'Soup Nazi' Fights Battle of Bulge

The "Soup Nazi" has been enlisted to fight the new marketing "battle of the bulge," according to the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Restaurants and food suppliers, who make up the group, have bought $250,000 of time (20, 30-second spots) on CNN, Fox News Channel and Comedy Central to counter "Twinkie tax" proposals, warning labels and lawsuits.

They say the humorous ad, which launched Tuesday, is to counter the "food cops, dietary puritans, and greedy trial lawyers, who joined together to plot their next attacks on restaurants and food companies."

Those cops have included lawmakers, activists and the Surgeon General, who has warned that obesity will soon be the nation's number one health crisis.

The ad features Larry Thomas, the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame, as a food cop, denying food to some hungry restaurant customers--who must weigh themselves before ordering--and sending others to salad line Siberia.

Why did the groups pick cable nets for the buy? "We've advertised a lot on cable," says Center spokesman Mike Burita, "and we've found it is a good medium to target people who follow hot issues and politics." The Comedy Central buy is in The Daily Show, where Burita expects to find Seinfeld fans familiar with the character.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.