family alienates the OFW.

  3. dont be bother too much about the commercial, they dont really care about kids eating alone and turnout to be a smoker or drug user in the end. they just care to advertise products…. dont get me wrong they mean business here and dont really care….

    • yeah Lucky Me! wants an advocacy that makes them look good. To think they are processed food company. They should encourage home cooked meals as well, right where kids , parents share the labor of cooking.

      And the family Meal together is a tradition that most families should follow but due to circumstances, this is not possible.

  4. The ad is positive in principle but saying the kids “will smoke, drink and use drugs when they grow up” is a little over the top.

    • yes the smoking bit is not accurate. I always had family meals growing up. We were 7 siblings. There are other factors that cause smoking. I always saw my uncles smoking. And I smoked in college.

  5. With all due respect, I think we should not make a big deal of the commercial. That it alienates working parents and OFW’s (the ad is not for OFW’s anyway) is reading too much of it. And I don’t think Lucky Me! is trying to set the standard for the value of a family meal.

    The intention of the campaign seems to be good. We all need a friendly reminder every now and then.

  6. We make a special efffort to eat with our children at the table (not in front of the TV) every night. Its the one time where for 1 hour we can talk with them and stay up to date on whats happening in their lives. Meal time for us is priceless.
    .-= Aaron @ Male Indian Costumes´s last blog ..American Indian Costumes =-.

  7. hi noemi!

    i completely agree with your points here. my view on this is that time spent with kids and the family should be quality and not quantity which the ad and the movement fails to specify. both my parents worked when i was growing up but they’ve always designated sunday as family day and we spend that day together. i’m a new mom and my hubby and i both work hard and quality time with our kid is what we aim for.
    .-= neva´s last blog ..Win a Melissa and Doug Dollhouse! =-.

  8. It’s a massive marketing campaign, plain and simple. They simply want us to buy more of their products.

    I think they didn’t mention the source of the study simply because they distorted the results or conclusions to suit their ad campaign.
    .-= Jhay´s last blog ..Sen Jinggoy Estrada’s Privilege Speech in response to Sen Lacson =-.

  9. I HONESTLY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST THIS COMMERCIAL.

    IT’S MORE ON POSTIVE I BELIEVE.

    -Nhoel of keywordspeak.com
    .-= Nhoel´s last blog ..What is the Difference Between Laptops, Notebooks and Netbooks? =-.

  10. No disrespect, Ms.Noemi but if you are against instant food, then why are you supporting the fastfood chain Jolibee in your blog? Is it because they paid and Lucky Me did not pay?

    • I happen to love Jollibee food since 1978 when it first came out. I am a food technologist and know the difference between instant and fast food. Jollibee foods is not instant food but fast food and though similar to instant food in a way that it is cooked in big batches. When I graduated in 1978, my classmates and I were the first food technologists of Jollibee so we know how it is cooked.

      Lucky Me tried to “pay me” for a review through their media company— family meal campaign last year asking me to blog about it but refused. Google and you might see other blogs writing about it. Not me.

      And FYI I have not been paid for that Jollibee graphics. I just support it because I went to their launch.

    • Kindly suggest to Lucky Me since you obviously surfed blogs and don’t own one, to fix their family meal campaign, to make it more positive in the end..

      And since you obviously know they pay, tell them to pay others to make positive feedback on their ad.

  11. Hi Noemi!

    I think – to each his own. I mean, everything is relative right? For you it may seem ‘off’ but for some of us – we see differently.

    It just a matter of opinion, I think.

    But then again – we just have to respect another’s opinion.

    Cheers!!
    .-= Didi´s last blog ..Contest: Singapore Lah! =-.

  12. You got a point!!
    .-= mico santos´s last blog ..Gardening 101 =-.

  13. at first i am not againts the commercial, iam a working mom but since our office is quite near to our house, i always make it on dinner time. but what bothered me was when i saw my 2 years old daughter acting as if she was smoking. my husband dont smoke. So I asked my self, san nkita ng anak ko ito?while watching t.v, lucky me commercial was shown, at ginaya ulit ng anak ko yong bata sa commercial pretending to smoke. The message of the ads is clear for it reminds us parents to have quality time for our family, but little children dont get the message yet, for they imitate what they saw on television and kids pay more attention during commercial break. Sana hanggang Sept.28 nlng air itong Lucky me commercial.

  14. Since I was young I was used to seeing my parents on the weekends. I am a smoker but I credit that to the fact that every male in our family smokes. Maybe Lucky Me did not consider yayas and maids as part of the family and do not have any concern over their wards.
    .-= anonymark´s last blog ..I like SNL now! =-.

  15. i think that this commercial is very wrong.I have a two year old son who likes watching tv, but when he started seeing this ad, he then started to immitate the boy.This ad is an awareness for parents but not suitable for kids to see.I find it very disturbing coz my son who was never aware of actions like that is now doing it bec.he see’s kuya (boy from the commercial) is doing it.please do find ways to stop this ad, before every parent changes the channel everytime this ad is shown.

  16. Discrimination or not, it holds true that we should spend time with our kids. No excuses.

  17. great post. very enlightening and fair.
    i think perception comes from personal interpretations. if we view it with guilt, it affects our interpretations. if otherwise, we can see it as factual presentation. i agree with you, ssyoki.
    .-= hailey´s last blog ..Not-so-little Picassos Works =-.

  18. I strongly agree. I think Lucky Me fails to convey the real message they want to give the viewers on the way they presented the ad.

    By the way, thanks for the good posts here. I’ve been an email subscriber for almost a month now. This is my first comment. God bless.
    .-= elysplanet´s last blog ..Philippine flood victim hailed a hero =-.

  19. wow! i never thought of these issues when i watched the Lucky Me ad! in fact i almost agreed to it! maybe because i didn’t have a dad growing up and my mom was always away on business trips and late night work until such time she had to move to the US when I was in grade 6 until my 2nd year in college…i know i messed up parts of my life not solely because my mom was not around, but there were a lot of factors. it could’ve helped if there were family bonding time, but there were very few communication paths for us back then, unlike now…now i’m a working mom and barely get to be with my daughter for any meal time. i guess i just didn’t take the commercial too seriously because i was thinking that if i can’t make it to meal times, i can still bond with my daughter on any other activity. but i assume the controversy arose because not all parents/families will think the way some of us do…so yeah, i totally agree with this post!
    .-= sunmom´s last blog ..Why Do I Love Project Vanity? Let Me Count The Ways… =-.

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