We’re coming up on the silly season with sales events like Black Friday and Boxing Day, not to mention all the advertising for gift ideas for Christmas.
So now is the perfect time to talk about the way you advertise.
We consume dozens, if not hundreds of ads per day. On TV, on billboards, on the websites we browse, scrolling through feeds, in newspapers and magazines, on the sides of buses, inside trains, in shop fronts, and more. Even that annoying thing where Netflix plays a trailer right after you finish a series is advertising.
It’s all around us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s having an impact on us. It’s rewiring our brains to believe that if only we can have a certain thing or look a certain way can we be happy. Happy because finally, we will be accepted and loved by those around us.
Think of the teenager who has to have the latest iPhone. Or the middle aged man who buys a red convertible he can’t afford. Or the woman who goes on a dangerous diet in order to lose weight.
It’s frankly bullshit, no one needs to look a certain way or have the latest iPhone in order to be loved and accepted.
Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.
– Brené Brown
We, as an industry, are one of the worst culprits for getting people to buy our products and services through the use of shame advertising. Push on the pain point. Drive the needle in to that person’s deep wounds around self-worth.
Here are some examples of shaming I see our industry use:
- Phrases like ‘beach body’ or ‘pre-baby body’.
- Before and after photos focusing on the shape of the ‘after’ body.
- Indicating that the ideal body is one that is not fat/skinny/weak/insert-word-here.
A beach body is a body. An ‘after’ body is not just what it looks like, it’s also what it can now do. A post-baby body is a place where a miracle occurred.
On the surface marketing that uses shaming can seem harmless. You can take the stance that it’s about getting someone to take action but as I mentioned before, because we see so much of this stuff everyday, it’s affecting the ability of people to be able to see themselves as they really are.
Depression, anxiety and suicide are at all time highs I believe in part due to the fact that we simply can not live up to the standards that advertising tells us is ‘normal’.
So I have a favour to ask.
With the silly season upon us and with New Years and New Years resolutions just around the corner, I’d like to ask you to think twice before you post an advertisement that is just going to add to the noise telling the world that ‘they are not enough’ as they are.
We must do better, we must be better.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.