Tag Archives: commercial

Is Annorexia Funny?

As I was doing research on commercials and deciding which ones would be good to critique, I just happened to find this one that I think is really interesting. It is a commercial from Thailand, but even so, I think that it can be applied to our country as well.

Here is the commercial:

First impressions? I don’t know about you, but I thought this commercial was really disturbing. Before I start, let’s recap what we just saw in this commercial. In the commercial, we can see that this ultra-thin woman wants to eat food but is really limited to what she thinks she can eat. Due to the fact that she is limiting her food choices and quantities, she is also starving her stomach which is why her stomach is making such a desperate attempt to eat food. Whenever her stomach is denied food, her stomach cries and the advertisers’ solution is to eat low fat tuna (which is obviously the product that is being sold).

Now that we’ve recapped everything, let’s deconstruct this video and examine the messages within this video. First off, this commercial is socializing women to think that they are supposed to be ultra-thin like this woman. This commercial doesn’t tell them that they can be whatever sized body they want to, it tells them that this body type is something that has to be achieved and alternate choice to starving yourself is to eat light tuna.

Is this the type of relationship we want people to be having with food?

Food shouldn’t be something we eat in order to be pretty or sexy. Food should be something that we eat in order to be healthy and to satisfy our taste buds! It is due to this type of relationship that we as a society have created with food that we see so many health related issues that are linked to food (ex. Anorexia, bulimia, etc). Also, this is a very real problem within our society. According to Duke Medicine, about 10 million people are suffering from eating disorders (Eating Disorders). That is nuts! To make this even worse, a large portion of the affected population is between the ages of 15-24 (which is a really important time for our development) (Eating Disorders).

Wondering what makes this an even more real issue? What makes this even more of an issue is that people don’t find this commercial disturbing or wrong, it’s actually titled, “Funny Diet Commercial” on youtube.

 

References:

“Eating Disorders.” U.S. News Health . DukeMedicine, 28 Jan 2010. Web. 29 Apr 2012  <http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/mental-health/eating-disorders&gt;.

SherryQiu. “Funny Diet Commercial”. 06 Oct. 2006 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 23 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBPWUijk4M&gt;.

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Pepsi Privilege

As I was writing many of these posts, I’ve come to realize that I have been highly critical of the society we live in. But you know what? I don’t want to come off completely as a Debbie-downer so this next post is to show that there ARE some positive things in our society that we should be proud of too.

To keep it short and simple, women have been oppressed and treated unequally in our society for as long as history has been written and they still are to this day.  For example, within the workplace, the average woman makes less than the average man.  To learn more about gender inequality in the workplace, click here  to read an interesting article that I found on this topic (Fitzpatrick).  Women have always been on a lower playing field than men but I really like this commercial from Pepsi because it shows women in a more positive light than many other food advertisements we have already looked at.

Here is the video (once again this is another Super Bowl Ad, and from the 2012 game):

So, what does this ad tell us about food and gender equality?

First of all, what it tells us about food is that this ruler (Elton John), views Pepsi as something only fit for royalty and those who deserve it.  In other words, it is a privilege to have good food and drink.  But due to Melanie Amaro’s bravery and courage to defy the king, she gives all people the opportunity to have Pepsi.  What parallels can be made about food?  Well, believe it or not, FOOD IS A PRIVILEGE.  I mean seriously, think about it.  Not all people can afford to eat in really expensive restaurants.  For example, what DC college student (aka me) is going to be able to eat at Citronelle?  This restaurant’s average menu price can range anywhere from $14-35 for a small plate of food (Cooper).  Is a college student like me really going to be able to afford this?  Hell no! I’d probably stick to 2Amy’s where I can get an entire pizza for $12.  But let’s think about it some more, I’m privileged in that I can sometimes treat myself to good food.  Some people can’t afford to eat out at all and are actually going day to day trying to put food on the table.  Also, keeping in mind that there is so much gender inequality in the workplace, how are women and “non-normative” gendered people supposed to achieve such simple privileges with no equal pay or job opportunities?

Anyways, I realize that may be another Debbie-downing point, but here is the good part!

The reason why I liked this commercial was because it shows women on an equal playing field as men (especially a man of power, the King).  Through the commercial, we can see that the jester was trying to impress the King with his performance in order to be rewarded with a Pepsi drink.  After the jester failed epically, a woman of color approaches the bench to give a shot in obtaining a Pepsi (Melanie Amaro).  She sings the justice out of the song R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin and is offered a drink from the approaching king.  Next, she defies the king and liberates all the people from this Pepsi privilege.

This is a good representation of women because it represents a strong woman who defies an oppressive system.  Here’s how the commercial does this:

When Melanie Amaro sings, she sings on a platform to a king on a throne (if you didn’t catch it the first time, watch it again). When she does a good enough job to deserve a drink, the King gets down from this thrown, crosses the floor, and steps onto the platform that Melanie performed on.  What this tells us in terms of power is the King has the most power but as he offers to give Amaro a drink, he has to get on her level….meaning the power is equal.  However, does Amaro just become another privileged Pepsi drinker like the king?  Hell no!  With the equal power distribution between Amaro and the King, she takes advantage of the opportunity and liberates all the people from this Pepsi privilege.  This is why this is a great commercial.

References

Cooper, Rachel . “Citronelle Restaurant Review – Michel Richard Citronelle.” About.com Washington, DC. n.d. n. page. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://dc.about.com/od/restaurantreviews/gr/CitronelleRevie.htm&gt;.

Fitzpatrick, Laura. “Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men?.” TIME US. 20 Apr 2010: n. page. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html&gt;.

Pepsi. “Pepsi-King’s Court Super Bowl”. 03 Feb. 2012 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 24 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcf01QTcO6E&gt;.

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Devour his junk………food

Now that I’m done with looking at print ads, I’d say that commercials would definitely have to be next.  Although I’m only going to be looking at a few examples, I do think that think that it is worth to examine commercials because they are a different form of advertising and have a different amount of viewers/consumers.  It is because of this reason that the commercials I’m going to be examining in the next few posts are from recent Super Bowls.

My first television ad that I’m going to analyze is a Doritos commercial in 2011.  First of all, the reason why I chose a food ad from the 2011 Super Bowl was because that Super Bowl had the biggest amount of viewers than any other game in the past.  In 2011, there was an estimated 111 million people watching the Super Bowl (Bauder).    That’s right, 111 MILLION PEOPLE!!  That is a lot of people watching the same program.  Keeping that number in mind, just think about how many people are seeing the same thing and how the media is influencing all of these people by the ads they post throughout the program.

With that in mind, let’s look at the ad:

As seen through the commercial and much like the print ads that I examined, there is a lot of phallic symbolism.  However, something else I see that is much more apparent and prevalent within commercials are the uses of stereotypes.

Examples within the commercial:

1)       What is the stereotype of black men and penis size?  The stereotype is that black men are supposed to have ENORMOUS penises.  During the commercial, we can see that the white man looks over to the black man’s crotch area and is shocked.  When we see this, we think that the white man is shocked to see the black man’s huge penis, while in reality he was just surprised to see a bag of Doritos.  Not only is this stereotype harmful because not all black men have big penises and such, but it also negatively affects the black community because they are going to be eroticized for their “big penises”.

2)      At the same time as being shocked, the white man just can’t resist the temptation to grab the Doritos, which we already know represents the black man’s penis.  Although many people may not catch on this stereotype/generalization in this action, there is a very real stereotype present.  The white man’s irresistible temptation to grab an unsuspecting man’s junk/Doritos is parallel to the stereotype that gay men are hypersexual and can’t control their urge to have sex with someone else.

But to go back to food, how the heck do these stereotypes relate back to Doritos?

Answer: Consumers are like gay men, and Doritos are like black men’s penises.  Doritos are so delicious and awesome that they are irresistible to consumers.

Now that I have presented all this information to you and shown you how this commercial can be negative, just remember 111 million people also saw this.  Think about what percentage got as much out of the commercial as I did.

References

Bauder, David . “Super Bowl 2011 Is Most Watched Program EVER .” Huffington Post. 07 Feb 2011: n. page. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/07/super-bowl-2011-ratings-s_n_819559.html&gt;.
2011DoritoCommercial. “The Sauna – 2011 Doritos Superbowl Commercial Ad”. 09 Nov. 2011 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 24 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1yk85znbpY>.

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