Media Monday: Media should be socially responsible

TEPF Volunteer

I recently saw an anti-obesity advertisement. The storyline is about an overweight mother who brings her 6 years old ‘chubby’ daughter for grocery shopping. The mother fills her cart with foods such as chips, soda, fries and other junk foods, and this was followed exactly by her daughter who is also wheeling her own smaller cart.  At the end of the ad, the message stated that parents should set a better example to the kids. This ad created a lot of critique as well as praise because it is meant to be educational and but increases embarrassment and shame for those who are obese or overweight.

I believe that this ad aims to reach the parents as their target audience. However, kids watching the ad may easily interpret the ad in a very simple and superficial perspective that individuals who are overweight do not care about setting a good example on healthy eating.  And again, they also can get a wrong idea that an overweight mom just does not know about eating healthily.
Generally speaking, I think this ad is suitable and educational for some parents who do not understand nutrition. I think that the message is achieved as this ad tries to insert the feeling of responsibility into parents on how they can help raise healthy children.  However, we need to deeply think about the possible consequences of this ad. Our society looks down upon individuals who are overweight which can have consequences on those individual’s mental health.  Eating disorders can start as individuals become insecure and have poor body image.  It is crucial that media starts to consider the appropriateness of their messages.  Media needs to be socially responsible.