In the news, there has been some contraversy surrounding the recent dispute between NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) and Yoplait regarding the commercial below.
I’ve seen this commercial what feels like 1000 times. It depicts a young (very in shape) woman deciding if she can afford, calorie-wise, to eat a slice of raspberry cheesecake. She battles between a small slice a large slice, justifying that a piece of celery later might help negate the impact of the fattening treat. In walks an even thinner woman who grabs herself a Yoplait yogurt, exclaiming “Mmmm, raspberry cheesecake. I’ve been thinking about this all day!” (which, of course is the flavor of said yogurt). The original Cheesecake Lover asks if Ms. Yogurt has lost any weight. Ms. Yogurt says she has, thanks her, and walks away.
NEDA CEO Lynn Grefe was very pleased to find out the commercial has since been pulled off of television after protesters said this commercial promoted eating disorders. Naturally, there has been a ton of advocates for Grefe and NEDA as well as advocates for Yoplait and the fact that perhaps, we are a being a little oversensitive with regards to these two women discussing their eating habits.
I must admit, while I have no issues with a company like Yoplait encouraging healthy lifestyle choices like yogurt over cheesecake, the two women in this commercial are really really thin (See Below). Now, I know there’s nothing like a Monday Morning Quarterback. But, I remember thinking to myself, when this commercial first aired “Should either of these women be losing any weight? And, isn’t it OK to indulge in a small slice of dessert, every so often?” Well, I’m clearly not the only one, because this has turned into a national story.
(Left: Cheesecake Lover; Featured Image (Above): Ms. Yogurt and Cheesecake Lover)
I think that advertisers need to be very aware of who they are speaking to when they create these television and online advertisements. The message is fine. But, should a size 2 be commending a size 0 on losing weight, while being broadcast in millions of homes? It’s telling young women all over the country that they can always afford to drop a few pounds. And, there comes a point where that’s actually impossible without turning healthy habits into unhealthy lifestyles.
My suggestion: put some real women in front of that refrigerator, debating cheesecake vs. cheesecake flavored Yoplait. Two model-esque women trying to shave off body fat percentages is not very relatable. But, two women you might actually walk past in an office or grocery store is much more true to life! Then, like a Cheerios or Kashi commercial, someone can talk about the health benefits of substituting a yogurt for an unhealthy snack. It would give women the right message about eating properly, nobody would feel uncomfortable, and organizations like NEDA would probably love to partner with companies like Yoplait.
What do you think? Comment below!
Anyone in need of immediate assistance from the National Eating Disorders Association is encouraged to call NEDA’s help-line at 1-800-931-2237