So can we talk about Special K's most recent #OwnIt campaign? If you haven't seen it - don't worry, - I have decided to share it for you below:
As a fat woman, I'm offended. But as a women (period), I'm offended. And do you know why? Because I'm sick and tired of these bullshit body positive campaigns being shilled out. Not just to me (as a women of size) but to all women. I don't know about you, but I haven't forgotten that Special K was a diet cereal. No amount of facts, figures, aspiration quotes or music that you pump into an ad is going to make me think otherwise. But perhaps I'm just a cynical person.
For years now, Special K has made money (and let's be honest: hundreds upon thousands of dollars) off of the insecurities of women who have been plagued with body images issues. More specifically, according to this Forbes article, the U.S. weight loss market totaled $64 billion in 2014. Special K has been and always will be a cereal specifically targeted at and sold to women as part of their 'weight management' process, therefore I'm not entirely certain that Kellogg's and Special K's message of body positivity is a well.. positive or well-meaning one. Although, I could be entirely wrong.
What makes me sad is that, according to this Bustle article, a recent report has found that ads such the #OwnIt campaign have changed women's minds in their purchasing habits when decided if and when they would be buying Special K. Which is exactly what the company wants!
The company has gone on record as saying that the campaign is about "self-empowerment, rather than counting calories". And I mean, I'm not going to lie and say I don't get it. The brand is trying to make a change with their marketing and I give them kudos. But I still have my doubts and rightly so. Most companies who are creating these viral 'body positive' campaigns are doing so at an attempt for quick clicks, shares and discussions on blogs (like this one) and not for the benefit of women or for their true mental and emotional well-being. I think what a lot of people end up forgetting is that when campaigns like these ones are made, there are people sitting around a boardroom table in an advertising agency thinking about how to sell their client's product and what will make their target demographic (women, 25-34, perhaps overweight) want or need to buy it. It sucks, but it's the truth.
Remember - ads such as these (although sold as empowering, uplifting or body positive) are just that: advertisements. While I am happy that companies are trying to take a step in the right direction, (and once again, kudos to that) seeing large brands like Dove or Lane Bryant come to mind take a stance on body positivity and body image. But the fact is: this is just branded empowerment. At the end of the day, this brand cares not for you but cares for their bottom line. Remember: branded empowerment is not empowerment.
Do you have any thoughts, feels or objections to the Special K #OwnIt or any other body positivity campaign? Comment and let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts.