Health advertising: Why does it treat us like idiots?

adminFood, general health, Health Marketing Leave a Comment

Watching the BBC programme the men who made us fat reminds me how the food, and health and fitness industries are all conflicted between making a profit and making us healthy. So nothing improves because everything gets confused with misinformation due to the competition going on. Companies can’t focus on making us healthy because making a profit must come first in such a highly competitive market.

Most that focus on health first have fallen by the wayside over the years. They just haven’t figured out how to make it profitable yet. So I think we need to explore why industry should care about our health. Until then we’ll get substandard products.

My answer is that we need to know more about ourselves. Become better consumers and invest in ourselves. We need to accept that good food, healthy lifestyles cost. We need to value our health enough to invest in it but we also need to understand as consumers why paying more for food is profitable for us. We need to value the quality that higher prices delivers. Until then we can’t blame an industry for chasing price over quality because that is where the profit is. We crave scale and we aren’t doing enough to change the balance.

We need to avoid false economies. Cheaper food at the checkout doesn’t necessarily save us money or add to our lives. Cheap food can leave us tired, bored (no flavour), or prone to over eating. It’s not to say that expensive food is better but to change our own mindset of valuing cost and quantity over taste, texture and quality. The experience of eating and the inherent value of good health.

When we vote with our wallets we don’t ask to be educated, to be shown exactly what something is doing for us. We generally just do what we’re told. We don’t know enough about how we work both as machines and as humans to make good choices and send the right message to the industry.

All of this requires knowledge and education. We just need to know much more about ourselves and how we fit the lives we lead and vice versa.

A rant I know but this  is what I see. Plain facts that are well established are often laughed at by people I come across because they know so little about their own genetics yet these same people are fully informed about general life politics, cars and sports. So it is not intellect thats the problem. Generally people would rather know a lot about everything other than themselves and the people they love. They know a lot about the superficial stuff but little about we actually work as humans.

Ask a motoring fan about his favourite car. He will tell you all sorts, twin cam, double over head compressor, turbo injection. Ask him why he likes it and he knows all about the physics that went into building the car. Ask a fashion fan about their favourite clothes and they will tell you all sorts. Which clothes go with what, how they accentuate this or that. They will really know their stuff.

Ask people about their bodies. Basics like why running at the same time as eating might be a bad idea or how sugar is converted to fat and you will get a blank face. Maybe the human body just isn’t that interesting. Or maybe it is most interesting to those who know how it works.

Until we stop being so naive about how we work as humans then the industry will continue to treat us like idiots. There isn’t much sense behind the decisions we make so there is no profit in using good logic to market foods. Sensationalism sells so sensationalism wins.

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