How many weight-loss programs are guaranteed to work? Absolutely all of them, of course. Actually no, not really. Companies use commercials and advertising to get word out for their products and hope to make some money. That’s not news to anybody. As we read from David Berman, “The largest threats to our world today are rooted in overconsumption.” On products, as well as food. Advertisers, especially in a society and economy such as America’s, seize this opportunity and embed themselves in an aspect of life that Americans place massive importance on: body image. Weight-loss in America is a major economy in itself. It’s rare that you can watch a single event or show on television without encountering an advertisement for a weight-loss system. This comes down to our society’s obsession over body image. Exercise machines, foods, pills, you name it. All of these products seem to “guarantee” their product will work, as they show off results in advertisements. But what really can they guarantee? If you look closely at the fine print in these videos, numerous commercials will have anecdotes such as “results not typical,” “results will vary,” or “as part of a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise.” Furthermore, the writing is shown for a sparse amount of time, as action in the commercials draws your eye away from the words.
Commercials and ads such as these guarantee that their product can work, but only with the assistance of a reduced calorie diet, mediated portions with lower consumption, and/or a regular exercise plan. However, they tell you this in small, thin gray font that hides at the bottom of the screen, away from all the juicy, eye-catching action
consisting of before/after photos, the newly-sexy and slimmed down figures, and heart-warming stories of real-life experiences with this product or that system. The strategies used in these ads distract from what the brands are forced to say: that the product works accompanied with hard work.
How effective are these ads? In the pictures to the right, photographers do everything they can in order to make one body seem far superior to the other. One is hairless and tan, the other pale and furry. One is airbrushed and proud, with bulging muscles, while the other is chubby, bored, and probably unaltered from the original image. There are new weight-loss program commercials every year, so it’s hard for me to say how much profit they actually make, and how effective their advertising is. But based on the long existence of some programs, one could assume that they must be getting their funding from consumers. Some have been around for a long time (Weight Watchers), while others seem to slowly die off (SlimFast).
The most important thing while considering these ads is to be aware of the fine print. This is a lesson that expands into all aspects of life; be clear with the minutiae and details. Also, when it comes to specific advertisements based on weight-loss, remember that there are no mythical, instantaneous solutions that have been manufactured or discovered so far. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. To quote Bob Kelso from Scrubs, “nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.” As much as the company or brand may say that their product is the easiest, quickest, most sufficient way to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, they know as well as you do, deep down, that sitting on the couch and eating healthy food or taking weight-loss pills won’t do it alone. In the end, the life lesson is that you get out what you put in.