According to several recent news articles and reports, the manufacturers of Yoplait yogurt, recently agreed to pull a commercial the National Eating Disorders Association was claiming promoted eating disorders. The commerical shows a woman agonizing in front of an open refrigerator trying to decide whether to eat a piece of cheesecake or not. While she contemplates her decision, she mentally gives herself reasons and justifications for eating the fatty treat. This woman is primarily seen from the shoulders up so (contrary to what other articles seem to be saying) we really have no idea how thin she is. Before she chooses the cheesecake another woman comes up next to her and takes a Yoplait yogurt from the refrigerator. Woman number one compliments woman number two on how good she looks since she lost weight. In the end we see woman number one happily eating a Yoplait yogurt.
The National Eating Disorders Association’s website congratulated Yoplait, saying “Yoplait demonstrated responsibility regarding our mental and physical health, and we applaud them for making their consumer’s health a top priority!” And they go on to suggest consumers “show Yoplait your appreciation by writing to them using the sample letter provided!”
Apparently the NEDA was notified via their website’s Media Watchdog page. According to the site, “Media Watchdogs are volunteers across the country who choose to closely monitor various forms of media, commending or critiquing advertisements or programs that positively or negatively impact body image and self-concept. Watchdogs monitor TV, radio, newspaper, magazine and internet ads or programs and send notices of ads or programs worthy of praise or protest to the National Eating Disorders Association office.”
Are we to accept that Yoplait advertises its product any differently than any other reduced calorie product? Are we as consumers now forced to have a watchdog group deciding what commercials and advertisements we can and cannot view? Yes, anorexia is a serious disorder that reportedly effects one half to one percent of females in the U.S. (males are effected as well), but so is alcoholism which effects a much larger number of Americans and has some pretty devastating effects and consequences. Does viewing a beer commercial force people to go out and get drunk?
Overeating, under eating, over drinking and other behaviors are all personal choices. Enough with the commercial/ad/television show/movie-made-me-do-it mentality. We’ve become a nation of finger pointing whiners.
Incidentally, despite the claims from Yoplait, this commercial is still being shown. I have seen them myself so should I report them? Or should actually I allow people to make their own decisions?