Insensitive Ad: Am I Overreacting?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I had a rare opportunity to be a total couch potato on Sunday as I was battling a rare summertime cold. My weekends are usually chocked full of activities that I usually do not have the freedom to watch too much TV, but because I have a half-marathon to run in Seattle on Saturday, I needed to make sure I was well on my way to a full recovery even if that meant I did nothing rest.

Well, what I discovered is there is not much to watch on television, especially on a summer Sunday, however I did have the opportunity to view a remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, as well as an episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I must say both shows were quite entertaining—one allowed me to sing along to one of my all-time favorite musicals and the other, well let’s just say, I had no clue that one could use seaweed and sea salt in a cupcake and still have it taste yummy.

So you may be wondering where I am going with all this. As entertaining as the programs were, the same cannot be said about the advertisements. I was appalled at a commercial from a company that has promoted healthier fast food options for years. That restaurant? Subway.

The commercial shows various individuals eating hamburgers while participating in summertime activities. One is floating in the pool on a raft, one sitting in a hammock, another sitting at the beach and another jumping in the pool, all accompanied to the theme song from “A Summer’s Place” playing in the background. As the commercial continues to play, it then shows the woman on the float quickly sinking, the gentleman falling though the hammock, the woman’s swimsuit top bursting open with a young boy looking on, and a gentleman jumping off the diving board while it breaks in two. I guess the point being that eating greasy foods is what caused all these events to happen. In other words, the consequence to eating greasy hamburgers is to be ridiculed in a television commercial.

I am shocked that in this day and age where we are told that we need to be more sensitive to those around us, the one area that is a free-for-all for others to ridicule is those who do not fit the so-called ‘normal’ weight. From television shows, to movies, to commercials it isn’t uncommon to see the overweight being the brunt of many jokes and I for one am not buying it any more.

I was so upset after seeing this commercial that I immediately sent an email to the company. To have a company tout such celebrities as swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Nastia Liukin in another commercial only to belittle the average American in another just doesn’t sit right with me. With so many Americans battling a weight issue, disparaging people is not the way to go. We would dare not demean others for their ethnic or religious background, then why is it OK to demean someone based on their size?

Have you had the opportunity to view this commercial? Do you think I am being overly sensitive about this subject? Do you think the overweight community is the one area TV takes liberty to demean without consequence?