Advertisers Cash in on Self-Image Messages

by Vins
Published: Updated:

Companies that make products like Special K and Dove are cashing in on ‘feel good’ messages about body image, while at the same time sending a message to women that they can be prettier and thinner if they buy their products. Blogs like Truthfully and the Belle Jar are calling the practice into question, noting that the companies do not actually care about your body image. They only use this new marketing scheme – with messages about realizing your inner beauty – because they know that the message of loving who you are and what you look like, no matter what, is very appealing to many.

What society doesn’t know is that these companies stand for the exact opposite of what they’ve been saying, feminist commentators point out. People who view these commercials receive the same message from traditional sex-selling commercials–That the most important thing that you can do in your life is to look attractive. Often times, it doesn’t even cross the mind of people if the product is actually good for them or not , as long as the commercial momentarily makes them feel good.

There has been very little coverage attacking these companies because people willingly buy into these campaigns. There have been a few blog posts about it, offering competing opinions on the story.


Susan Krashinsky. “Kellogg’s Special K rebrands dieting image with self-empowerment.” Globe and Mail, September 21, 2015.

Rebecca Harris, “Special K ditches diet talk in new campaign.” Marketing, September 24, 2015.

Nicole German, “Special K Cereal: True Health Revealed.” Dietblog, no date,

Ethereal Aura Spa, “Stop Using Soap on Your Skin- even Sensitive Skin Dove Soap.” September 30, 2015.

Student Researcher: Richelle Peace (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)