Have you seen McDonald’s new ad campaign? The billboard that told us to celebrate our cravings during the holiday months is now telling us, “You have about 10,000 tastebuds. Use them all.”
I truly feel for all of the people trying to lose weight in this country. The singular focus on pleasure and excitement from food that appears everywhere these days is certainly difficult to resist. Trying to help people focus on a balanced approach that includes some pleasure from food, but also includes good nutrition and healthy habits, is a challenge.
With research telling us how hard it is to lose weight, it certainly does not help to have messages like this with their come-hither pictures. It reminds me of the foxes on Pleasure Island in the story of Pinocchio I read as a child. “Come on . . . try it . . . What’s the harm?”
Advertising that is sly as a fox can have similar effects on those trying to lose weight. The implication – “You wouldn’t want to waste all those taste buds. . . They are there for your pleasure” – can be an easy sell, especially for the many among us who are over-stressed and under-pleasured.
I am not an anti-pleasure activist! I am all for pleasure, including food that tastes good, but not at the expense of health and a fulfilling life. Of course we are all responsible for our choices in all areas of life, but with so many people overweight and unhealthy, it does frustrate me to see larger-than-life messages like this.
I get it though. McDonald’s is a business, and much as I would love for them to care about your health, that will only happen if they get the message that it will be profitable to care about your health. I realize that not much will change as long as their customers respond to their current marketing strategies.
Still, it bugs me. I see so many struggling with their weight, and trying very hard to change their thinking. I cannot recommend driving by billboards with your eyes closed, but I can at least point out a very obvious attempt to hijack your will power. Maybe that will be enough.