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Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.

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Binge Better?

September 21, 2010 14 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

On a recent drive home, my jaw literally dropped in astonishment when I saw the billboard out of my left driver’s side window. I almost drove off the road in my attempt to ascertain that the words written in ten-foot font were actually there. The text read:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Binge Better.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

baby-carrots-packaging

Image from Eater.com

The billboard that almost caused my major motor vehicle accident was for baby carrots, as part of a new $25-million dollar ad campaign that many are calling “hip.” As reported by the Associated Press, the CEO of a major carrot producer, Jeff Dunn, stated, “This campaign is about turning baby carrots into a brand.”

Reportedly, over 50 producers have put all their carrots in one basket, hoping that that the agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky will take their product to a new level – that of junk food. Dunn reported on USAToday.com, “It takes a page out of junk food’s playbook and applies it to baby carrots.”

Okay, okay. Breathe.

So baby carrots want to be cool and “extreme”? Alright. Baby carrots want to play on our societal obsession with sugar-laden substances and advertise by saying things like, “Eat ‘em like junk food,”? Got it. So the website, www.babycarrots.com, features grungy music with a “crunch-powered” video game where your rocket power is fueled by… carrots? Okay. So television spots are set to come out featuring sexualized women lusting over carrots? We’re testing my patience now.

While I can certainly appreciate any effort made to inspire youth to eat healthier, instructing them to BINGE? This is where I draw the line.

Once again, we seem to be missing the point. Whether you binge on Doritos, Oreos, or tofu, binging, which involves a short period of excessive consumption, is unhealthy. Just as becoming obsessed with healthy eating doesn’t result in true nourishment, neither does packing in the carrots, baby or otherwise.

Now, I realize that this billboard, like the others in the series (another says “Our crunch can beat up your crunch.” Violence? Hello!) are meant to be attention-grabbing, light-hearted, and targeted toward youth. However, dismissing our cultural disease of excess and attenuating the seriousness of binge eating is downright dangerous.

Our society did not develop an obesity epidemic simply by eating Doritos. We developed it by using food – all food, carrots included – in a way that does not respect our bodies. We fail to eat mindfully and we do eat not based on the signals of our bodies. Instead, we eat in a state of automaticity. We binge.

If baby carrot producers want to do something really extreme, they can start by breaking away from the junk food category and promoting a way of life that is balanced and respectful of our bodies.

What are your thoughts and reactions to hearing about this ad campaign?

NTS-Medium

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13 Comments

  1. Amanda
    4 years ago

    As someone who used to have a binging problem I find this absolutely ridiculous. I mean I’m used to the media and advertisers encouraging unhealthy body images and eating habits but actually encouraging an eating disorder seems to cross the line.
    Amanda recently posted..Hurts so Good

    Reply

  2. Tina
    4 years ago

    I have a friend who had severe emotional issues and she would binge. On broccoli and cabbage. Still she binged and was unhealthy and had lots of things to work through. Advertising binging as a normal or even cool thing to do is just sooooo wrong!!!! And using sex to sell carrots? What is wrong with the world?
    Tina recently posted..a day of birthdays

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  3. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self
    4 years ago

    I applaud everything you’ve written here!

    I completely agree that we should not promote bingeing on ANYTHING, be it fruits and veggies or ice cream. The problem is the MINDSET more so than the actual food.

    To me, there’s got to be a way to make healthy living attractive IN AND OF ITSELF, rather than just taking a healthier habit (like snacking on carrots) and pretending it’s “junk food.”
    Katie @ Health for the Whole Self recently posted..Loving Little Katie

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  4. Val @ Balancing Val
    4 years ago

    You gotta be f’ing kidding me!?

    I would of almost crashed too if I saw that. It’s kind of disturbing to think that a company would try and make a positive light out of a binge. Bingeing is a SERIOUS matter that affects a lot of people way more than they know.

    Is there a way to contact them and send an email or something? I’d feel much better if I did whether they read it or not.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Ashley!
    Val @ Balancing Val recently posted..The Pressure Is On

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  5. Taron
    4 years ago

    Advertising does the dirty once again. The whole point of advertising is to make us consumers feel like there’s something we’re missing — so we’ll rush out and buy this shiny new (insert the blank) and voila (!), we will feel more whole, happy, contented etc. But now, not only are they encouraging us to consume, but to binge — which as many have already pointed out, is not something funny or light-hearted, but in fact a serious eating disorder. It’s really scary stuff.
    Taron recently posted..Success Is Fun- But Work Should Be Too

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  6. Jen @ Brilliant Well-being
    4 years ago

    Wow! The power and influence of big business never fails to amaze me. As an MBA grad I know how these campaigns are produced – usually with the only consideration for increasing shareholder wealth. What is sad is that uninformed consumers will not pick up on these warped messages that are being advertised. Shame.

    Reply

  7. Emergefit
    4 years ago

    “So baby carrots want to be cool and “extreme”?”

    Uhm, baby carrots do not want anything. The talons of greedy men corrupting a good idea…..? Another story.

    Yes, a certain duality here; one step forward and two steps back — simultaneously. How’d they manage that….? Greed.
    Emergefit recently posted..Preying For Change

    Reply

    • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul
      4 years ago

      Haha, good point. Baby carrots probably just want to be baby carrots (assuming they have needs and desires ;-) )

      Reply

      • Emergefit
        4 years ago

        Please understand I am not an authority, but I do have it on good word that the “needs and desires” level of baby carrots falls somewhere between trilobites, and baby corn. Just sayin’…
        Emergefit recently posted..Preying For Change

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  8. Rita @ The Giggly Bits
    4 years ago

    As someone recovering from that issue, really now. Money makes people do really thoughtless things, it makes me sad, it really does.
    Rita @ The Giggly Bits recently posted..How to Read Food Labels

    Reply

  9. Beth @ To the Fullest
    3 years ago

    That kills me.

    There’s a similar billboard in our town for Johnny Carino’s (an Italian chain that serves monstrous plate sizes of completely unhealthy pasta entrees). The billboard says something about how the restaurant is for serious eaters — as if “serious eaters” means people who overeat regularly. Sigh sigh sigh.
    Beth @ To the Fullest recently posted..Writing To My Eating Disorder – and a Book Giveaway!

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  10. Alanna, Assistant Psychologist at Change Panda
    12 months ago

    Loved this post so much I had to share it on our Facebook page for Change Panda!!
    The media’s role in eating disorders never fails to shock me, it can be unbelievable sometimes! A binge is a binge, regardless of what’s being eaten. What needs to stop is the bingeing behaviour & it doesn’t help when advertisements seem to be promoting it!
    Love reading Nourishing The Soul blogs :)
    Alanna, Assistant Psychologist at Change Panda
    http://www.changepanda.com/
    Alanna, Assistant Psychologist at Change Panda recently posted..Emotional Eating – When A Little Becomes A Lot

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  11. Google
    2 months ago

    No one routes for the evil villan who’s run off with the hero’s beau,
    same applies to a site that’s been stuck in Google’s naughty corner.
    Based on their experience, they could know how much is required before going into details.
    Reputation Defense Online an around the world Cyber Investigation along with Litigation Assistance Agency for Net Defamation, often receives
    inquiries from attorneys along with law enforcement agencies on the way to subpoena Google’s Legal Division.
    Google recently posted..Google

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  1. By Nourishing the Soul - Featured Blog | FITBLOGGER on October 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    [...] Ashley’s discussing a recent media campaign using questionable language or thought provoking topics such as whether we can endeavour to change [...]

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