Help America — Buy Hamburger Helper

A tip of the hat to General Mills and its advertising agency.

The food maker has recently inaugurated an advertising campaign promoting Hamburger Helper, featuring its white-gloved, ever-smiling palm, cartoon Hand.

While the new ad campaign is probably rooted in the economic reality of families cutting home budgets and turning away from more expensive dining choices in favor of pantry stalwarts, General Mills hawks its Hamburger Helper with a nifty twist.

Hamburger Helper, America learns, is both healthy and humanitarian. Buying a box is not only good for you but also good for the soul.

Recently, during the 11 pm news on Sacramento’s NBC affiliate, KCRA, an ad ran in which a mom and two kids wait to place their order at a fast food drive-thru.

The cartoon “Helping” Hand appears and informs mom that Hamburger Helper is significantly healthier for her and the kiddos than the high-calorie swill they’re about to purchase.

Thus enlightened, when the drive-thru microphone asks, “What’s your order?” Mom and the kids shriek, “Hamburger Helper.” Mom peels out, racing away from the foul fast food hell she almost consigned herself and her brood to.

Presumably mom heads to a supermarket to stock up. Or she may speed home where the pantry is already engorged with Cheeseburger Macaroni, Wholesome Classics Cheeseburger Mac, Lasagna, Double Cheeseburger Mac, Italian Sausage, Cheddar Cheese Melt, Bacon Cheeseburger, Three Cheese, Cheesy Ranch Burger, Cheesy Hash browns, Tomato Basil Penne, Cheesy Baked Potato, Chili Cheese, Cheesy Italian Shells, Spaghetti, Crunchy Taco, Four Cheese Lasagna, Double Cheese Quesadilla, Homestyle Salisbury, Creamy Stroganoff, Beef Pasta, Chili Macaroni, Cheesy Nacho, Cheesy Enchilada, Wholesome Classics Stroganoff, Philly Cheese steak, Sloppy Joe, Potato Stroganoff and, from the New Orleans Favorites Collection, Cheesy Jambalaya.

Mom may not be aware, as yet, of the new line of Asian Helper — Mongolian-Style Beef, Beef Fried Rice and Chicken Fried Rice – but for the sake of variety may well have snagged some of the Chicken Helper and Tuna Helper offerings, respectively: Creamy Chicken & Noodle, Fettuccini Alfredo, Cheesy Chicken Enchilada and Creamy Broccoli, Creamy Pasta, Creamy Parmesan, Cheesy Pasta, Tuna Tetrazzini and Tuna Melt.

Viewers are left guessing as to what is in mom’s pantry, however, because as soon as mom hits the accelerator and splits, the screen fades to black, then shows in black-and-white, the shining visage of Beyonce. Beyonce says she is partnering with Hamburger Helper – seems implicit with the smiling cartoon hand there on the screen – to feed foodless people and deliver 3.5 million meals to food banks around the country.

Buying a box  — or 17 – of Hamburger Helper will allow Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity to offer a “Helping Hand” to these struggling millions.

Beyonce’s ad is easily findable on the Internet. The “Hamburger Helper Healthy, Fast Food Foul, ” not so much.

In fairness, from a caloric comparison, Hamburger Helper does score better than fast food.

A Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese weighs in at 1,010 calories according to BecomeHealthyNow.com. Six of the Colonel’s Honey BBQ Pieces are 607 calories. A Spanish Omelet Bagel at McDonalds is 690 calories.

A one cup serving of Hamburger Helper stroganoff made with lean ground beef is 282 calories.

However, sodium content is high in almost all Hamburger Helper varieties, well above 30 percent of the daily total in many cases. And, oddly, the chicken and tuna helpers seem to often have higher calorie  counts.

But that’s not what its about. It’s about offering a “Helping Hand.”




Filed under: Venting


  1. Slow news day?

    Comment by I. Nowick — 7.09.2009 @ 3:46 pm

  2. Perhaps you’d care to try a firefighter diet…8,000 calories/day. And an added bonus, you get to work it off!

    Comment by Smokey's Gal — 7.09.2009 @ 8:10 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment