29 April 2012
Hydroxycut Advertisements and Their Effects on Young Women
Iovative Health Sciences, Inc. is the owner of the diet supplement brand Hydroxycut. The company advertises through numerous media channels to reach its countless viewers. The Hydroxycut advertisements are most commonly visual images like commercials, billboards, and print ads that carry a voice all their own. With teen girls and young women being the majority of Hydroxycut’s audience it is only natural to focus on them and how Hydroxycut advertisements affect them. At this unripe but blossoming age, body image, how they see themselves, as well as how others see them is what primarily influences their self-esteem. Iovative Health Sciences, Inc. is mindful of this scenario, so they use it to their advantage by preying on young women’s insecurities and exploiting them. The British psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, and journalist of the article Losing Bodies, Susie Orbach explains, “So deep and so pervasive is the sense that our bodies are not okay as they are that private organizations see profitable opportunities […]” (par.10). Day after day young women are exposed to Hydroxycut advertisements that tell them how they should think, feel, and look using convincing strategies to add to the already media induced thin ideal body image. Hydroxycut visual ads take part in molding this thin ideal and implementing it into the minds of teen girls and young women prompting them to turn to more drastic measures like eating disorders to fit this media influenced cultural standard. If one looks at the advertisements promoting the Hydroxycut brand they will see that the job of the marketing department is to create an idea of what the perfect body should look like; this is done using models as their prototypes. Many depictions of the prototypes used in the ads are misrepresented and deceptive; this creates false impressions in the minds of these females. Mia Consalvo, Ph.D. in Communication Studies at Concordia University and the author of Cash Cows Hit the Web: Gender and Communications Technology describes how, “Beautiful models are often promoted as “natural,” the natural look promoted is itself fake, the result of airbrushing and digital enhancements” (390). The visuals of young, fit, and attractive women are intended to show the viewer that they need this product to not only, look like the models in the ads, but to really be accepted in our current society and in American culture. Author Susie Orbach describes how they relate, “The body is being reshaped by visual culture in literally thousands of presentations weekly that we receive through television, magazines, newspapers, digital media, and advertising” (392). This means that the audiences of mass media are developing personal constructs of how the ideal human body is supposed to look based on what the media conveys to them and the rest of the public. Just like in the various Hydroxycut advertisements, there are many female models of diverse ethnicities, hair color, and heights but share the same physical traits such as being young, in shape, and attractive. The goal in this is to relate to the consumer no matter what ethnicity, hair color, or height they are, Hydroxycut will still work for them. In these same advertisements the models are placed next to what is supposed to be their “before the use of Hydroxycut” picture. This is also a tactic to relate, as well as deceive, the consumer by showing them that the model was once like them and Hydroxycut was the answer to their problem and is the answer to the viewer’s problem as well. Several other schemes are used in the Hydroxycut ads to persuade the viewers into not only believing in the product and that they need to resemble Hydroxycut brand’s ideal body image to fit in, but also into buying their product.
Iovative Health Sciences, Inc. continually uses an approach in their advertisements in which they have...