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.

Take our Poll! Let us know how you feel in comments!

[poll id=”23″]

  • What is your opinion?
  • Intentional or a Bad Mistake?
  • Does this ad anger you?
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Tim Tebow’s CBS Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad Battle on Facebook

Tim Tebow’s Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

Tim Tebow SuperBowl Ad - CBS Focus on the Family Ad MotherHave you ever heard of a viral video that no one has seen? A group called Focus on the Family has shot a pro-life spot featuring the college superstar and former Heisman Winner Tim Tebow. The spot will star Tim Tebow and his mother who will discuss how she went against the doctor’s advice to abort her son due to a life threatening infection. After contracting a dangerous infection during a mission trip to the Philippines, doctors recommended she terminate her pregnancy, fearing she might die during childbirth. They named their son “Timmy” who later was known to the world as Tim Tebow, the University of Florida’s Quarterback who led his team to national championships in 2006 and 2008. He also won the Heisman Trophy in 2007.

Tim Tebow is the biggest star in college football, if not considered one of the greatest college football player to ever play at that level. He is also known for being born in the Philippines while his parents were in the mission field and still frequently joins his father on mission trips there. He also ministers to prisoners during the off-season.

As soon as this news broke out, women’s group started to ask CBS to drop the ad. So far CBS has declined their request.

“I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe… that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it.” – Tim Tebow

CBS’s Stance on Controversial Super Bowl Ads

CBS has run into similar controversies before. Back in 2004, CBS had rejected a Super Bowl ad from a “liberal-leaning United Church of Christ” that highlighted their welcoming stance towards gays and others who felt shunned by conservative chruches. This ad would be one of the first advocacy ads accepted by CBS during the big game.

When CBS was asked to comment on their current stance of allowing this ad to air, they replied that their past stance of rejecting any controversial ad as they saw fit “did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms”.

“We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms.” – Dana McClintock CBS Spokesperson

Growing Discussions on Facebook and Twitter

One of the interesting developments, is with the rise of social media, this topic has resulted in tons of discussions and activities in sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Both sides have started to form groups, throwing their support for or against this ad. Below are the largest growing groups on Facebook:

Americans United for Life Action – Facebook Group Supporting Ad (43,500+ Members)
Facebook Group Supporting Ad 2 (31,2001+ Members)
Facebook Group Against Ad (7200+ Members)

Tim Tebow SuperBowl Ad - CBS Focus on the Family Ad
Twitter Activity on "Tebow" Search since News Broke

Online buzz is continuing to ramp up and will inevitably become larger as Super Bowl Sunday nears. The question is what will CBS do? Freedom of Speech? Avoid the Controversy? One thing that is certain – once it airs, it will spread quickly across the web and there will be numerous discussions over this video spot. The discussions are already heating up.

What do you think? Should CBS Air the Super Bowl Ad?

  • Should CBS air this ad?
  • Should CBS have aired the ad from 2004?
  • Should controversial ads be allowed to air? Why or Why not?

Another interesting point noted by a commenter on the web:

  • Since the mother made her “choice” would this still fall under a celebration of “pro-choice” or is that at this point just semantics and “pro-choice” is just support for abortion? (this is assuming the ad doesn’t attack the idea of choice)

Share your thoughts! We’d like to know.

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Photoshop Celebrities at Kaiserdamm Metro Station

Check out these photos of billboards put up at Kaiserdamm metro station in Berlin, Germany. The original ad was for Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, and Christina Aguilera’s new albums. However Mr. Tailon, Baveux Prod., Kone, & Epox put up giant photoshop stickers to transform this giant ad into a “street art”.

Pretty clever, though it is still vandalism.

Photoshop Celebrity Poster 2
Photoshop Celebrity Poster

Wasn’t this a pretty clever stunt?

  • Vandalism or Deserved?
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AMP UP Pepsi Iphone App – “Before You Score”

AMP UP / Pepsi Iphone App “Before You Score” Gone too Far?

Pepsi has been known as a company not afraid to push limits and try out new innovative methods in reaching it’s potential consumers. Have they gone to far?

“Before You Score” AMP UP

AMP UP Pepsi - Iphone App
AMP’s latest attempt to utilize social media became a huge controversial issue. AMP is an energy drink company owned by Pepsi. They have always utilized guy-centric advertising focusing on extreme sports and women. Their marketing approach is a tamer version of another company called AXE who uses extremely risque and degrading advertising.

AMP launched an Iphone app called “before you score” that helps men score with women. Within the application itself, the app breaks down women into 24 categories and provides various pickup lines and suggestions. Examples of such categories are “Rebound Girl”, “Twins”, “Foreign Exchange Student” and even “Married”. Depending on the type of person she is, it is suggesting specific things to say as well can be used to find specific places to eat. The whole point is to convince the subject that you share her interest with the overall goal of getting them into bed. The iTunes store has a description that says “roadmap to success with your favorite kinds of women”.

Let’s think about the culture pepsi is promoting here.

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France to Regulate Airbrushed & Photoshopping Pictures

France: Regulate those Manipulated Pictures!

This is going to create some interesting controversy. French lawmakers have decided to regulate airbrushing photos by requiring disclaimers on photos that are photoshopped or enhanced in any way. Image manipulation has been a practice going on since long before photoshop, to create stunning and perfect pictures for advertisement purposes. This action was taken as a way of fighting against body image issues at the source.

This disclaimer would be needed in newspapers, photos, magazines, political pieces, product packaging, art photography and any situation where there is a “retouched photograph aimed at changing a person’s physical appearance.”

Hours of Hair & Makeup followed by Hours of Photo Manipulation

Even after hours of hair and makeup styling, photos used in print often go through hours of photo manipulation. Some very common practices are to slim waistlines, slim the hips, lengthen the neck and legs, alter facial structures, increase symmetry, widen eyes, fix nose shape, have a woman’s breast lifted, change skin colors, add shadows, add tones, move eyebrows, remove bad marks, erase freckles, change the background, and stylize the hair. An altered photo can look dramatically different from the original.

Photoshopped Images - Amber Mac

The photo above is an example of what photoshop can do in a mere 5 minutes of photoshop work. During a 5 minute segment on Homepage, a show on CP24, Greg Danbrooke demonstrated how Photoshop is the real tool behind the perfection we see on magazine covers and billboards.

Check out the step by step difference here

Also if you haven’t seen the Dove Evolution Video watch it!

This law was proposed by French MP Valirie Boyer who also released a report on anorexia and bulimia. The concern has always been the effects of unrealistic body images has on young boys and girls. Starting at an early age a girl is exposed to so many images of beautiful celebrities, disproportionate barbie dolls, photos of women who have slender body types and seemingly perfect features. It is no wonder 62% of girls feel insecure about themselves and 81% of 10 years old fears getting fat.

“Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age. In some cases this leads to anorexia or bulimia and very serious health problems.” – French MP Valerie Boyer

50+ French politicians have voiced their support for this legislation. The fine for breaking this law would be a fine of approximately $48K USD or 50% of the campaign costs.

[poll id=”14″]

  • Do you think this law is a good idea or a bad idea?
  • Do you think this law should pass?
  • Is photoshopped bodies a detriment to self-image especially in children?

Please share your thoughts below!

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Famous Manipulated Photos – Pre Photoshop

Did you know the images you see in magazines are touched up and photoshopped to be pleasing to the eye?

Manipulation of Images in Media

I am sure you all said yes. Everything we see today has been digitally enhanced. Every face we see is not only cleaned up, but necks are trimmed, the chins are tucked, and eyes are enlarged. Every blemish from the skin is erased, hair is made more glimmery, all this on top of picking the prettiest of models (see Dove Video). It is no wonder media has such a negative influence on the way children perceive themselves and their own self-image.

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Protect our Bubble Babies with Our Stuff

Get your saline-soaked, aloe-treated, grape-scented tissues for your child! It’ll make blowing your child’s nose safe and fun! Don’t let him feel discomfort. Be a good parent.

In the Kiddie-Safety Industrial Complex, parents are gobbling up hitherto unheard-of stuff like those Boogie Wipes tissues, toy wagons with seat belts, sure-grip gloves for lifting baby out of the bath, and even knee pads for babies to wear when they start to crawl over that crushed glass you chose instead of carpeting for the nursery.

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How Politicians, Media & Advertising Influence our Minds

Media Influence on Public PerceptionMedia doesn’t affect me that much

If you think media does not influence you all that much, you got another thing coming. There is a reason corporations spend billions of dollars on advertising. It works. It influences our behaviors, our values, and plays to our emotions. How many things have we bought that we thought would make us happy only to have the happiness wear off after a couple weeks? What made us think it would make us happy in the first place?

Psychology Studies of Human Behavior with Authority

Anyone familiar with the history of psychology will remember the Stanford Prison Experiment by Phil Zimbarbo. This study placed subjects as either a prison guard or a prisoner. The study was stopped only 6 days into the experiment because the guards were getting extremely abusive while the prisoners were experiencing real distress and trauma. Those in the role of the prison guards became lost in their given authority while the prisoners became increasingly submissive and started to follow orders without questions. What this study shows us is that the power of “authority” has a deep impact on our behavior and our ability to make wise choices.

Another principle in psychology is “social proof”. This is where individuals look for guidance in their decisions by looking at others, especially those who we see as an authority on the subject. There has been many studies were the most dominate personality would have the most impact simply because they seemed to have knowledge and authority whether they actually did or not.

Relying on Authority Figures for Blind Guidance

For these very reasons, both in politics and in general advertising, groups seek out leaders or celebrities who can speak with authority on their behalf. Sometimes very little fact or evidence is given, but the mere fact that someone with authority speaks has enough of an impact on the general public. I didn’t care about Global Warming until Al Gore said to care. I just assume Jordan shoes are better because they are Jordans. Masses feel reassured the economic bailout would help when our leaders endorse it wholeheartedly.

Speaking of our current economic crisis – let’s face it, most of us know very little about the inner workings of the economy and what has actually caused many of our current problems. We might have very strong opinions about it, but most of our opinions were influenced by what we have read from the media or something we heard from some financial analyst. We soak up and are persuaded by the blame thrown around in media. We know very little about how the economic bailouts would actually help, but our decision to support or go against it, is simply dependent on a few quotes from authority figures and politicians. The politicians tell the media to blame the CEOs and we say go after them! Even if the problem may have stemmed from the politicians themselves and their ineffective policies.

Be Aware of Media’s Influence on Public Perception

Our lack of knowledge and facts forces us to defer to authority figures and whatever we are fed by the media. Politicians and advertisers are experts in this game. Just look at the presidential elections, there is so much lying, truth twisting, feel good advertising, and baseless personal attacks just to influence public perception that groups are formed just dedicated to checking out the facts, yet even then the damage is done. Doesn’t matter if the attack was a lie, they’ve already painted the perception.

It is important that the public become more aware of how easily we are persuaded by what we hear in the media. Whether it be some politician waxing eloquence over some policy or bill we know very little about, or some value or lifestyle depicted as fun or normal through a TV show- it is imperative we are able to look at the facts objectively so we can make sound, wise choices. Remember that the media is manipulated all the time to gain favor of the public!

  • Do you agree or disagree that the public is heavily influenced by the media in their perception of just about everything?
  • Can you think of more examples where we give too much authority to what we simply hear from media or from perceived authority figures?

Related Post:
Perception of Financial Crisis – Who is to Blame?

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AdBlock Plus: Block All Ads on the Internet!

Trashy Advertising Influence

Ad Block Plus
Ad Block Plus

We talk all the time about how bad emotionally driven advertising has had a detrimental influence in our society. Starting at a very young age, billions of dollars are spent to take advantageous of our inner desires for love, significance and our insecurities to sell us things we don’t need. It has changed our outlook about what would truly make us happy and has filled our minds with so much garbage that perhaps many of us feel immune to it. “What is the big deal… right?”.

Well that brings up the question – what can be done?

AdBlock Plus – Block Advertising on Websites

I wanted to highlight a small plugin for Firefox that will BLOCK ADS on all websites. How does that work? Any ads being served from advertising URLs are simply removed from the page.

See this quick 1.5 minute AdBlock Plus video below to see how it works.

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Craigslist “Erotic Services” vs Henry McMaster

Craigslist Threatened by Attorney General for Erotic Services

  • Craigslist vs McMasterAre you aware that Craigslist were making headlines among the internet sphere for their battle against South Carolina’s Attorney General for the controversial “erotic services” column.
  • Were you aware Craigslist even had such a category?

Craigslist has become an household name as the place to go to find jobs, to buy and sell items anything from a used DVD to cars to houses. The service boasts 40 million classified ads posted every month. Amidst all the different categories and millions of posting, what often goes unnoticed is the “erotic services” section that is unfortunately accessible to anyone. Adults, Children- anyone can access these classified section.

The Attorney Generals of several states demanded that Craigslist shut down this service as it promotes prostitution. Craigslist chose to implement changes in response to their concerns. It adopted screening measures that were recommended and removed the “erotic service” category… kinda.

Craigslist is Protected under Federal Law Section 230

To Craigslist credit, they did this despite technically being protected under federal law for content posted by users. Section 230 CDA protects free speech online and it is often used to protect sites like Youtube from being completely shut down to do user videos that violate copyright law. If a prostitute advertises illegal services and carries it out, the prostitute is guilty but Craigslist is free of any crime.

However the Attorney General of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, believed this wasn’t enough and threatened criminal charges if Craigslist did not comply. Craigslist had recently entered into South Carolina and was quickly adapted by it’s residence. McMaster sent Craigslist an ultimatum demanding ALL sexual postings be removed from Craigslist South Carolina. He first threatened legal action if Craigslist did not comply in 10 days.

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Unnaturally Beautiful Children: Image & Beauty

In 2004, a survey by NPD Group showed that on average, girls started to use beauty products at the age of 17. Today that average is 13.

Influence of Media on Children & Beauty

There’s a scene in “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the TLC reality series, where 2-year-old Marleigh is perched in front of a mirror, smothering her face with blush and lipstick. She giggles as her mother attempts to hold the squealing toddler still, lathering her legs with self-tanner. “Marleigh loves to get tan,” her mom says, as the girl presses her face against the mirror.

Children's Perception of Beauty
Children’s Perception of Beauty (Newsweek)

The quote above is about Marleigh, one of the pageant girls on the show. Does anyone find something disturbing about this picture? She is two years old. Unfortunately the ridiculousness of this scene doesn’t end on screen, it is a depiction of our current generation.

What do these shows have in common? “Extreme makeover”, “I Want a Famous Face” “Little Miss Perfect” “Toddlers & Tiaras”. These are shows centered around raising the bar of what is considered the norm when it comes to beautifying our children.

With reality TV shows, thousands of beauty product commercials, air-brushed magazine ads, and beautiful celebrities adorning every movies we watch, the norm of the importance of beauty has changed dramatically. In 2004, a survey by NPD Group showed that on average, girls started to use beauty products at the age of 17. Today that average is 13.
 See some more Children Beauty Statistics
But even that figure could be an overstatement. According to a market research firm Experian,

  • 43 percent of 6 to 9 year olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss
  • 38 percent are using hairstyling products
  • 12 percent use other other cosmetic products

By the time they are 50 years old, an average women would have spent nearly $300,000 on just their hair and face according to Newsweek’s research on beauty trends (noted below). But is this surprising considering girls ages 11 to 14 are exposed to 500+ advertisements per day? 8 to 12 years old already spend $40+ million a month on beauty products according to NPD Group. Teenagers? $100 Million.

More Statistics on Beauty

  • Cosmetic Surgery Procedures for Under 18 – Doubled last 10 years
  • 14% of Botox injections given to 19-34 age group, seeking “preventative treatments”
  • [American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery]
  • 42% of 1st to 3rd Graders want to be thinner
  • 81% of 10 years olds fear getting fat

“When you have tweens putting on firming cream… it’s clear they’re looking for imaginary flaws,” – Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff

Full Article on Beauty

True Cost of Lifetime Beauty

Economy got you down? Trying to pinch a few pennies here and there? How about cutting out on some beauty products and enhancements! See the chart below.

Tweens Teen/20s 30-40s 50s Lifetime
Hair $1,260 $15,761 $23,640 $169,274 $209,935
Face $3,900 $32,684 $108,660 $21,840 $167,084
Body $0 $10,586 $17,820 $16,366 $44,772
Hands/Feet $2,010 $6,834 $8,040 $10,452 $27,336
Totals $7,170 $65,865 $158,160 $217,932 $449,127

See Beauty Spend Breakdown Here

  • What are your thoughts about young children and teens spending so much time and money on beautifying themselves?
  • How about Adults?
  • What can be done to help push up against our image driven culture?
  • Can anything be done?
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Mac vs PC Elimination Apple Commercials: Product Not Lifestyle

Here at Clean Cut Media, we show a critical eye to TV Commercials, TV Shows and Movies in regards to the level of unnecessary mature themes such as sexual innuendos and crass jokes , even in children movies. We also touch upon how media tends to paint a particular way of life or a particular image that can give the wrong kind of picture of reality and what is considered the norm.

Product Centric vs Lifestyle Centric TV Commercials

Mac vs PC Elimination TV Commercial Spot
Mac vs PC Elimination TV Commercial Spot

However we aren’t all just about the end of media and desire to live in a log cabin somewhere in the middle of forest where we can be free from the evil that is the world. I personally work in the marketing world and also produce videos, art among other media centric work in my free time. So here at Clean Cut Media we regularly post videos, advertising, commercials, art and anything else we can get a hand on as examples of media creatively done with class.  Below are two examples of a well made commercial that does an excellent job highlighting the features or advantageous of a product. This is in comparison with the habit of companies that produce commercials with the sole intent, not to sell the product, but a lifestyle or associate their product to some good feeling or experience. Is the latter ethical? That is a judgment call depending on the message of the commercial itself, but we have to appreciate the commercials that does sell the product for the value it itself.

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