Pesticide Ads

Roundup Max Control 365

“No more weeds, it’s your year” is the catchphrase used in the 2014 Roundup Max Control 365 commercial. For those of you who may not know, Roundup Max Control 365 is an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto that “kills and prevents weeds for up to 365 days” (Monsanto, 2014). The target audience for the commercial is homeowners, especially male homeowners. Male homeowners are the main target audience because men typically take care of manicuring the lawn and enjoy getting rid of pests. The main character of the commercial is a middle-aged white man, who has a nice home and a well-manicured lawn. The man in the commercial chooses to spray the Roundup to kill unwanted weeds in his yard for aesthetic purposes and to free up time throughout the year for other things like barbequing, fishing and playing ball with his son, rather than worrying about unwanted weeds in the yard. He will not have to spray again because the product is supposed to work for an entire year killing and suppressing weeds.

The commercial is strong for two reasons. First, the commercial strongly portrays the dominant viewpoint in today’s society, which is anthropocentrism, the belief that humans are not equal to nature and have a right to control nature. The makers of this commercial were very smart in choosing to play upon this viewpoint because so many people think this way. Secondly, the commercial accurately portrays how the chemical does kill the weeds and how spraying only once a year can save people time.

Although Monsanto strongly portrays the popular viewpoint of how humans sometimes think they are dominant over nature and how the product can last a year, the commercial also has weaknesses.  First of all, the advertisement uses nature as a backdrop, which is unethical in this instance. Yes, the product is used on the environment; however, the commercial withholds important information in regards to how the product works against nature by killing the weeds.

Important information regarding the toxicity of the product is withheld from the advertisement. Roundup has been scrutinized for some time now because Roundup has active and inert ingredients that are extremely toxic, which can be toxic to other things then just weeds, such as earthworms, beneficial insects, birds, mammals and humans (Organic Consumers Association). Roundup can kill human cells, lead to miscarriages, low birth weights and abnormal fetal development (Gammon and Environmental Health News, 2009). At one point in the commercial, the father and the son go out to play ball in the yard, which would be covered by chemicals from the Roundup. Most likely the ball will touch the ground and the boy or father will pick up the ball now covered by chemicals and possibly bring their hands to their mouths, eyes and/or noses and ingest or inhale the chemicals.

It is unethical for Monsanto to present their product in such a “safe” manner because the product is made up of unsafe and potent chemicals, making it a very dangerous substance. The commercial also fails to provide consumers with some of the warnings put on the actual product’s label:

“Keep out of reach of children, harmful if swallowed, avoid contact with eyes or prolonged contact with skin. Remove clothing if contaminated. Spray solutions of this product should be mixed, stored and applied only in stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic and plastic-lined steel containers. This product or spray solutions of this product react with such containers and tanks to produce hydrogen gas that may form a highly combustible gas mixture. This gas mixture could flash or explode, causing serious personal injury, if ignited by open flame, spark, welder’s torch, lighted cigarette or other ignition source. Avoid direct applications to any body of water. Do not contaminate water by disposal of waste or cleaning of equipment. Avoid contamination of seed, feed, and foodstuffs. Soak up small amounts of spill with absorbent clay. Do not reuse container for any other purpose” (Organic Consumers Association).

This commercial discourages environmentalism because it encourages consumers to buy a product that harms the environment. Monsanto disregards the adverse impacts of using Roundup because they are solely interested in profit and selling their products. The commercial adds emphasis on having a well-manicured lawn and freeing up time, rather than on human health and the environment.

Roundup Max Control 365 is portrayed accurately in respect to the product’s use to kill weeds, but disregards adverse environmental and human health concerns. Consumers need to be accurately presented information on the toxicity of the product and how the product can adversely affect the environment and human health concerns.

References:

Gammon, Crystal and Environmental Health News. “Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells,” 2009. Web, accessed 15 April 2014. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/

Monsanto Company. Roundup, 2014. Web, accessed 15 April 2014. http://www.roundup.com/smg/gosite/RUP/home

Organic Consumers Association. “Health and Environmental Impacts of Monsanto’s Roundup Pesticide.” Web, accessed 15 April 2014. http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/roundup.cfm

Critique by Saddie Severiss