Rants on all the ads that suck. Updated whenever it tickles my fancy to do so. Now moved to http://adsthatsuck.ca

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Advertising Lifestyles

As someone who works in PR, I don't actually buy or create a lot of advertising. When I do, it's usually what we call 'advocacy advertising'. We're not selling a product, but rather, an idea. Because this is what I do from nine to five every weekday, lifestyle advertising is something that I take fairly personally. Mainly because I know what a dangerous tool it is in the hands of the wrong people.

Atkins was in the business of selling an idea. That idea was simply, that carbohydrates were bad and everything else was fair game.

Atkins Nutritionals sold this idea like crazy, and had millions evangelizing their products. Of course, they did this through more than just traditional advertising, but they were marketers nonetheless.

A few things came of the Atkins revolution. First, people realized that eating a loaf of Wonderbread after dinner was possibly bad for their health. Second, and I would say more importantly, people became extremely confused about nutrition in general. Just when they thought they understood, Atkins came along and told them that carbs were bad - which is, of course, false. The result was a lot of people abandoning muffins for bacon, which was now apparently a diet food.

Now, Atkins Nutritionals has filed for bankruptcy, which just goes to show you that you can sell an idea as much as you want, but if that idea is fundamentally false, people are going to find you out. Maybe this wasn't the case in the 20s when the tabacco marketers were doing the exact same thing, but it is today and this is living proof.

Atkins Nutritionals Goes Belly-Up Link via: Seth's Blog


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay!!! *dances*

I hate Atkins, oh how I hate Atkins.

I think what made me so angry about it was that not only was its advertising FALE, but it was DANGEROUS.

It's one thing to sell a 12-hour deodorant that only really lasts 8 hours. All you might lose are a few friends. It may not be ethical, but people aren't really going to hold it against you if you don't climax every time you use herbal essences (although, it DOES taste like semen)

But if you start fucking with the health of the public and telling people that a diet that is not good for them is a new 'diet fad', it crosses a line.

It is irresponsible to make implications or claims that something unhealthy is 'good for you'. Although it is obviously the public's responsibility to learn about nutrition, if you see 'low carb' everywhere it's easy to assume that carbs are what you should be avoiding.

Now if only we could get the 'low fat' off the licorice.

8/03/2005 09:55:00 a.m.


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