The portrayal of slimness through design

Posted 25 March 2014

This research article, titled “The portrayal of slimness through design : an analysis of a misleading weight loss advertisement : research article” written by Rudi De Lange, Tshwane University of Technology, was published in the South African Journal of Art History (2013;28(2):72-84. 

The abstract reads:

The portrayal of the ultra-thin ideal model in the media contributes to body discontent amongst some viewers of the intended target groups. This in its turn may lead to excessive weight concerns and so create a vulnerable group that is primed for commercial exploitation. Advertising designers exploit this vulnerable population through the use of visceral imagery and text in misleading weight loss advertisements in order to better market their products. The ultra-thin models used in weight loss advertisements act as strong emotional cues and enable advertisers to influence even wary consumers to respond to these cues. This case study analysis of a weight loss advertisement highlights and illustrates how designers proceeded to create an elusive promise of slimness by misrepresenting scientific data and employed misleading textual and graphic cues in order to create an effective but nonetheless misleading advertisement.


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