For anyone that knows me in my non-virtual life, you are likely aware of my frustration around Halloween. A few years ago I would have called it my “disdain” for the holiday, but I’m working on modulating my feelings about this day and recognizing that there may be some redeeming qualities. Like adorable children in costumes with chocolate smeared on their faces.
But back to my frustration before I get too sappy about this over-commercialized day that’s become based on things I generally detest: scaring people for fun and the sexual objectification of women and girls.
I’m just really not a fan.
Amazingly, Subway restaurants has managed to take my irritation to the next level by combining this holiday (in fact, the exact aspect of it that I despise) with both unsubstantiated nutrition advice and dieting pressure.
I think my head might explode.
Just watch the commercial:
So what we have here is clearly a case of “how the heck do we get people to continue fretting about their weight now that it’s sweater season?” From that standpoint, it’s a relatively clever marketing effort. But since I’m not a marketer and more on the side of a media literacy advocate, I’m going to tell you how utterly crappy I think this campaign is.
It’s utterly crappy. The woman in the ad explains to her presumable co-workers that you need to stay fit for Halloween costume season, specifically the costumes that all women are obviously dying to wear — attractive nurse (because how could I possibly catheterize you if I’m not a “10″?), a sassy teacher (because we haven’t seen recently in the news various reports of child sexual abuse by educators), and — oh, yes — the foxy full-back (I mean, how tone-deaf can you possibly be right now?!?).
To stay fit, the trio should obviously be eating Subway sandwiches rather than the dreaded burgers. But when we take a closer look, Subway doesn’t pan out to be a much – if at all – healthier option than McDonalds. A UCLA study showed that adolescents purchasing meals from the two chains consumed about the same number of calories and even more sodium at Subway. So there’s that.
Another ad promoting the objectification of women, unsubstantiated health information, and weight-stigmatization? I know, yawn, right? But this one really peeves me I think because of the Halloween tie-in. (Call me a cranky Halloween Scrooge — I can take it.)
If you’re as irritated as me, consider speaking up by leaving a message via the website, posting on social media, avoiding Subway, sharing this post, or starting a petition.
Trick or treat!