This week, the New Statesman reported, as did other publications, that the Advertising Standards Association is to crack down on social media stars promoting pie-in-the-sky products.
The NS headlined with “Flat Tummy Tea: why the ASA is cracking down on influencers (selling) detox drinks.” This action was prompted by the rising trend for buff young B-listers to pose in their smalls, simultaneously holding up a packet of something with an implausible promise. Up they pop, as you scroll through your social media feeds.
It’s the kind of crude 1960s advertising MO you’d expect the Madmen team to conceive. We have, in this instance, Sophie Kasaei, star of Geordie Shore (you too may need to Google), who back in March posted pictures of herself on Instagram. There were two images, side by side. On the left we had Bloaty Sophie, looking like she’d swallowed a bladder. On the right, we had Flat-Tum Sophie, holding up a pack of Flat Tummy Tea and beaming with flat tummy joy. Her posture had also improved quite remarkably. That’s what paid promotions do for you.
On the subject of ludicrous dietary techniques, the Telegraph this week catered for the more highbrow needs of their readers with ‘Weight-loss ‘fat patch’ which targets hard-to shift ‘love handles’ trialled in the US.’ We read that scientists at the University of North Carolina have trialled a patch that promises to burn off those unsightly love handles. Disappointingly, halfway through this encouraging piece you discover that this trial was carried out on mice. Mice with love handles!
Now try not to picture those downcast little mouse faces, gripping their flabby muffin tops in their tiny paws.
How it works is even more unnerving. ‘Metabolism-altering drugs’ wrapped in nanoparticles are implanted under the skin in dozens of microscopic needles. These needles disintegrate, releasing the drugs, which transform white fat into brown fat, which burns more readily. Having said that, how it works is probably irrelevant. You could promise instant weight loss by injecting radioactive waste under the skin, and you’d still get eager volunteers, asking where to sign up.
After all that, it is quite refreshing to happen upon a new fad that isn’t claiming to make you instantaneously slim. Sticking with the tea theme, the Independent gave us “Cheese tea is a thing – and it’s coming to the UK.” Cheese tea is exactly what it says on the tin. More specifically, it’s a cheese foam topping on iced tea. The foam is created by beating cream cheese with evaporated milk. Who knew you could still get evaporated milk?
While we await the arrival of cheese tea to the UK, In New York they have already moved on to variations on that theme, such as green tea with salted cheese. The whole concept is already a hit on Instagram (where else?). How long until someone creates Flat Tummy Cheese Tea? I must call my agent.
Talking of novelty cheese, it’s good to see that Pizza Hut is moving with the times. “Pizza Hut launches vegan cheese”, The Independent and others informed us. These pizzas are to be trialled at a limited number of outlets.
I remember trying vegan cheese in the 1990s and it was a brutalising experience, but they’ve had 20 years to improve the flavour so who knows. The main ingredient is a bit nebulous – ‘starch’ and ‘modified starch’. In other words, anything. Still, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it is to be assumed that cheese is so delicious, even to vegans, that it is much missed and a substitute must be found. The same goes for vegan bacon, which I also recall tasted hellish 20 years ago.
Instead of pretending to be something it isn’t, it would make much more sense to have an authentically vegan pizza. Someone has, thankfully, created such a masterpiece, and even made a video to demonstrate how you too can reproduce this in your own kitchen. Amazingly, it takes only seconds. To end this week’s newsletter, may I encourage you to watch this very funny vegan pizza video, starring the inimitable JP Sears.