Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Should obesity effort pack fatter punch?

Insightful piece from Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press asking whether the current "Small Steps" campaign to combat obesity is, as the headline says, "Too Soft on Fat." Instead of, using the in-your-face tactics of throat-hole guy or the Montana Meth Project, campaigns which have a concept that can be summed up as "gross out," this one shows cute little blobs of flesh—a butt in the Second Life adaptation shown above—which have gotten "lost" because their former owners have slimmed down. Each vignette is followed by one small step that can be taken toward controlling one's weight, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The campaign, done by McCann-Erickson and the Ad Council on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, is certainly memorable—after all, it's not often that you see a disembodied butt on the sidewalk. However, in terms of fighting the problem of obesity, you can certainly argue that it's not a very impactful campaign. "It's so namby-pamby I think people will shrug it off," says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in the story. The Ad Council counters that people are so overwhelmed by the prospect of losing weight that the small steps featured in the campaign help combat the problem.

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