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

4 thoughts on “Weight Watchers is Breaking Bad

  1. Weight Watchers is taking a bold strategy but I don’t see anything wrong with it. Lets face it people have a problem with their eating. Everyone experiences times when they have a sweet tooth or a craving that they know they probably shouldn’t go eat. Everyone has gone to a buffet and ate til they felt sick. These are things everyone has done before but once it becomes a health issue and you continue to do these things then it should be considered a problem. People that use drugs are sick and have a disease that makes them have a strong craving for that drug. If we change the word drug to food then are we telling a lie? Caffiene is a drug so why can’t we associate food in the same category. Too much of anything is a bad thing, and if you can’t draw a line and refuse to cross it then isn’t is safe to say you might have a problem?

  2. I completely agree with the overall assumption that weight watchers is trying to relate food to drug use. While this may seem a bit extreme I completely understand. I have a very low tolerance when it comes to food. Like the old Lays Chips commercial used to say, “You can’t have just one” and it’s true when I’m eating something I have to finish it or else I feel like its going to waste or its so good I don’t want to stop, even if I get full. I have to forcibly tell myself I don’t need the extra McDonald’s or a donut or anything else super unhealthy for you. Weight watchers is simply pointing out something that we as Americans, already know, but don’t want to think about. Our eating habits and the food we prefer is just easy and not healthy. And when we continue to crave it and eat it and refuse to chose a healthier option, thus making it uniquely similar to drug-use.

  3. This commercial is extremely over the top. I do not believe poor eating habits is closely related to being addicted to drugs. In addition, Weight Watchers is using a bold strategy to link their brand with drug use. After viewing this commercial I wonder if they lost in customers for linking their brand to drug use, and if so how many?

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. I personally believe that addiction to food is just as real as addiction to drugs, especially considering the obese population and body image issues that the U.S. is particularly affected by. I think it was a bold move for Weight Watcher’s to suggest they are the ultimate rehabilitation center for food addiction. I think this topic is especially important to IMC in the way that fast food and unhealthy choices are being fed (sorry for the pun) to us every minute of every day. How long can you drive down south college without either seeing a fast food restaurant or an advertisement for one? Commercials plague our favorite television shows. The advertising for fast food companies is completely out of control. It comes to the point where people come to believe fast food options are their ONLY options.

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