Yoplait pulls eating disorder triggering commercial off the air

After the National Eating Disorders Association called Yoplait out on a commercial that normalizes disordered eating, the company has agreed to pull the commercial off the air.

A NEDA press release says that “after conversations with General Mills executives Eric Galler, vice president of marketing, Yoplait, and Jeff Hagen, director of consumer services – the company agreed to discontinue the concerning ad campaign, which contained language NEDA says is a trigger for those most vulnerable.”

The ad might still show up in a few markets in the coming weeks, but the company has agreed to pull it as quickly as possible.

Lynn Grefe, the president and CEO of NEDA, says that “the language in this advertising campaign was seriously problematic for those affected by eating disorders and anyone who may have a predisposition towards developing one.”

No shit! The ad shows a woman standing in front of a fridge trying to “justify” eating a piece of cake. The strategies she comes up with for making cake acceptable include “canceling it out” with celery sticks and, I kid you not, jogging in place while she eats the cake. Yeah, that is called disordered eating, and it’s really unhealthy. The ad then presents Yoplait Lite yoghurt as an alternative to all that bargaining and obsessive and jogging in place, demonstrating the incredibly thin line between dieting and disordered eating.

Grefe credits Yoplait and their parent company General Mills for being receptive to NEDA’s concerns (and the concerns of the many people who, it seems, contacted the company to complain). “I believe the company had no intent to harm and gained insight into a very serious issue that we hope will influence their marketing decisions in the future.” I applaud the company for being receptive to complaints, too – and I hope that they, unlike the folks who make Pretzel Thins, actually learn from this experience.

But it saddens me deeply that this ad even got made in the first place. Ads like this one have to be approved by a lot of people before they ever get made, and it’s dispiriting to think that no one, at any stage of the process, noticed that this ad explicitly normalizes and encourages unhealthy behavior.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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