Instead of McCain calling a ‘spud’ a ‘spud’ and marketing their French Fries as unhealthy treats, they spend millions of dollars trying to convince consumers that they are healthy.

I can picture it now, a group of marketing experts sitting around a boardroom table trying to figure out what ‘spin’ to use to convince consumers that their French Fries are healthy. In the end, they decide to focus communication on the ‘wonder vegetable’, a.k.a. the potato. It seems that the goal is to convince consumers that potatoes are healthy and since French Fries are made of potatoes, they are healthy too. Sadly, this claim is only fiction.

I recently saw the new McCain French Fries commercial while watching TV. The commercial starts with a grandfather sitting at a dinner table with his granddaughter. He explains that “French Fries are potatoes and potatoes are vegetables.” The commercial is communicating to the shopper in the family (traditionally mom) that French Fries are vegetables and they are healthy for children.

It is scary to think that companies are able to get away with marketing messages that mislead us. I decided to undress this situation and look at the facts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of two McCain imposters vs. a real potato.

For this example, I chose two McCain products that are geared towards children.

I also reviewed the McCain website to see how they positioned their French Fries online ( It was alarming to see that McCain is trying to position their processed foods as being nutritious and delicious. They consistently refer to the benefits of the “nutritional powerhouse” and the “wonder vegetable”, otherwise know as the potato. The whole time they are referring to a plain potato before it is cooked in oil and covered with seasoning and preservatives. Until McCain starts selling sacks of potatoes, their message is false and misleading.

Now that we have stripped off the ‘flash’, we can all make more informed and healthier choices.