Obesity and Squandered Attention

Obesity and Squandered Attention

Astronaut overweight persuade-meter-wo

An obese astronaut gets readers’ attention, but the ad squanders it.

The ad hopes to encourage parents to make sure their children eat healthily and avoid obesity because “No child dreams of becoming an overweight adult.”

If the reader thinks about it, the ad associates obesity with ruined childhood dreams and, in turn, the ad associates parental efforts to combat childhood obesity with preserving childhood dreams and, in turn, feeling like a good parent. If the reader thinks about it, a fact is translated into a feeling. But that is more thinking about it than most readers will do.

Getting from the image to the general recommended action and to then reward for the recommended action requires too much mental processing. Good advertising should leave out everything the audience will provide on their own. But, in this case, the advertising leaves out more. Readers will smile at the image of an obese astronaut and move on.

The League Against Obesity may make more progress by encouraging parents to give their kids an apple instead of cookies–something simple, and concrete that parents know how to do. Vaguely telling parents that they should not let their children become obese isn’t much help. No parent wants obese children. But they do want some practical help to avoid the problem.



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