Activia helps you poop, or maybe makes you skinny, who knows?

activia.jpgWe've all seen the commercials for Activia yogurt, which contains a bunch of probiotics and supposedly helps you avoid constipation, as well as SNL's hilarious Kristen Wiig crapping her pants as Jamie Lee Curtis. But author Jean Kilbourne, author of Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women, points out that the nipped waist and trim feminine stomach shown on the illustration, along with a golden arrow pointing downward, seems to be hinting at a promise of thinness. From Slate:
"'I see that as a weight-loss implication,' she tells me. 'It's meant to evoke the idea, 'This is the kind of tummy you can end up with.' The arrow is code for 'This will go right through you.' It's a dieting subtheme that plays on the whole idea of women being much more focused to do whatever it takes to make our bodies feel thin."'
Anyone who has worked in advertising knows that every single little element of a product's branding is carefully analyzed and selected with the sole intent of tweaking the brains of the intended demographic. Activia's package is green for a reason: it implies a health and organic benefit, even though there's nothing organic about it. The fact that the stomach looks like it belongs on a 20-something--not the 50-something that is probably buying that yogurt--is no mistake. As for a subtheme of immediate expulsion of calories, that's up for debate, but it definitely reminds me how insidious the advertising and packaging has become. I have some Activia yogurt in my fridge right now and I don't have IBS or anything that a little fiber couldn't handle. In fact, I don't even know why I bought it, and yet, there it is, sitting on my shelf, trim stomach and all. Scary.