Sunday, August 8, 2010

Think Before You Advertise

Just a few weeks/months ago, there was controversy surrounding a t-shirt that Urban Outfitters was selling on their website and in stores. It said "Eat Less." [I wrote a post about it that you can check out here.] Since then, the shirt has been pulled from stores as well as from the UO website. It just boggles my mind when a company endorses an idea like this- it really makes me wonder who signed off on this, thinking it was a good idea!!

Well, the Snack Factory, a snack company based out of San Francisco, is marketing their new pretzel thin pretzel snacks and has stirred up quite a controversy over their choice of creative advertising. The picture above is the ad, and while I try to avoid using triggering images, I thought that this image was relatively safe- and important to show! So, here is the Snack Factory's idea of clever advertising. Too bad their advertising campaign comes at the expense of millions of young women and men who struggle with this very lie that 'you can never be too thin'. In response, people in New York City have been covering these ads with pictures of emaciated women, and the phrase, "Actually, you can [be too thin]." The Snack Factory responded to complaints via Twitter by saying that they are "using the word ‘thin’ in a creative way to describe our product," and that people "seem to be interpreting it in their own way... we're a thin pretzel cracker!"

I get that they thought they were being cute and creative, but that does not make it appropriate or okay. When you choose to promote a pro-eating disorder belief as your advertising campaign, you have to take responsibility for it. Thankfully, the VP of marketing for the Snack Factory has heard the public outrage and is responding by pulling the pictures and ads. This is another reminder that speaking out makes a difference, and that we can truly make an impact! This is also a good reminder that more education about eating disorders is needed, and that we need to continue to bust the myths about eating disorders so things like this will become less frequent.

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