Are Americans as sensitive as we are fat? Reactions to polarzing campaign about child obesity.
February 2, 2012
We’re too fat. Stop sugarcoating it.
The above ‘Stop Childhood Obesity’ campaign from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta only broke a few weeks ago but it has already polarized an overly sensitive and fat nation. Comments on their Facebook page range from “It’s horrible!” to “It’s about time!” Clearly, the emotional honesty of the campaign has touched a nerve in our society. For more on that, here’s coverage from the Los Angeles Times: STORY.
From a creative perspective the work is dead simple. It features overweight children talking to the camera and/or their parents. Shot in black and white, the tone is uncompromisingly serious. While the kids aren’t crying, they most certainly aren’t happy. What’s more they don’t come off as actors, either. (Not that it matters, an overweight child-actor is still an overweight child.)
As I think about this work, one thing that strikes me is how rare it is seeing kids being straightforward and serious as opposed to happy or sad. As a culture, we expect our children either laughing and playing or crying and tantrumy, especially in commercials. Refreshingly, that is not the case here.
I also appreciate the way the spots put parents (and society) on the spot. “Mom, Why am I so fat?” That’s a brutal question for any parent to answer, especially if he or she is overweight. Mom can’t get out of the chair, literally or figuratively.
While some may argue these spots are hurtful to children or disrespectful to parents, I say so what. As I write this, in the waiting room of a car dealership, the TV is turned on to a show about fat people competing to slim down. Children see those programs, too. Why no stink there? Whatever. Child obesity is a massive problem and it isn’t just the state of Georgia that needs to “stop sugarcoating it.”