Back in October, 2006, I praised the Vytorin ads — you know, the ones that compare family members to food. I said “I really like these ads. The colors are great and a lot of care went in to the design — even the backgrounds” and “The Vytorin campaign is very creative, although I’d hate to see what dish I look like” (see “Awards: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly“).

But now I’m beginning to grow tired of them and recently I saw the following disturbing iteration of the ad in this week’s Newsweek magazine:

On the Vytorin Web site there’s another version comparing a black woman with a chocolate souffle!

Why are these “disturbing?” They are reminiscent of a much-criticized comment made by New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, who once said: “It’s time for us to rebuild New Orleans — the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans…” At the time, Nagin was running for re-election and the comment brought much criticism. But it didn’t prevent him from being re-elected.

I’m trying to decide if these comparisons have a racial undertone or could be viewed as racist.

Here’s a test: What would you think of an image that juxtaposed a vanilla milkshake and a lilly-white Caucasian male?

Just a thought.