360MC // Food Artefact Research #1

For our first Creative artefact piece it’s all about Food!

Personally my relationship with food isn’t the best – I’m your typical student who eats poor and doesn’t meal plan and always ends up buying snacks. However in a way this brought to my attention why do I actually do this? Why is my relationship with food this tragic and where did this stigma with food for me personally come from.

I pin it all down to how I emotionally attach myself to food – I’ve always been body conscious ever since I first got called the dreaded f-a-t back in primary school. But this isn’t a woe is me research post but in fact why do we put emotions onto our food?

Humans like to do this thing called ANTHROPOMORPHIZE  which literally means to put human characteristics and traits onto inanimate objects. “Anthropomorphism carries many important implications. For example, thinking of a nonhuman entity in human ways renders it worthy of moral care and consideration. Although we like to anthropomorphize, we do not assign human qualities to each and every single object we encounter. What accounts for this selectivity? One factor is similarity. An entity is more likely to be anthropomorphized if it appears to have many traits similar to those of humans (for example, through humanlike movements or physical features such as a face).”

I remember one of the first times I created an emotional attachment to food and it was from watching one of my favourite bands blur – Coffee and TV music video. (see below)

If you haven’t seen this video then basically, two milk cartons fall in love and are in search of finally meeting one another and being together before ultimately being heartbroken since one of them get’s crushed…literally..

Usually you’d think – chill out it’s just a milk carton, an inanimate object, but when you stick big eyes, arms and legs and a cute smile onto it – it suddenly becomes a friendly face, a character that has feelings and emotions just like humans and we become attached. Especially when you see the milk carton fall for the strawberry milkshake…my heart breaks…

With this in mind I started my research.

According to IPA dataBANK, which contain 1,400 case studies of successful campaigns and advertisements – of those that had purely emotional content performed twice as well that’s 31% vs. 16%


As humans we feel first before thinking. Take the film Sausage Party (2016) for instance – the entire film is about food in a supermarket with feelings, voices, emotions and relationships and as an audience we grow an attachment to these characters because of the fact they have a face and a voice. They are humanised  – admittedly it’s not the greatest film ever but it highlights exactly my point on humanising things – being a vegetarian it was ironic how the film gave life and emotion to food such as sausages, burgers and milk when those exact products did belong to life with emotions and perhaps in a way this is a reminder that the world beyond the glossy supermarket halls and the food that doesn’t speak once did belong to life and thus we form an emotional attachment that stops us from buying certain produce.

Seth Rogan summed it up perfectly – “People like to project their emotions on to the things around them – their toys, their cars, their pets,” …“That’s what Pixar’s done for the last 20 years. So we thought: ‘What would it be like if our food had feelings?’ We very quickly realized that it would be fucked up.

Pixar are well known for doing this often, take Finding Nemo (2003) for example the classic line which the sharks recite to each other at every Fish Anonymous meeting:


This places an emotion on the audience because they have already built a relationship with the main characters Dory and Marlin – we no longer see them as food but as friends, and why would you want to eat and kill your friends? Moving slightly away from emotional attachments with food but inanimate objects work just as well – I was and still am a sucker for Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella (2013)  short (watch below if you want to have your heart strings tugged at)

Full version here: http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/224049/Blue-Umbrella-FULL-Short-Film-Pixar-2014-HD/

It’s become an almost basic necessity to project and humanise objects because perhaps, Epley et al. (2007) found that lonely people are more likely to anthropomorphise as they use it as a coping mechanism to handle social isolation. They wondered whether people who cannot connect to other people can instead connect to dogs, gadgets or gods. In order to investigate this they asked participants to rate descriptions of gadgets on human qualities such as “having a mind of its own.” They found that those who gave them the most human-like traits displayed more signs of loneliness in the personality questionnaires.

La Boîte à Oeufs from Michaela Knight on Vimeo.



→,. “Why Do We Anthropomorphize? | Psych Central News”. Psych Central News. N.p., 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

“Anthropomorphism: Why We Treat Objects Like People”. psuec. N.p., 2012. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

“Sausage Party Sure Is Weird To Watch If You Are A Vegetarian”. Slate Magazine. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

Smith, Nigel. “Seth Rogen’s Animated Film Sausage Party Is Provocative Food For Thought”. the Guardian. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

“The Science Of Emotion In Marketing: How To Leverage Our Feelings”. Social. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.


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