Pretzel Crisp says “You Can Never Be Too Thin”

Disclaimer: The narrator in the video calls the campaign “bull****” at the of the video.

You Can Never be Too Thin – Pretzel Crisp

In early August, Pretzel Crisp launched an an ad campaign in New York City with several slogans including “You can never be too thin”. The ad was found everywhere from ad stands to bus stands and in subway stations. Immediately the news took hold of the blogosphere spread the the power of social media, but the attention was clearly not the attention Pretzel Crisp intended.

Pretzels Never Too Thin Marketing

Photos of the ad was posted on a women’s blog called Jezebel followed by a scathing and condemning posts angry at the implications of such a message: “you can never be too thin”. The slogan was brought up as a “thinspiration” motto used by the pro-anorexic community. It was deemed wrong and completely irresponsible as it promotes unhealthy weight loss. The photo was posted and reposted on numerous blogs and spread through articles, tweets and videos from other bloggers.

Pretzel Crisp’s Response to Thin Message

The company responded to the flurry with a tweet on it’s twitter account. The response? “Thin just happens to be a good word to describe the shape of our product.” As the issue became bigger and bigger, the VP of Marketing started to show up on interviews with bloggers to explain the situation. He explained that they were a small company and simply wanted to launch an attention grabbing ad. Well if that was the goal, they achieved what they wanted!

Pretzel Crisp soon tweeted that “We didn’t intend to advocate unhealthy weight loss with our ads. Thanks to all for the feedback. The ads will be taken down asap.” The people rejoiced. Justice was served, or so they thought. The ads were replaced with one of the other pro-anorexic play on words, “Taste as good as skinny feels”.

Outrage ensued again, but this time Pretzel’s response was that “you can never be too thin” was but one of four slogans and only that particular ad had negative responses. So they did the logical thing to replace that particular ad with one of the other three.

A week later, the company finally agreed to take down all their ads.

Many bloggers feel that this may have been a publicity stunt to raise more awareness of their brand. Though I am certain they were not expecting this level of response.

Thoughts on Pretzel Crisp’s Ads

My opinion?

It seems like Pretzel just made a really bad mistake. They thought they had a clever advertising motto as they tried to convey their Pretzels’ thin shape. They did the right thing in quickly responding to the criticisms and taking action. Where they made the mistake was claiming ignorance in saying they only thought one of their ads were causing the problem. If they would have taken them all down, the impression they would have left with people could have been very different.

But I don’t think they had any intention of promoting a pro-anorexic message. Also as exciting as the idea of them plotting this as a publicity stunt – it unlikely they did that as well. Not with a touchy subject such as anorexia.

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  1. Wow are you serious? This is unreal, and a real sign that the general population is getting dumber. How could anyone be… wow i’m struggling for the word here… naive? stupid?… i mean really? Can someone be walking down the street, completely content with their life, only to come across an ad for f**king pretzels and think “duuuuuur i better stop eating. Me is so fat!”. Does this really happen? If this ad caused even ONE emotionally-fragile easily-persuaded idiot to die from an eating disorder i honestly think society would be better for it. In my mind it’s one less to worry about. The immediate response to my point of view from relatives or anti-eating disorder advocates is “Oh you monster YOU are the one that deserves to die!”. Well sure, if i saw an ad that poked fun at suicide, and immediately blew my brains out because i let posters i see on the street make decisions for me then i do deserve to die.
    Ha ha ha, thanks i needed a laugh today 🙂

  2. I think the main issue is how pervasive the “get thin” message is. On magazine, in movies, by their peers, etc. When you get to the point that you’re snack food is saying “maybe you are fat” some people might think this is going too far.

    I don’t know. I’m not that target of this ad, and I am guessing you’re not either, but when you have actresses like Natalie Portman losing 30 pounds to play a movie role…eh, whatever.

    Seems reasonable that some people might object.

  3. … I like the ad. It does not make me think of anorexia or thinspo, it makes me think of health foods. This is almost as ridiculous as banning photoshop because it gives girls an unrealistic ideal of body image. -.- the company should not be liable for the people’s interpretation of it.

    Also, whatever happened to obesity being a national epidemic? We have one hand holding a sign saying ‘love your body’ and the other hand holding a sign saying ‘oh by the way, you’re going to die of a heart attack.’

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