You might be hard-pressed to find a food item so picked apart, scrutinized, debated and polarizing as spaghetti sauce. There it sits unassumingly in your pantry with other staples. yet a mountain of adaptations make it all the more worthy of discussion.
Homemade vs. store bought. Garlicky vs. sweet. Chunky vs. smooth. Meat vs. meatless. And the rabbit holes go deeper when you consider the various pastas with which it can be served.
It’s enough to make someone … use a sexist tagline?
That’s what happened when long-time pasta sauce Ragú ushered in an old-fashioned motto destined for contempt. It’s even more bewildering when you consider the actions of other well-established brands, Jif and Kix, which in overdue fashion, dropped their embarrassingly outdated sayings following decades of pleas.
Ragú introduced its “Cook Like a Mother” campaign nearly one year ago and still gets consistently roasted each time it posts on social media. With once strong taglines like a “full serving of veggies” and “Simmered in Tradition,” it’s no wonder Ragú has sauce on the face this time around.
If you’re a dad, you’re offended that Ragú can’t respect or acknowledge your gender. If you’re a mom, you’re insulted how Ragú insinuates it’s your job to cook. And no matter who you are, you’re probably upset at its tasteless play-on-profanity.
Ragú, as you might expect, doesn’t see it this way.
“The attention-getting ‘Cook Like a Mother’ tagline takes aim at everyone, regardless of gender or culinary skillset,” its press release argues, “reminding them that, with a delicious jar of RAGÚ sauce in hand, anyone and everyone can ‘Cook like a Mother.’”
Ragú’s marketing agency, Digitas, doubles down on the tagline.
“Cooking ‘Like A Mother’ means creating an amazing meal even if you are not a mother or a skilled cook,” said Tim Mattimore, Digitas.
It’s a good thing Ragú is here to remind everyone that they can cook a meal even if they’re not a mother. Perhaps an auto parts store will run a comparable slogan insisting that anyone can fix a car even if they’re not a father. Or play sports. Or hunt. Or provide for the family.
Now all we need is someone to remind us that there are other sauces on the store shelf.
Oh, right – we just did.