I had never experienced so much forced advertising about food until I went to the USA. There I was sitting in my hotel room watching another instalment of Jerry Springer, as you do, until suddenly the fist commercial came on and I had to jump to the remote to turn thing down. The commercial was significantly louder than the program and the images are were exaggerated: “FOOD! FOOD! GREASY FAST FOOD! CHEAP FOOD! MORE FOOD! DID I MENTION FOOD?! FOOD!” Ok i get it you want me to die of a heart attack. But seriously, then the next commercial was followed by another food ad, just as obnoxious and loud as the first which then ironically enough, was followed by some weight loss ad. I find these 2 things rather confusing and I always thought it was so strange to put the 2 commercials adjacent to each other.

A lot of people say that fast food and its commercials are probably the directs links to obesity. I don’t always agree with this, however I do believe that it may be an advocate for obesity. I still strongly believe that people make their own choices, but with the media making these commercial so enticing for the viewers, I don’t only think that the images that are on the ads are the only way that it entices. For example, I remember going to McDonald’s when I was younger and always getting the happy meal. This was so because of the toy that was given. And every week i would go to collect the toy with my meal so by the end I had the whole collection of that months promotion. Had there been no toy, I may not have had the same interest. Now, putting this same entice, and substituting the toy for the ‘value’ of the meal is now into context for me as a University student. As the stereotype goes, university students are the not the richest of all social groups so, cheap, quick and easy are sweet melodies to our ears. Such is the same for families on the go. Society today, for the most part and not all families, have time to even prepare a home meal. Fast food is the obvious choice. Quick and simple. But have you noticed the ads for fast food? The burgers look amazing and bigger than in real life, presentation is immaculate and most importantly its good value for its price. When was the last time you saw and advertisement for the most expensive meal on the a fast food chains menu? The fact is, most people do not want to see a commercial for an expensive item on the menu, they want good value for money. Advertisement companies know this. I believe tapping into this mindset of good value for money is a great marketing strategy and I believe It’s weak spot for consumers. So commercial are not only visually enticing but also, gives us the impression that we are getting our monies worth.

But then comes the flip side – Biggest Loser. A a television show depicting some of the most obese people on television for everyone to see. It’s almost ridiculing. I feel this is contradictory: the television which feeds us, pun intended, commercial after commercial about cheap value for money fast food, is the same television that then showcases these people as  social pariahs, not being able to lead a ‘normal’ life. The society that provides and pushes us with images of food, is the same society that ridicules and rejects people for over consuming. I find this utterly hypocritical. But what is most shocking, is that media does not take some responsibility for it, instead they go to the end of the problem and make the issue the main focus of their problem.

I do believe in choice and I do believe that we control ultimately what we put into our bodies, but I also believe that media has strategically adapted to our culture and to the way we live by subconsciously sending messages to us. Furthermore, slim celebrities gone ‘fat’ also seems to be the centre of entertainment.

But in saying this, as much as it pushes all these advertisements, the Biggest Loser for example, is a good show depicting our social norms. In fact media plays a big part in ideologies, that we as society create almost a war between our thoughts which I believe creates confusion within ourselves: If you’re fat, you are not attractive. If you’re skinny you are anorexic. If you’re too happy, you’re weird. If you’re sad, you’re an emo. If you dress in black, you’re also an emo/goth. If you are confident, you’re arrogant. If you’re too pretty, you’re dumb. If you’re dumb, you’re blond or pretty etc. Media does not give us a middle ground. It doesn’t provide us with the stability to know what we grow into is going to be socially accepted. We take risks or we follow a trend, sometimes it is detrimental to our wellbeing.

The video below is a song that came out through the “emo” period. When this song became viral it did offend people. It was meant to be as a joke. I took as a joke even though I would have socially being pigeon-holed into the “emo” circle.

Advertisements