Childhood Obesity Ads Serve Up Truth With A Side Of Guilt

As health care costs increase along with portion sizes, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has decided to tackle the problem full-on in a series of ads that expose the problem of childhood obesity.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more:

Using tools such as television commercials and billboards late this year, the campaign has offered stark black-and-white images of overweight children sharing bold and often uncomfortable messages. In one, a child named Bobby sadly asks his obese mother, “Mom, why am I fat?” His mother simply sighs heavily and the commercial fades out.

Some public health experts, however, say the approach could be counterproductive when it comes to childhood obesity. The commercials and billboards do not give families the tools they need to attack the problem, some critics say. Others say the images will simply further stigmatize obesity and make it even less likely for parents and children to acknowledge that their weight is unhealthy and should be addressed.

Grey in Atlanta originally created the ads, while Fitzgerald + Company is continuing the campaign. There’s also a Facebook page as well for more discussion.

I gotta admit I like what they’re doing here. Of course, in the South, unhealthy eating habits still loom large, and can be viewed as tradition, not a problem. Are these ads effective for you? Do you think it will provoke a needed discussion of all the factors that affect childhood obesity? Do you think some parents (and their kids) need to be told the harsh truths about the issue, even if it provokes a sense of shame? Does guilt in advertising still work on people?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Ronald McDonald says:

    Kids who smoke usually have smoking parents. I’ll bet the same holds true with obesity – that is, obese kids have obese parents. It would have been more provocative, and probably more effective, to show obese parents with the obese children.

  2. I think that from a young age, parents should be teaching and nurturing their children on how to eat properly and healthily. My mother always made me and my brother home-cooked meals and fast food was a once a month treat on a Saturday. I’m all grown up and I still eat really healthily, the only difference is I never eat fast food now.