I don’t watch network television but thanks to some decent shows running right now I have ended up on Hulu watching things like Agent Carter. That’s a topic for another time but I sure do like it.
What has caught my attention more is the Weight Watchers commercial I keep seeing since even a paid Hulu account makes you watch some commercials. You can watch it here:
So basically it’s a two minute recap of everything that has been expressed about addictive consumerist culture in fills like Requiem for a Dream or songs like “All You Can Eat” by Ben Folds. It’s filled with disgusting images only slightly modified fro their origin in films about food factories, commercials, cooking shows, all punctuated by the narrator encouraging you since “you gotta eat.”
At the end the sensory overload of the video passes and we are left with an empty white plate and Weight Watchers presenting themselves as the solution to the overwhelming pressure that had been the majority of the visual so far. Weight Watchers says that we can be free ro that if we use their service and, honestly, I think it is an admirable goal to help fight that sort of consumerist culture.
The food we are shown is never appetizing but always desired, not for its own quality but for the ever increasing need to fill a void. Weight Watchers has pegged itself as the solution to this pressure, a method to self discipline through better eating and ultimately regaining control of your life.
This is one of my favorite advertisements that I’ve seen in a long time. I love the ideas behind it, the recognition that eating issues are less about the food itself and more about eotions, control, pressure, and self image. It isn’t selling thinness, it’s selling the idea of being in the driver’s seat of your life instead of a passive victim stuck in line at a drive thru.
But does it work? From what I’ve read it aired during the Super Bowl, a festival of excess dedicated to even more heart burning chili dip. For many it’s a chance to binge on the very food the commercial points out as disturbing nad overpowering while socializing. For others it’s about that food and sports. And then there are the people who are only in it for the commercials but even then those who want the commercials want the hilarious Budweiser frogs of yesteryear, not something thought provoking and potentially life saving.
So was it an error to air an ad that was basically an attack on the sport of excess in the iddle of their annual high point? I’m not sure. I imagine most people ignoring it since there wasn’t a talking frog or awesome stars like Danny Trejo or Steve Buschemi cast as the Brady Bunch sticks with me.
It’s a Superbowl ad for those of who are there to completely ignore the television and get home as soon possible. Are we a growing dynamic? I don’t know. But it’s a nice thing to watch when I temporarily entertain the thought of going to Old Country Buffet for all you can eat chicken wings.