Special K Commercial and Body Image

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Have you seen the newest Special K commercial? A very skinny lady comes out and is thinking about skipping breakfast in order to lose weight. She decides instead to eat Special K because that is a healthier option than skipping breakfast. While I agree that eating breakfast is a good thing, I can’t help but wonder what message this is sending our youth and young adults. Being skinny isn’t skinny enough. No matter how skinny you are you should still be concerned about losing weight.

So I took some action. I emailed my concerns to Special K and here is their reply:

Mr. Dabbs,

Thank you for contacting us to express your concern about the appearance of the
actress in our most recent television ad for Kellogg’s® Special K ® cereal. We
appreciate the opportunity to offer a response.

The goal of this ad is to show that people can eat a satisfying breakfast, such
as the Special K® breakfast, and still lose weight. We recognize that many
consumers struggle with their weight and look to Special K® products to help
them with their weight management goals. We understand that we must portray
consumers responsibly in our advertising and we apologize that we did not live
up to your expectations in this ad. Please know that it is not our intent to
promote an unhealthy weight.

Kellogg Company cares very much about maintaining the good reputation we have
with our consumers and we do not want to have our name and products associated
with any negative meanings. We are very interested in how our consumers perceive
our messages and your concerns have been forwarded to the appropriate company
officials. Thank you for letting us know your thoughts.


Yesenia Sanchez
Consumer Affairs Department



Kellogg North America
Battle Creek, MI 49016-1986

I thought maybe I had made somewhat of a difference until yesterday when I saw this commercial again. Now, even our companies that are supposedly promoting health seem to be promoting an unhealthy lifestyle and unrealistic body image. I think that is a shame.

0 Responses

  1. Matt, you’ll notice that their letter was vary non-committal about what they are going to do about your concerns. You have to read between the lines when reading such letters. It really says:

    We will continue to portray people on our commercials in the way we feel necessary in order to sell our product. Only when enough people complain and our profit is in jeopardy will we consider choosing another angle. Thanks for your concern but at this moment we really don’t care a bit what your opinion is until a few thousand more just like come to us.

    Now do you know why that commercial is still on the TV after they’ve received your letter and sent you a reply?

  2. Matt,
    It is funny great post.
    But if our Body is the temple of God shouldn’t we be concerned on how we treat the temple? How the temple is fit? How good shape the temple is in? How much the temple wieghs ect? 🙂

  3. Preacherman —

    His argument isn’t that there aren’t people who do need to lose weight or eat more healthily. The point is that it’s an ALREADY skinny woman who is trying to lose weight. As he said, unrealistic body image.

  4. I watched the same ad while watching tv with my 7 year old daughter. I went completely berserk! How is it that Special K which purports to be a “diet” product doesn’t see the benefit in showing that an overweight person (slightly, or otherwise) doesn’t have to starve themselves to lose weight. Simply plug in a heavier actress and voila, an ad that is similar to, let’s say, weight watchers? The average women who see this ad will be just as attracted to this product generally because they have a mental image of themselves being in need of losing or maintaining their weight without skipping meals.
    On a similar note, any ad on tv portraying a “real” woman sits them down first and spends hours on hair, makeup, and wardrobe. Don’t tell me a gorgeous, slightly overweight woman can’t sell cereal!

  5. I am appalled by the most recent Special K commercial. The woman, probably a size 1, pops her button – – – You have got to be kidding me! Good for you for complaining. I’m sure your letter has been filed neatly in the circuiar file, but you should be proud of yourself for speaking up.

  6. Hi Everyone.

    My name is Rachelle and I’m the actress in the commercial. First of all- kind of stinks that you are trying to get the commercial off the air– considering thats my income…however, I feel I must correct you all in your accusations about my weight and size. I am 5’8 and I weigh 137 pounds. I wear a size 5 and exercise regularly. I am very healthy. My doctor says my bmi is right on target for my health. Those of you saying Im probably a size 1 are completely wrong. I know for a fact that at the Callbacks for this job, I was probably the largest woman there. Most of the girls I go up against ARE size 0,1,2… but I am healthy and that is why I got this commercial. Secondly, the point of it has nothing to do with thinking Im fat or needing to loose weight…the commercial is intended to identify with women who sometimes think skipping breakfast will help them loose weight. That is not healthy yet many people continue to skip meals in hopes of dropping a few pounds. I am happy the commercial advertises the importance of breakfast in maintaining a HEALTHY weight. It doesnt have anything to do with being skinny. I think a lot of people jumped to conclusions about that.

    I hope this clarifies any concerns you all might have. And I sure hope they keep running the commercial because I have a mortgage to maintain!

  7. Rachelle,

    Really, really interesting and I really appreciate you clearing things up. Sorry if I jumped to any conclusions in my initial post. The commercial I am referring two was about a year and a half ago and there have been a couple of other since…I am not referring to the lady who pops the button as referenced in the comments.

    Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I thought showing a woman who clearly doesn’t need to lose weight thinking about losing weight maintains a line of unhealthy thinking that pervades out culture. That is a tough thing to talk about in a healthy way and I am glad the commercial shows someone making a healthy choice rather than an unhealthy one. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for clearing that up! Hope you keep up those mortgage payments 🙂

  8. I like that you are pointing out that there is an unrealistic body image being portrayed. The woman in the commercial is fit and beautiful. She could be eating more than cereal and maintaining her very nice figure.

  9. Hello again,

    I would like to mention that cheese is a fermented milk-based food which has 502 calories per serving and is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors.

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