“93% of women fat talk,” Immediately, my attention is caught by the emphatic voice on the video. The narration continues. “We believe that is a barrier to shopping for clothes.”
Special K cereal put out this commercial last December. The idea of helping women to love their bodies and not fat talk is wonderful. Similar to Dove’s marketing, this message is refreshing and uplifting. In the midst of being bombarded by magazine racks filled with toothpick models and bolded headlines about weight loss, I relax for a moment to relish in a company affirming its consumers.
However, there is a major problem with Special K’s overall message. While promoting women feeling confident and beautiful, this company also wants its target audience to buy its products and follow its diet plan for weight loss. This motivation makes ads about positive body image seem hypocritical.
Take another one of this cereal brand’s commercials.Here a little girl tries unsuccessfully to sell a woman eating Special K a doughnut. At the end, will power helps her to shut the door in the child’s face. Yes, over-eating is a problem, but looking at restricting food or eliminating types of nourishment is not usually a wise idea.
Most disturbing is the brands tagline: “What will you gain when you lose?” How does this help women to feel more confident about themselves? Watching these ads only adds to my shame and confusion surrounding food. Am I supposed to feel beautiful in my unique body or diet to lose weight and then feel gorgeous? What would I gain if I followed the Special K meal plan like the advertising encourages?
This double message is a problem for brands who promote confidence with implying that their product is needed. Remedying this is difficult. Honesty and vulnerability are feelings that most companies shy away from and fear. However, if Special K is willing to promote true confidence by changing their tagline and not sending out mixed messages, then this company could be novel in the food industry.