I Am So Much More Than A Number

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Posted September 17, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Life After Five
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The newest Special K advertising campaign dubbed ‘You are so much more than a number’ leaves me feeling uneasy. If you’ve not seen it, the sixty-second spot begins with what appears to be a grand opening of women’s clothing boutique. It starts innocently enough as women pile into the store to search for the elusive ‘perfect’ pair of blue jeans.

We hear one shopper mumble,

There are no sizes.

Her friend responds,

What, no sizes? That’s odd.

About this time a lovely young sales woman wanders over to ask if she can measure them…with a tape measure…around the waist.

Both women agree to the measuring and GUESS WHAT? There are no numbers on the measuring tape! Instead, words like, confident, strong, and radiant float through the air. Next thing you know, women start popping in and out of the dressing rooms as they delight in their pair of ‘no-size’ jeans.  The closing shot lingers on the size label in the jeans with the poignant tagline.

You are so much more than a number.

It’s a phenomenal message to send to women of all ages, and one that needs constant reinforcement. But, coming from Special K, it feels disingenuous. They do, after all promote weight loss products, diets, and calorie counting while their parent company generates more than 14 BILLION in annual revenue in snack foods.

So this new ‘wow-you’re-fabulous-just-the-way-you-are’ bit prompts me to ask Kellogg and Special K,

Do I look stupid? Do you not think I’m not smart enough to figure out how manipulative your message is?

Special K, you sell diet food! That can’t be coupled with the “beautiful at any size” notion effectively or honestly without continuing to perpetuate the fact that in order to be happy, beautiful, successful, etc. we also need to lose weight by using your products.

I want: Transparency. Honesty. Integrity.

What I don’t want is this ‘customized meal plan’ based on my (pretend) weight loss goal for a ‘big event’ in October that your website created for me.

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Because I’m so much more than my size, remember? 


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.

5 Comments


  1.  

    I’m totally with you, Kathi. Unfortunately, companies that sell stuff we don’t need are left to manipulate us with language and images to try to get us to buy what they sell. Plus, the more women are confused (should I feel good about myself no matter my size, or should I be obsessed with my weight?), the more likely they are to buy into an “uplifting” marketing message, even if it’s totally contradictory to the brand’s products. My solution: Don’t watch ads, and don’t buy crap I don’t want. Seriously, who would eat Special K because they like the taste?




  2.  
    Denise DeLuca

    Oh thank you Kathi!!! I’m glad I’m not the only one who found this commercial ridiculously contradictory. Sure it seems like a feel good about yourself ad, but it’s really as if they’re saying, you’re MORE than just a number, but you know LESS is MORE, so eat our snacks so you can weigh LESS! And trust me, no words of encouragement would come from a tape measure around my waist! Mine would probably say: Welcome to menopause





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