There’s Some Serious Y-Axis Voodoo In This Video

I have seen this video on several of my friends’ facebook walls … it’s gone viral. I’m not sure how much direct benefit the video’s maker Coop—a Scandinavian supermarket chain—gets from all the views outside Scandinavia. But organic food makers and sellers everywhere certainly get a big win.

I don’t know much about organics … but I do know a lot about communicating. And this video is wicked smart at communicating the benefits of organics by seriously maligning non-organic food.

The video makes the stuff found in non-organic food seem extra-extra-extra scary. It does this with one very powerful graphic technique: The graphs tracing how much of this stuff gets into our bodies are  BIGGER THAN THE BODIES in the video.

People often mess with the scale of charts to make a point (see: The Captain Was Sober Today) but this video takes it further. The Y-axis of these charts is basically body itself … sometimes a young child’s body… there’s no way the scientists in this video collect as much of the stuff in our bodies as the implied scale of these charts shows.

The video is incredibly smart in its combination of human emotion and science. Is non-organic food as scary as Coop makes it seem? I’m sure it’s debatable. But you don’t come away from this video thinking about the debate. You just wanna start eating organic. Smart. Sneaky… but smart.

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