Weight Watchers is Breaking Bad

If you were listening to the Weight Watchers 2015 Super Bowl commercial without paying attention to the images on the screen you would think that stimulant drugs had been legalized and were being advertised on TV. Aaron Paul, the star of Breaking Bad, even narrates the advertisement. The commercial plays with words by asking the viewers questions like “Want to get baked?”, “How much do you want, an eighth?”, and then encouraging them to indulge with phrases commonly associated with peer pressure; such as, “treat yourself”, “it’s a special occasion”, or “no ones telling you what to do.”

Visually, the parallels between drug use and food is still apparent by including shots of lighting a stove, pouring sugar, dilating pupils, and lab work. These images out of context appear to be related to cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. With these images being intercut with food, the comparison to food being an addictive drug is strengthened.

Finally the commercial uses food that is commonly purchased at popular food suppliers without specifically naming them. You can see a donut similar to the ones sold at Dunkin’ Donuts, a meal similar to McDonald’s, and a food supply store similar to Costco. The advertisement takes it a step further by showing clips of advertisements similar to ones released by restaurants like Longhorn Steakhouse and Subway.

This advertisement sends the message that Weight Watchers believes that people can’t handle the responsibility of eating without their program. The comparison between American eating habits and drug use sends the message that Weight Watchers is similar to a drug rehabilitation center that focuses on ending an addiction. It is a bold move on their part. Can poor eating habits really be as extreme as stimulant drug use?

-Kelli Hall, Mallory Brayman, Morgan McCleaf