Obesity

I would say that obesity is very medicalized in U.S. culture.  Part of the reason for this, I think, is because it so easily can be medicalized.  The rate of people becoming obese just keeps increasing, and there are so many ways companies can come up with “treatments” for it.  Culturally with busy lifestyles, fast food, less exercise, and spending so much time in front of T.V.s and computers is leading to so many people getting this “illness”, but culture also puts so much pressure on looking good and being thin that we need a “treatment”.  Economically any company that can benefit from making obesity an illness that requires biomedical intervention is going to profit, so it is in their best interest to go along with it.  Weight loss pills or surgeries can be huge money makers. And considering obesity can lead to pretty bad stuff it is not too hard to convince people they need to do something about it early and then give them an easy way out with some kind of pill.

The ad I found was for PhenObestin.  It had a guy’s voice in the background giving all the information. I think some of the advertising strategies here were to give all the information really quickly.  It started with a thin women smiling, and the voice saying “this could be you” and then throughout the rest it always has someone who is wearing pants that are too big trying to show how much weight they lost.  It focused on the more visual aspect with bar graphs showing how much weight someone lost per month trying to show big results.  There was also the strategy of them trying to make it seem like you are getting a good deal by always showing graphics offering free shipping, buy 3 get it 20% off, and mention something and get an extra 15% off,  35% off.  They also make sure to mention key words like rapid weight loss, and made sure to point out that there are no empty promises here.  When it comes to cultural values I think they exploited our culture’s need to look good.  The people in the ad weren’t like the ones with the before and after photos, instead they are like athletic, good looking people who go to the gym quite a bit.  As far as medical information goes, there basically wasn’t any.  They mentioned it was an appetite suppressant and that it used “100% PURE pharmaceutical ingredients”.  There were also no doctor patient interactions in the ad most likely emphasizing that you don’t need a prescription for it, or because a doctor wouldn’t approve of it. Either or.

3 thoughts on “Obesity

  1. I agree with the author of this post in regards to how one of the advertisement strategies in this ad was the use of the very slim, attractive, happy woman along with the statement “This could be you.” This scenario is implying that by taking this pill you can look this thin and attractive, and ultimately you will be happier. Also, the author of this post mentions the critical key words that the advertisement confronted such as stating that this pill is not another “magic pill with empty promises.” By confronting these critical beliefs that surround diet pills the advertiser is attempting to gain the trust of the audience. Also, as stated in the post this ad doesn’t tell you what ingredients are in this pill; it just tells you that the pill is made up of “pure pharmaceutical ingredients.” Unfortunately, unless the person watching this ad steps back and thinks critically about this ad and its advertising strategies PhenObestin will most likely have another consumer.

    Not every person interested in diet pills such as PhenObestin are clinically obese, rather a potential consumer may be someone who simply views themselves as less perfect than this woman in this advertisement. This concept of anything less than perfect being viewed as an illness is illustrated in the BCB Horizon film, “Pill Poppers.” In the film, a man states that in Western cultures today, “The implication is that when you’re falling short of 100 percent perfection, that a pill may be able to help, and in essence this means that you’re ill.” To me, this best illustrates the way that Americans view the role of medications today. This also explains the influence of the process of medicalization on the psyches of individuals within the American culture. This medicalization of obesity as an illness through direct-to-consumer-advertising activates patients/consumers to seek medical attention, while also offering a tangible biomedical treatment as stated in this week’s film, “Medicalization of Menstruation.” In this ad it demonstrates how you can get this pill without a prescription. Therefore, what is more tangible or available than an over the counter pill that can help cure you of your “illness?” This is exactly how the producers of PhenObestin want you to think.

  2. I agree with the author of this post in regards to how one of the advertisement strategies in this ad was the use of the very slim, attractive, happy woman along with the statement “This could be you.” This scenario is implying that by taking this pill you can look this thin and attractive, and ultimately you will be happier. Also, the author of this post mentions the critical key words that the advertisement confronted such as stating that this pill is not another “magic pill with empty promises.” By confronting these critical beliefs that surround diet pills the advertiser is attempting to gain the trust of the audience. Also, as stated in the post this ad doesn’t tell you what ingredients are in this pill; it just tells you that the pill is made up of “pure pharmaceutical ingredients.” Unfortunately, unless the person watching this ad steps back and thinks critically about this ad and its advertising strategies PhenObestin will most likely have another consumer.

    Not every person interested in diet pills such as PhenObestin are clinically obese, rather a potential consumer may be someone who simply views themselves as less perfect than this woman in this advertisement. This concept of anything less than perfect being viewed as an illness is illustrated in the BCB Horizon film, “Pill Poppers.” In the film, a man states that in Western cultures today, “The implication is that when you’re falling short of 100 percent perfection, that a pill may be able to help, and in essence this means that you’re ill.” To me, this best illustrates the way that Americans view the role of medications today. This also explains the influence of the process of medicalization on the psyches of individuals within the American culture. This medicalization of obesity as an illness through direct-to-consumer-advertising activates patients/consumers to seek medical attention, while also offering a tangible biomedical treatment as stated in this week’s film, “Medicalization of Menstruation.” In this ad it demonstrates how you can get this pill without a prescription. Therefore, what is more tangible or available than an over the counter pill that can help cure you of your “illness?” This is exactly how the producers of PhenObestin want you to think.

    References:

    1.) BBC Horizon, “Pill Poppers” (Part 2); 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNqShrjUsPg

    2.) Special Topic: “The Medicalization of Menstruation”

    http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us12/special-topic-medicalization-of-menstruation/

  3. I agree with the author of this post in regards to how one of the advertisement strategies in this ad was the use of the very slim, attractive, happy woman along with the statement “This could be you.” This scenario is implying that by taking this pill you can look this thin and attractive, and ultimately you will be happier. Also, the author of this post mentions the critical key words that the advertisement confronted such as stating that this pill is not another “magic pill with empty promises.” By confronting these critical beliefs that surround diet pills the advertiser is attempting to gain the trust of the audience. Also, as stated in the post this ad doesn’t tell you what ingredients are in this pill; it just tells you that the pill is made up of “pure pharmaceutical ingredients.” Unfortunately, unless the person watching this ad steps back and thinks critically about this ad and its advertising strategies PhenObestin will most likely have another consumer.

    Not every person interested in diet pills such as PhenObestin are clinically obese, rather a potential consumer may be someone who simply views themselves as less perfect than this woman in this advertisement. This concept of anything less than perfect being viewed as an illness is illustrated in the BCB Horizon film, “Pill Poppers.” In the film, a man states that in Western cultures today, “The implication is that when you’re falling short of 100 percent perfection, that a pill may be able to help, and in essence this means that you’re ill.” To me, this best illustrates the way that Americans view the role of medications today. This also explains the influence of the process of medicalization on the psyches of individuals within the American culture. This medicalization of obesity as an illness through direct-to-consumer-advertising activates patients/consumers to seek medical attention, while also offering a tangible biomedical treatment as stated in this week’s film, “Medicalization of Menstruation.” In this ad it demonstrates how you can get this pill without a prescription. Therefore, what is more tangible or available than an over the counter pill that can help cure you of your “illness?” This is exactly how the producers of PhenObestin want you to think.

    References:

    1.) BBC Horizon, “Pill Poppers” (Part 2); 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNqShrjUsPg

    2.) Special Topic: “The Medicalization of Menstruation”

    http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us12/special-topic-medicalization-of-menstruation/

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