Expectation vs. reality of fast food advertisement

Hear me out on this exploration of the advertising campaigns of fast food. It’s a complicated issue and I’m merely musing.

The advertisements of fast food have a lot to answer for. We’ve heard of parents wanting to sue a certain fast food chain for aiming its commercials at children but I have a bone to pick with all fast foods that aim at the general population.

If you’re not in Australia, I’ll fill you in. It’s summer right now, so we have all the fast food restaurants selling frozen colas and tropical menu specials. And how do they advertise this? Well, Australia has an ideology of itself that it is a beach-dwelling, surf-bum, super laidback country – which in some aspects is true. Some. And I mean only some, as in: a subculture of a minority group .

My gripe with television advertising promotes this ideology using super thin/athletic actors. Sure, sexual appeal (what society tells us is sexy) sells. The happy, surf-trip, beach-habitating freedom of summer is plastered on those actors’ faces as they devour junk food. The result is subliminally messaging to the viewers at home, ‘eat this and achieve this lifestyle,’ but we know that to be the absolute untruth.

If we want that lifestyle, we have to work our butts off at the gym and live off salads. Sad but true.

So is it crazy of me to be a little curious as to why, since everyone is so against the rise of obesity (banning confectionary at school canteens etc), they don’t employ less-athletic actors to play the roles of burger eaters to really show what happens if you eat too many burgers, too often?

I know, I know; it’s all about profit and just because somebody is less-athletic doesn’t mean they even eat burgers. Burgers weren’t what made me fat so I get that argument, and vice versa – super skinny/athletic people can eat burgers too. But I’m talking of marketing here; the intended audience of fast food advertising is unlikely to be a majority of super-fit, clean-eating people is it?

I wonder if their sales would change if they did change their actor-types. I wonder if it should even matter. Burgers will always sell, regardless of their market. In fact, I see mostly elderly people in fast food restaurants. They’re certainly not what you expect to be a major market for fast food but I understand that living on a pension makes it difficult to eat healthily, which is a discussion I plan on having in the next few days (so stay tuned).

So I’ll wrap up by encouraging people to think discernibly about what they see in marketing campaigns and why big companies expect us to believe that we can have this totally awesome, fit and vibrant summer by eating their junk food, despite pretty much everything else telling us that burgers and bikinis do not mesh well. It’s no wonder we live in such a confused society while we have all this conflicting information.

What are your thoughts?

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