Ad Leakage

Procter & Gamble’s new ads for its fake fat, olestra, just don’t hold water. A MoJo Wire annotation.

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You’ve heard of it. You’ve seen the ads. You may have even tried it—you’d probably remember if you had. Olean—or olestra, as the chemical is called—is the controversial fat substitute Procter & Gamble is putting into snack foods to make them taste fatty but not actually be fatty.

Mother Jones reported last year on P&G’s huge PR campaign for olestra, but now P&G has opened a new front: consumer advertising. In an effort to dispel the many studies that show “anal leakage,” vitamin deficiencies, and other nasty side effects from olestra, the bad boys in Cincinnati are running an extensive, multi-million-dollar TV and print ad campaign for Olean. You might recall watching 1998 Winter Olympics when the TV ads premiered: Gentle music plays in the background, a weathered barn matching the authentic-looking farmer who appears in the middle of a soybean field in Iowa (it could be Kevin Costner). An ad for life insurance? Organic veggies? Nope, it’s P&G’s spin control on a synthetic chemical that slides through your body without leaving any calories behind. Sound slippery? P&G says Americans have no problem with it; as a matter of fact, P&G says its only problem is “keeping the product on the shelves.” The MoJo Wire annotates:

Click on the highlighted areas for the real story.

For more about Olean and olestra, visit Procter & Gamble and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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