Marketing and Mealtime

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Truth in Marketing?

As someone with a marketing background, I am familiar with the tricks of the trade. I spent many years working for brands such as Crest, Scope, Tide, Coke, Brawny, Kroger, and Lowe’s. In the consumer packaged goods industry – be it food or otherwise – the aim is to entice consumers to buy your product and build brand loyalty.  You can accomplish that several ways.  Here are a few examples:

  • Convince folks that your brand is the ‘it’ or cool brand – Coke goes after this angle. Coke is happiness, Coke is everywhere you want to be – they are selling a better life and an experience not a soft drink.
  • Make better claims with your product than the competition. Crest and other toothpaste brands continually try to one up each other with claims of more whitening, freshness and so on.
  • Scare tactics – convince folks not to use or they need to use your product or else! Eggs are too high in cholesterol and the only safe choice is egg beaters!

So why are we talking about marketing in a Pilates and wellness blog? We are all susceptible to marketing and need to be careful that we don’t get caught up in the trends, hype and potentially harmful claims and/or messages. Marketing influences our choices and may steer us away from the healthy choice! Remember the goal of the marketer is to sell not to improve your wellness. Let’s look at the egg example. For many years eggs got a black eye because of marketing. This marketing was not really science-based. Often times all marketers need is one small fact and it becomes the main message.  Eggs have cholesterol. This is true. Cholesterol can be harmful. This is true. But who said the cholesterol in eggs is harmful and should be avoided? Marketeers! There is so much more that is good and healthy with eggs and science has realized cholesterol in the form of eggs is not the bad kind and is not harmful but actually good for us. Many still look at eggs skeptically because the marketing campaign was so success!

Let’s look at another example – milk. The milk advertisers have done a wonderful job of getting celebrities to drink milk and promote milk as a natural health drink. Research and science however show that milk is full of growth hormones intended to help a baby calf become a cow. Do we as humans and especially as adults need this? There is some question as to whether milk is necessary or even harmful to adults. I don’t have the answer – but I’d look to science over marketing to make my decision.

Just a couple more examples – sports drinks! Once again marketing shows us professional athletes downing Gatorade, Poweraid and the like. It’s the ‘recovery drink’ of the true athlete – according to marketing. Take a look at the ingredients next time you have a bottle – blue #2, red #11, several long words I have never heard of, sugar, fructose, and so on. Hmm. It doesn’t seem so healthy now does it? The same goes for energy bars – take  a look at the ingredients. If what you see is sugar, fructose, chemicals, dyes, and so on – you are better off grabbing a piece of fruit and handful of nuts. My message to you today is to be smarter than the marketeers. Just because it’s on TV or the radio or in magazines doesn’t mean you should take it at face value. Do your own research. It’s easy these days with google. Look for credible science and medical-based sources. I am not anti-marketing by any means. I do believe, however. it is important to find out the facts for ourselves and be vigilant in our pursuit of healthy choices! Read labels, do a little research and chose healthy!

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