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Pro-Anorexia Pretzel Ad Under Fire

by | Conditions and Disorders, Eating disorders, Latest News

Home Conditions and Disorders Pro-Anorexia Pretzel Ad Under Fire

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Photo courtesy of Jezebel.com, as a user submission from K. Knipfing


A recent poster spotted around New York City has been branded by the eating disorder association as the pro-anorexia pretzel. The slogan “You Can Never Be Too Thin” has sparked a national outrage leading many to graffiti add-ons such as “Actually you can” as well as other X-rated comments.
Pretzel Crisps, the company advertising these ideas, has responded to the controversy, saying, “We in no way advocate unhealthy weight loss or want to promote a bad body image. We appreciate your feedback and apologize if the ad offended people. We are listening to feedback and making some adjustments to the campaign.”
They did change the slogan, but with another dubious slogan: “Tastes as good as skinny feels.” Although they took action to change the slogan, they seem to have misunderstood that these slogans are not promoting a healthy idea.
The pretzels being advertized are very thin 100 calorie pretzel crackers. The idea behind the slogans is to show how thin, or skinny the pretzels are. When brainstorming possible slogans, I can understand how these ideas could have sounded great. Unfortunately, they did not take into consideration the society we live in. Their attempt to be clever has backfired from people who claim these ads encourage people not to eat. An East Village blogger EV Grieve notes the ads “still want us to feel badly about our bodies.” Jezebel, the widely read Gawker Media blog that focuses on women’s issues also declared the ads are “tastefully marketed to eating-disordered demographic.”
In response to the criticisms via Twitter, Pretzel Crisps insisted that protesters are just “using the word ‘thin’ in a creative way to describe our product and people are interpreting [the ads] in their own way.” I agree with this statement, but unfortunately, they did not consider the bigger picture and are now simply defending themselves against the growing criticism surrounding the ads.
Perry Abbenante, Vice President of Marketing at Snack Factory LLC, maker of Pretzel Crisps has responded:
“We hope people noticed what isn’t in the ads: No extra thin, scantily clad female models; No mention of dieting programs, points, etc… Our website and facebook page are all about EATING. We talk about pairing our product in different ways for appetizers. We want people to eat. Our health benefits section details how we can be part of a healthy eating regimen. We in no way advocate unhealthy weight loss or want to promote a bad body image. We appreciate your feedback and apologize if the ad offended people. We are listening to feedback and making some adjustments to the campaign.”
In regards to these ads being considered pro-anorexia, I’m going to have to disagree. Do I agree that these ads are wrong and unhealthy? Yes, absolutely. However, I can understand Pretzel Crisps’ advertising ideas as well as the outrage surrounding the slogan. The head markers that created this slogan were probably men, who are mostly clueless as to the struggles that women today face in regards to body image. Nevertheless, I feel that Pretzel Crisps were irresponsible with their words and ideas.