Advertisements for weight loss are everywhere, but are they helpful or manipulative? According to the Federal Trade Commission, the only thing being lost in weight loss advertisements is money, not weight. With weight loss ads preying on the insecurities of a targeted overweight audience, they abuse the innocence of the viewer by influencing them with displays of skinny models. Weight loss ads use sex appeal to manipulate the audience through the usage of healthy food to appeal to the overweight audience, the display of model transformation pictures, and the way advertised models are clothed and expressed.
First, Weight loss ads use sex appeal to persuade the audience because usage of healthy food to appeal to the overweight audience. In the ad released by Atkins, the skinny happy model that appears in the advertisement is surrounded by healthy food. This gives off the impression that the viewer can eat anything they want and still lose weight. The sex appeal is not only used in the display of food, but also in the model. The young looking skinny blonde model has a wide spread smile across her face that projects the emotion of enjoyment towards the audience.
Not only convincing the audience that the advertised product will work, but making their mind associate the ad with a happy feeling. The large words advertising, “Lose up to 15 pounds in two weeks” not only appeals to the basic desire of weight loss but also the extensive amount of time it would take. Followed by the words, “Enjoy foods like this. And that is just the beginning,” again addressing the philosophy that the viewer can eat whatever they desire and still achieve extreme weight loss. However food is not the only thing that lures in the audience.
Additionally, the use of transformation pictures appeal sexually to the audience. In the ad arrayed by the Nutrisystem Weight Loss Company, a young woman reveals her transformation picture next to the 74-pound skinnier version of herself. By presenting transformation pictures in weight loss ads, it appeals sexually to the audience because it provides proof that the product works. The envious side of the viewer emerges and makes them interested in the product. Then, by displaying the new and improved model next to her before picture it only amplifies the appeal.
Putting the model in a strapless dress that accentuates her body type thus again making the sexual appeal of the ad intensify. The words covering half of the page in all caps shouting, “Because a picture is worth a thousand words,” further backs up the original use of the transformation picture. Followed by a, “Hooray You,” to acknowledge the effort put in to lose weight, which makes the viewer feel appreciated. In smaller, but bolded print at the bottom of the page, “All from America’s #1 home delivery weight loss company,” is found. All of these quotes draw excessive attention.
Tying together the photo, the model, and the encouraging quotes, this advertisement is not only sexually appealing but also appealing towards the audience with low self esteem. Nonetheless is a model in less clothing sexually appealing, or demolishing self esteem? Lastly, weight loss ads use sex appeal to persuade the audience through the way models are clothed and expressed in the ads. Nothing is found more sexually appealing than a model in a bathing suit. In the advertisement released by Xenadrine Ultra, it not only contains two transformation photos but also a famous reality television show actor and a model in a bikini.
The quotes from both celebrity Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and bikini model Nicole Grenier discuss the use Xenadrine and the results. Grenier states that she lost 35 pounds and has never felt more beautiful. This attracts the overweight women in the audience. The insecurity of not feeling beautiful unless the viewer takes Xenadrine to lose confirms the manipulation and persuasion used in weight loss ads. Using ethos by having Ortiz-Magro, a young fit average weight actor reassuring the viewer that it works because he uses it, gives the viewer a sense of security.
In the mind of the viewer, if the celebrity trusts it, so should they. Intelligently displaying an image of the Xenadrine box so that consumers know what to look for in the stores provided at the bottom of the ad that sell this product draws the viewers attention. The attractive man next to the young skinny model in a bikini is where the sex appeal is targeted. Most overweight people want to feel attractive, so displaying a woman who went through the transition who is now standing next to an attractive movie star makes the viewer believe that the dietary supplement formula will make them attractive.
While the ad has a lot going on, it distracts the viewer from the fine print that reads all groups who participated in the studies of Xenadrine were on a calorie-reduced diet and sensible diet and exercise are essential for healthy weight loss. The fine print implies that although Xenadrine works, other measures were taken into effect to lose excessive weight in such a short period of time. Indeed, while weight loss ads can be effective, weight loss ads use sex appeal to persuade the audience. What all of these ads seem to be missing is the battle of obesity and the work that it actually takes to lose weight.
With the use of happy skinny models telling the viewer that they can lose excessive amounts of weight in the blink of an eye is unrealistic. Manipulation through transformation photos with quotes embracing the model’s new found confidence because of the number change on a scale relates to the viewer and how they want to feel. The overuse of food in advertisements to show viewers that they can still eat whatever food they want and still lose the weight is unlikely, however makes the viewer feel indestructible and interested in the product.
The display of half naked models and attractive male celebrities next to each other commenting on the beauty after weight loss entices the viewer. All of these ads focus on the sex appeal of weight loss, but not the effort put in to achieve it. They target a hypersensitive obese absentminded audience willing to do anything to feel sexy. Through the usage of healthy food to appeal to the overweight audience, the display of model transformation pictures, and the way advertised models are clothed and expressed weight loss ads use sex appeal to manipulate the audience.