I'm a mom first, health professional second and shoe shopper extraordinaire third. I mention the shoe personality, because when shopping, I am extremely aware of retail marketing ploys. I know when a shoe shop or department store has done their homework, convincing me in subtle and subliminal ways, to stay and meander and sometimes buy shoes I really don't need. Certainly the use of a $99.99 price tag instead of a "full $100," is meant to lure me into thinking I am getting a bargain, and I recognize it, even as I give in and make the special price-worthy purchase. The expectation of being tempted is recognized, and when I give in, I own up to my weakness. But I am a straight shooter when it comes to the subjects of health and nutrition, especially marketing messaging.
As a health coach and nutritionist, I meet daily weight-challenged clients and they learn, from the outset of our relationship that they will get empathy and support wrapped in a no nonsense discussion of their food issues, and especially their denial tactics. In fact, I was telling people to "get real" long before Dr. Phil started to lose his hair. Not surprisingly, I am also part of the group of health experts demanding that food companies be more transparent with their advertising claims and certainly more honest with the marketing ploys they use to get kids buying and loving their products. That is why I am delighted with a new commercial that has just recently hit the air waves. It not only "tells a compelling story," which is what most marketing firms consider an ultimate advertising tool, but it also uses solid science from some recent studies, to convince the consumer (kids and adults) to make the purchase.
Have you seen the new 7Up commercial?? You know the one where a kid watches his mom enjoying a can of soda and then dreams of that same drinking joy as he moves through his teen years to full adulthood. What was your takeaway message? Well, let's dissect this brilliant commercial. First, the commercial utilizes findings from studies that suggest that parents are considered the ultimate behavior model by their kids, especially during the young formative years. One only needs to reference the recent discussions by health experts suggesting that parents cannot just "talk the talk of healthy habits," but rather need to model the behaviors they want to see in their kids. That means that a Dad sitting and watching TV while eating chips and drinking beer cannot possibly expect his son to go outside and play - even if tells him to do so. Nope, maybe Johnny will go out to play, but trust me he's dreaming of the day he can grow up to be like his beer-drinking, chip eating, TV-watching Dad. Kids really do see their parents as important role models and learn many of their behaviors at very young ages. How brilliant for 7UP to consider showcasing a mom drinking and enjoying soda while her son watches and dreams.....and in the average American home, kids are probably grabbing a can from the fridge as they watch..
And let's be fair to the makers of 7UP. They don't even attempt to hide the outcome of drinking soda and loving soda on a regular basis. Hence the use of a popular, albeit hefty figure, the well known performer Ceelo Green. Cmon...give Dr. Pepper the credit they deserve - there's no subterfuge here - they are doing just what we health experts have been begging them to do. Be honest and show the impact of your food, while making it tantalizingly tempting. So 7Up took a mom and showcased that if she drinks soda, her son will more than likely embrace that habit and grow up suffering with the complications science suggests is associated with a soda habit, namely a weight issue. I confess that my initial reaction when I saw the commercial and connected the dots (my way) was to sit up and gape. But now I feel nothing but admiration for the brutal health honesty showcased in this campaign. I hope other food manufacturers get with the program and adopt similar transparency!!
Published On: October 31, 2011