Responsibility in advertising is not a theme that seems to be common these days. However, when Yoplait was told by the National Eating Disorders Association that a new commercial could be a trigger for those vulnerable to eating disorders, Yoplait worked quickly to get the television spot removed from the air. A Yoplait spokesperson stated that Yoplait “had no idea” such a response might be triggered by the ad.
In Yoplait’s defense, the inner monologue of the dieter represented in the ad is similar to how many try to bargain with themselves when they are learning to balance calories in and calories out. It is also an illustration of how unplanned food can wreak havoc on any dieting plan.
Unfortunately, the humor of jogging while eating cheesecake may be too close to excessive exercising that can be characteristic of eating disorders. For those dealing with weight management, the ad may have been powerfully familiar. It is understandable that Yoplait did not realize that this could normalize the bargaining and atoning often associated with eating disorders for those that are susceptible to them.
June 20th, 2011