Peter Shankman appeared on CNN to talk about a childhood obesity awareness advertising campaign that launched in Georgia. He shares insights on the ramifications for the the children featured in the ads as well as the overall effectiveness of the campaign. Plus Peter shares his own struggle with weight as a child.
CNN: If you’re the parent of an overweight child, how do you think he, or she would feel seeing this sign, but since. They came out last year, the ads are doing their job. They’re getting people to do exactly what we’re doing today. Talk about this. Talk about a problem that is only getting worse. Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta. The group behind this campaign says Georgia ranks second in the nation for childhood obesity. In fact, the spokeswoman tells the AJC, the Atlanta Journal Constitution I’m quoting them, “we felt like we needed a very arresting abrupt campaign that said, Hey, Georgia, wake up. This is a problem.” But is this the best way to spread this kind of message. Let’s ask marketing expert. Peter Shankman joins me now. This is your wheelhouse. Are these ads effective?
Peter Shankman: You know, it’s, it’s mixed emotions here broken on one side. I totally understand that you need a shock. You know, childhood obesity is growing at rapid rates. You need a shock to really wake people up. The ads that are currently out there, aren’t doing it. So it is shocking and he’s making people talk about it. On the flip side, I’m speaking as a former fat kid, myself, it is very, very hard. To be overweight as a child, especially around the ages of 10 11, that these kids are, you know, kids in school are brutal when it, when it comes to making fun and, and, and bullying.
And it’s, it’s really difficult. I think there were probably better ways to do it that were just as shocking.
CNN: Do these ads further stigmatize obesity.
Peter Shankman: They do stigmatize it. And in a way that’s not healthy for kids. I understand, again, from a marketing perspective, they’re trying to make a point. They’re trying to get people to realize that, Hey, we have a serious problem with childhood obesity and obesity in general in this country, but there are better ways to do it that don’t.
You know, my feeling is that is tomorrow morning. Well, for instance, New York city has done something where they say, Hey, that glass of sweet tea, isn’t so sweet. That’s 64 grams of sugar or 64 tablespoons of sugar. They’re trying to get other points across to show you. You’d never eat 64 tablespoons of sugar while sitting at a table.
Why would you drink it?
CNN: It any different? I think of, you know, those meth, those meth commercials, where you see the people with the horrible skin and the teeth are there smoking ads where you see the dark and lungs, how is this different? Because those seem pretty effective to me.
Peter Shankman: I think the differences here is you’re talking about 11 year old kids who have to bear that stigma tomorrow morning when they go to school, I’m worried about the kids who aren’t in the ads, but are also overweight when they go in tomorrow through no fault of their own, are the bullies in school going to be saying, you know, Hey, why weren’t you in that ad? It’s, it’s a very dangerous slope. And I think when you’re dealing with kids, uh, from an advertising perspective, you always have to wear, you know, no pun intended kid gloves. There is a better, I think there is a better way to do it. That’s just as effective and just as shocking, but may not cause. Such such a problems with those children. My biggest fear is that, is that some child who, who isn’t in those ads gets teased mercilessly and, and, you know, God forbid, uh, tries to attempt suicide or something like that, based on that. And it’s tracked back to this, God forbid, we know at least these kids, they knew what they were getting into when they were signing up for this as a part of the program.
CNN: Apparently they are losing weight, but I tell you what I want to continue this conversation. We’re not finished Peter Shankman for now. I got to go, Peter Shankman. Thank you so much while I was out of New York and now I too.
About Peter Shankman
Peter is a worldwide influencer and spokesperson for brands across the globe. He is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate in-person and digital keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neurotatypical economy.