Hey, @DOFasting, I Fixed Your Stupid Ad

In these uncertain times, It’s comforting to know some things are inevitable — like death, taxes and poorly executed ads.

Today, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw this ad from DoFasting. At first, I thought it might be a warning about something that can cause damage to stomach tissue lining. And then I read the copy.

Have the belly you have aways dreamt about!

Get your personalized weight management guide that will help you to achieve that.

April 2020

Choose your belly type

DoFasting

Seeing just how many comments there were, (on an ad that’s been out for less than three weeks), I couldn’t help but click. Imagine my utter lack of surprise to see negative comments on the above advertisement.

Personally, I don’t think there are ever going to be weight-loss ads that completely avoid controversy. Properly positioning your brand on the right side of the body positivity movement requires taking a couple levels in nuance and sensitivity.

However, there are some simple things you should keep in mind if you create advertisements for the industry. So, today, let’s break it down and see what could have been different.

The Graphic

Let’s be honest. This ad would be a lot better without the image.

The way the image is designed, coupled with how it’s presented leaves a lot to be desired. The image is flat and unappealing to look at. The copy is weak and the image warps that messaging into something gross and insensitive. Messaging that this user sums up pretty well.

Fix #1 – Please Put Her Entrails Back Inside Her Body

I can see why it might be tempting to emphasize the difference between the “less desirable” belly types and the ideal flat belly shape by making excess fat red. In practice, this ends up looking like something ripped from a Saw movie.

The easiest way to fix this issue is very simple. Make the red areas on “body type” #2, #3 and #4 skin-coloured.

It’s still a pretty ugly graphic. But the message changes from, “are you normal, or one of these 3 types of obese?”, to “choose the body that you want to have by April 2020.” This is a major improvement for two reasons.

Reason the first, body positivity is about loving and accepting yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t lose weight if that’s what you want. But losing weight should be something people choose to do for their own happiness and quality of life. Presenting the round booty, flat belly as the only real option flies in the face of that.

Reason the second, it creates a very high barrier to entry. Most people don’t create weight loss goals because the task feels too daunting. It’s a lot easier to get someone to commit to going from a size 18 to a size 16. It is really hard to get someone to commit to going from a size 18 to a size 12.

I think, at least I hope the reason behind “choosing your belly type” was to give people this option. To present a series of baby steps for #4 type people to see themselves as a #1 type person. But the way it’s presented will mostly appeal to people who are already achieving their weight loss goals with other methods.

Fix #2 – Mix Up Your Body “Models”

While I don’t think the above user’s criticism is entirely fair, it has some merit.

Choosing to create these simplistic illustration gives your wallet a little more padding to work with. So, I sincerely hope someone has at least tossed around the idea of creating a few more illustrations with different models.

I completely understand why this individual ad doesn’t need to include men. It’s likely that this ad has been set up to target female users and there is a separate ad being shown to men on Twitter.

As far as I know, there could be other ads, like this one, that feature women with other body types and ethnicities. However, if there aren’t I’d definitely get on that.

It can be a very positive experience to see a body that looks like yours in an advertisement. And it subconsciously implies that this is a product or service that is meant for you so it’s guaranteed to work.

The Copy

The copy is…fine? It’s pretty inoffensive as far as weight loss ads go. However, there is room for improvement.

(Also always is spelled aways for some reason?).

I sincerely hope, DoFasting, has been reading the comments on their ads because this user makes another good point. People don’t dream about having a flat stomach. People want to be loved, desired and enjoy their lives to the fullest. Good copywriters understand that.

Fix #3 – Stick to Your Guns

In the bottom left corner, you may notice the actual link says “Reach 2020 Body Goals easier”. So, to understand why there is a giant, “April 2020”, on the image you need to ready this itty bitty link at the very bottom.

If the original message was that this customized weight management plan will help you reach your goals by April, that message has been completely lost.

Why would anyone waste precious words to say so little? You have two sentences, make each word count!

From the top of my head, ” Have the belly you have always dreamt about! Your personalized weight management guide can help you get there by April”, gets the point across a lot better. And as an added bonus, the last sentence doesn’t sound choppy or robotic.

Fix #4 – Sell the Beach Not the Belly

A great example of how to sell weight loss without the fat-shaming would be almost any ad by, Special K Cereal.

It can be very tempting to focus on the results on the body, but it’s far more effective to emphasize the emotional benefit of using a weight loss product on one’s self-esteem or lifestyle.

Instead of asking consumers to “choose a belly type”, maybe try asking them about their goals. It’s a lot less demeaning and judgmental. This ad could have been written by a woman, but it’s very easy to come off as misogynistic when the focus is solely on an ideal figure for the female body.

Conclusion

Personally, I’m not a big fan of weight loss products or services. I am very aware that I’m not the right audience for this ad.

But as a copywriter, I am tired of lazy advertisements. This is not the worst ad I’ve ever seen, but it is so easy to fix. Writing and editing this article, rewriting and photoshopping the new ad, (below), took less than 45 minutes.

In the future, I would like to see advertisers in the health and beauty industry take steps to create ads with more care and sensitivity. Some advertisers are making steps in the right direction, but the ones that falter make the whole industry look bad.

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