PROVIDING STRUCTURE TO THE WORLD
the pot. She sits him down with a cup of soup and repots the ﬂower in a mug next to him. The music in the background emphasizes happy memories of childhood created by the little loving things mothers do. In 1998, the campaign was updated with a “Good for the Body, Good for the Soul” theme. In a pivotal ad, a little child arrives at her foster home for the ﬁrst time and is overwhelmed and shy. When the foster mother brings her a bowl of soup, she is comforted and says, “My mommy used to ﬁx me this soup.” The mother bonds with her, replying, “My mother used to make it for me, too.”1 Stouffer’s positions itself similarly with the tag line “Nothing comes closer to home.” A typical ad shows a family sitting at a table, chatting warmly. The littlest boy is on his dad’s lap, and the mother is looking lovingly at the teenage daughter. The text reassures mom that Stouffer’s tastes “just like homemade.” Midwest Express Airlines, which pampers its customers with extra-roomy seats and lots of attention, also actually delivers an experience that triggers the nostalgic connection with home and mother, one that may be particularly important for people who are phobic about ﬂying. Someone must have looked for an inexpensive way to make people feel cared about. The answer he or she lit upon was chocolate chip cookies. Partway through the ﬂight, you begin to smell them cooking. Then the ﬂight attendants come around with baskets of them, helping passengers to feel like happy kids, just home from school, with mothers who greet them with cookies. Many people today identify caregiving relationships as providing experiences so real that, in contrast to more shallow pursuits, they are what make life worth living. A lovely cosmetics ad from Eckerd.com shows a happy little girl running through the grass, with lipstick in the form of a kiss on her cheek. The ad continues, “I vow to spend less time looking for ruby red lipstick and more time leaving it behind.” The copy continues with this promise: “You’ll ﬁnd just what you need quick and easy—so you can get back to something more important . . . like living.” Often, Caregivers take much better care of others than they do 1. Bernice Kanner, The 100 Best TV Commercials . . . and Why They Worked (New York: Times Business, 1999), p. 196.