Dieting Advertisements Essay

    We deal with different advertisements on a daily basis. From driving down the road and seeing a McDonalds billboard on the side, to watching television and seeing a commercial for Sketchers shoes, Advertisements are in our everyday life. Advertisements are used to present an image of things to be desired by people. I decided to choose dietary advertising because I feel as if dieting ads are extremely biased due to the amount of editing that goes into them. “Advertisements present an abstract world, often a fantastic one, that is situated not in the present but in an imagined future” (Sturken & Cartwright 265). That sentence is extremely true, especially for the ads that I decided to do the deconstruction on because each ad presents an unrealistic way to lose weight fast in order to look “perfect”.

            The appearance of each ad is very interesting; each ad has a model either in the middle of the ad or on the side of it which is the first thing the eyes are brought to. Another element that each ad has is the emphasis on the words that have to do with losing weight. An example of that would be how the HCG diet advertisement I picked says in big bold all capitalizes letters “lose 26 pounds in 26 days”. The people used as models within each ad are very beautiful, young, and skinny females, along with a couple celebrities in other weight loss ads. The models are either dressed in a tank top or a bathing suit in order to show off their physique. Some other items used in these ads are scales that represent how much weight you will lose if you take these pills, another item is a measuring tape that a lot of the ads seem to have. The measuring tape symbolizes the amount of body fat lost and inches lost from taking these different pills. All of the models are young, mid-twenties almost which gives off the idea that these pills will make you feel young again. All of the facial expressions given off by the various models are happy facial expressions, which also gives off the idea that if you take this supplement you will be happy and lose weight.

            The camera angles, lighting, and coloring is the same in almost every ad. The camera angle is front and center when it comes to positioning of the model, in a couple smaller advertisements though; the model is on the side of the picture. There’s a camera angle that is used when photographing the model and that is sideways because it gives the illusion that the model is skinnier when standing sideways because she can breathe in which makes it so she is sucking her tummy in. In one of the ads, the lighting is all natural because the photo was taken on the beach, but in every other ad each lighting effect is artificial. The reason behind artificial lighting is because it bounces off of the skin which makes the skin reflect and glow when a picture is taken, giving off the illusion that they have the perfect skin, along with of course the help of Photoshop. The editor highlights the font and words to stick out more as well because the larger and more vibrant the words are, the more people will look at them first. The coloring in each ad is happy colors such as pink, yellow or blue. The ads as a whole are very colorful, but that’s because the more colors that are in an ad then the more people won’t get bored with them. The skin tone of each model has been photo shopped and recolored to look sharp and more contrasted as well. The font on certain sentences is in large print and vibrant color because it makes the viewer’s eyes focus on those sentences first, for example “I lost 39 pounds using Hydroxycut!”

            The product that is being sold within each ad is a weight loss supplement, mainly pills. Each advertisement that I chose has the allure that makes the audience looking at it want to buy whatever the product is selling. Why? Well the reason people would be more compelled to buy these products is because model “selling” the product is beautiful, skinny, and young. When a viewer sees that within an advertisement, they automatically think to themselves that if they buy this product and take it, then they will look beautiful, skinny, and young. Every weight loss advertisement has a strong desire/need factor mainly because of the large print that says “lose weight fast” and because of the model that looks as if she or he is perfection. The ad designers made the ad very appealing to any type of audience because they used an attractive model to place in the center of the advertisement, and in some case a celebrity. In each ad the model seems to be glowing and gives off the idea that this person took this product and looks amazing now, but in reality the models don’t look like that in person, we can thank Photoshop for that. Another element that the ad designers use that I think is a very smart tool is how they put a before and after shot (which usually looks like two totally different people most of the time) but that also gives an appeal that this pill or product will work because the advertisement is showing the progress of before the person started taking the pill and the results seen after they took the pill for an extended amount of time. It would be a better tool if the pictures were straight out of the camera without filters and editing though.

            The target audience for these ads is going to vary from the models used in the ads. For the ads that have the beautiful skinny models, the targeted audience is going to be younger people and adults that want to lose weight and look good. A couple of years ago if this question were to be asked, the answer would have been only adults, but because society is putting a pressure towards young girls to look skinny and perfect, now the targeted audience goes to females as young as 12. Young girls are feeling the pressure of looking perfect because of the different advertisements that are for weight loss pills. It shouldn’t be like that, but unfortunately that’s society today and unfortunately that is one of the targeted audiences. I didn’t post this ad, but I found one that was named “weight loss pills for teens”. Teenagers and young girls are influenced so much by what they see on TV and read in magazines, their favorite celebrities are complaining about being fat when they’re the size of a toothpick so that negatively affects those young girls reading about that, they’ll start thinking that they’re fat and that they’re not good enough. “Advertisements promise consumers that their lives will change for the better if they buy a particular product” (Sturken & Cartwright 275). I included an advertisement with a man as the model as well in order to prove my point that advertisements that use bulked up men as the models make the targeted audience smaller guys who are looking to get ripped like Ronnie from the jersey shore (the male model used in the weight loss ad I included). Another targeted audience would be people getting ready to go on a vacation because in a couple of the ads, the backdrop was a tropical paradise.

            In every ad I found there was only one type of gender and race mainly. The main gender and race in every advertisement I came across was a white female. Each advertisement has a very skinny, beautiful and young female being the center of attention and the assumption with each ad is “if you take these pills, you will be as skinny, beautiful and young as I am”. The assumption is completely unrealistic because each of these ads is edited to the max in order to make the illusion that these weight loss pills work. Each of these weight loss ads are geared toward women (if the ad has a woman in it) to get them to lose weight and become beautiful, it challenges stereotypes towards women by making it seem that every woman should be skinny in order to be beautiful. That is the main problem in today’s society with younger girls. Girls are being picked on in as young as elementary school for being overweight and not looking like their favorite celebrities thanks to these types of ads. The ad with the male in it is shown as very bulky and muscular. By looking at that ad it stereotypes men into being buff because it will make you cool like Ronnie (a famous cast member from the Jersey Shore) and if you aren’t buff then you need to buy these pills that will help you achieve your goal and then you’ll be cool like the celebrity. Every single weight loss advertisement I could find was about Caucasians. I couldn’t find a single weight loss adds or dietary supplement ad that focused on an African American or other type of race. The assumption with these advertisements is that white woman is successful, happy, skinny and pretty. The assumptions are completely unrealistic because like stated previously, each of the pictures are edited so it seems like they are actually perfect but in reality they’re not. The assumptions changes stereotypes by enforcing that all white woman need to be skinny in order to be classified as beautiful.

            In conclusion, weight loss advertisements are the most influential advertisements out there. They show the most edited version of a model next to a bottle of pills or supplement and say that if you take this then you will lose weight. In our minds as we look at these different advertisements we think to ourselves that if we take that pill or supplement, we will look like that person on the advertisement. I believe that the weight loss pill companies are just scammers because there’s no FDA regulation on supplements and weight loss pills so nobody knows for sure what is in them, all they care about is money. The companies use the logic “use money to make money” so they used a lot of money to buy the celebrity or model to pose on the advertisement which is how many people get sucked into buying the product. I dislike weight loss advertisements, because none of them even seem to be accura

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