Misleading slimming advertisements:
In recent years, concerns have been raised about the increase in the number of people who diet on a regular basis. Particular concerns have been voiced about the age of dieters; it is now not uncommon for girls as young as eight to embark upon low calorie diets in an attempt to emulate their favourite Supermodel. In extreme cases, this can lead to slimmer’s diseases such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Over the past few years, the attitude of Hong Kong people towards dieting has changed dramatically. People no longer diet solely for health reasons. It has become increasingly common for non-obese people in Hong Kong particularly women, to diet. Even those who are at a healthy weight strive to look thinner. Also, a growing number of young children have expressed the desire to diet. Studies carried out early in 2001 revealed that even children as young as five in Hong Kong wanted to become thinner. It may be that children fear in being teased by their peers if they are fat, and so develop a negative attitude towards overweight people from a very young age.
Dieting is so prevalent in Hong Kong today that it has become the norm. As a result, the number of young women and girls with eating disorders such as anorexia has been on an increase.
TV commercials, magazine advertisements, posters and MTR billboards constantly remind us that “thin” are “beautiful”. These advertisements often feature slim-looking models and it is rare to find an advertisement featuring an overweight model.
We have found a video on a provider that keeps on telling the women to take pills and have up to 3 times weight loss. The problem is that, if we want to loss our weight, should we follow these advertisements?
Slimming Advertisements keeps on exaggerating on that a particular method of weight loss will work for everybody who tries it. There are enormous variations between people in terms of weight, build, physical condition and psychological willpower, and that will cause the results vary to everyone. Three advertisers which we found them write in the advertisements “Lose 6Ibs in two weeks Guaranteed”, “this system WILL work for you” and “Guaranteed inch loss”. One of the advertisements, which appeared 34 times in variety of forms across three media type, was for a dedicated slimming club the advertisements went too far by stating that the weight loss was guaranteed. They said that these products or treatment would "help" the women but has anybody ever think is those slimming method the correct way to slim their body?
We have conducted a survey on this question:
Through this survey we found out that over half of the people who filled in our survey think that slimming advertisements are the most misleading and exaggerating. Second are food advertisements and third are Cleansing Products. From this survey, we could have the idea that the slimming companies should not exaggerate their products and treatments, it is very wrong to mislead people and people will believe and go for their products or treatments. After all, when the customer has used the products and treatments, they would have their own choice to choose or not choose the product, if they think it isn’t good so they wouldn’t go for the product or treatment again, so what’s the point of lying to customers?
A study of a Chinese gossip magazine found that more than 30% of the advertisements inside the magazine were related to slimming products. According to a website, a company that monitors advertising media in Hong Kong, advertisements on slimming products and services increased almost by 75% in the past year. Only from January to May 2002, there was a record that 500 million Hong Kong dollars was spent on slimming advertisements. However, these companies’ advertisements are often misleading. They promise customers that there will be instant magical body transformations after the treatments, but these advertisements are often too good to be true.
Some of the slimming product advertisements in the market emphasize the “naturalness” of their product. These often boast of their herbal extract and natural ingredients. Many customers think if they are “natural”, they should be healthier and safer to use than other products in the market. Many “natural” or “herbal” weight-loss products in the market can cause negative effects on our health, such as heart attacks, seizures and even death. It is also common for advertisers to include scientific evidence such as saying that the product was approved or recommended by doctors, that is to increase the reliability of their products.
We have conducted another survey on the question:
The survey has clearly state out that most people thinks that they would go for a certain product mainly because they usually use that brand or the product has passed through some certain international standards. We can see that the percentage of people thinking that the product is good after watching the advertisements of the product is very low, that means a lot of people usually think that advertisements are fake and they do not believe in them.
One of the reasons why the diet industry is so successful is because of effective advertising. Many market their product or service strategically, playing on people’s fears and obsessions of being overweight. However, these advertisements are often misleading. According to the Consumer Council, an increasing number of complaints have been filed against slimming centers in Hong Kong in the past three years. This suggests that the advertising techniques used to persuade customers are deceptive.
The diet industry has an ever-expanding market of customers who are willing to pay for these weight-loss products or services. Companies are making big sums of money out of women who are blindly chasing unattainable supermodel physiques. With all their slimming products, companies are making huge profits out of customers, who are continuing wasting their money for nothing.
In recent years, concerns have been raised about the increase in the number of people who diet on a regular basis. Particular concerns have been voiced about the age of dieters; it is now not uncommon for girls as young as eight to embark upon low calorie diets in an attempt to emulate their favourite supermodel. In extreme cases, this can lead to slimmer’s diseases such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
We have conducted a survey on the question:
The survey shows that more than three out of four people who filled in our survey thinks that advertisements or usually misleading, a very small number of people thinks that they are helpful.
There are currently 1884 companies registered under beauty salons and weight-control services in the Yellow Pages Internet directory. This shows the expansion of fitness clubs and slimming centers in Hong Kong are growing rapidly. It should be noted that this figure does not take into account other unregistered companies.
A survey conducted by the Asia-Pacific Research Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong revealed that about 70% of the clients were not happy with the services of slimming centers. Despite this, the number of women who invest in them is still increasing.
Slimming advertisements can be found everywhere, in magazines, on subway billboards, in TV commercials…. Local Chinese newspapers also play the part in promoting dieting. Not only do they feature Slimming advertisements, they often criticize celebrities for not being “thin enough”, that makes people to go to slimming companies to keep fit. Even healthy looking celebrities who are at their normal weight are advised to lose some of their “excess fat”.
Other Misleading advertisements:
We have investigated one more other kind of misleading advertisement other than slimming advertisements. This advertisement promotes their new gum product. There is a woman who sits on her desk at office feeling very uncomfortable because of her unclean teeth after eating a Hamburger. She used cello tape to stick on her teeth in order to stick the dirty tiny things out. This advertisement is quite misleading because if children followed her, they might get hurt when they pull the tape from the place where the tape is cut as those are very sharp. There will be a risk of letting germs getting into their mouths. If babies follow the woman's act, the baby may swallow the tape after sticking the tape onto their teeth if the baby could not remove the cello tape, and if it sticks there, it would be very dangerous, the baby will choke or even cause death.
The advertisement is exaggerating too, it says that if people ate the gum, it would keep our teeth stronger and could prevent from tooth decay, saying that it has passed some kind of standards and that could give the wrong information to customers and people would just follow them blindly.
Creative Slimming advertisements:
Through our research, we found an advertisement that we think is quite creative. The advertisement chooses to use a comparison of “Human” and “Elephant” to bring out their promotion. It states out the huge difference upon the weight and size of an elephant and a human. We could imagine that it would be a bit funny and that it will give the audience good impressions.
Actually if a misleading advertisement is creative, the feelings of spectators would be better than when it’s boring. Therefore, creative tactic is also beneficial to the advertisements. Creativity can help companies to promote and sell their products smoothly. People will also be interested in these advertisements and they would believe in them more than the boring ones. Advertisers made their advertisements to be creative, and that makes people believe in them and seem that they are correct. That is a trap of the slimming advertisers to derive more customers.
To conclude, we should not believe in these advertisements and rely on these slimming companies. If we want to keep fit, we should maintain a healthy diet and do exercise regularly. That would not even help us keep fit it would also keep us positive and happy everyday.
Other Creative Advertisements:
We have investigated another kind of advertisement which is creative, and that is in fact a talking about a soft drink brand. There was a man who went to a soft drink vending machine, and then after he put in the coins, the advertisement described what will happen and the process of transferring the drink to the customer outside. That is a smart way to attract more and more people to buy the product. We think that this advertisement would be very successful, because if you do not use a creative way, that would not attract other people, people would think that it is just a dumb and stupid advertisement.