The Unreal Skinny

I’ve been slightly discouraged this week on my paper topic. I cannot find any comprehensive articles on what is a huge trend in marketing: using body image words (such as skinny and naked) to sell products, whether it be beverages, jeans, body lotions, or healthy menus. So I will share some interesting tidbits I’ve come across in my research this week.

I unveiled an interesting (and relatively recent) controversy surrounding the word “skinny.” During New York Fashion Week, Pepsi unveiled its new “skinny can.” The more I’m learning about Diet Pepsi, the more I’m confused about the purpose of its new marketing campaign, which appears to be aimed at reviving the Diet Pepsi brand. But the new face of the brand is Sofia Vergara, a celebrity who has been praised for her womanly shape and curvaceous figure. Her image is even featured in the “new skinny can” advertisements.Image

“Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks,” said PepsiCo Chief Marketing Offer Jill Beraud to Refinery 29.

Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association quickly fired back with a public statement: “It is painful that a major Fortune 500 company needs to denigrate the majority of women in this country to sell their products…Pepsi should be ashamed for declaring that skinny is to be celebrated.” This got me thinking. Are other brands using the word skinny to market their products because they all think skinny should be celebrated?

After reading about the Diet Pepsi can controversy, I plan on contacting the National Eating Disorders Association and getting its opinion on other products that I’m exploring in my paper such as the Skinnygirl Margarita and the Skinny latte at Starbucks.

Apparently one barista at Starbucks was never onboard with the “skinny” beverage alternative back.  In 2008 she wrote lengthy letter to the Starbucks Corporation, but I find this quote most interesting, and most applicable to my paper:

“It is politically incorrect. Should we start calling drinks with 2% or whole milk and regular syrups “Fat” or “Obese?” Consider what customers on line waiting for their turn to order their drink will think if they hear the drink before them being called out as “Skinny.” It leaves the door open for the next person on line to be offended.” Click here to read the full letter she sent to the corporate bosses over at Starbucks.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Unreal Skinny

  1. It’s interesting that they’re using Sofia and purposely not showing her body in this ad. Do all the ads look like this?

  2. It’s interesting that although they’re using Sofia Vergara, they’re not showing her body here.

  3. joakdantzen

    I really like how these critics are associating their bodies with a Pepsi can. You can’t deny that the can itself is skin nny and it’s a pretty good descriptor. And the way that Pepsi markets it as an anesthetic thing almost makes it sound like they’re purposefully avoiding the body image issue.

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