Surveys of young millennials say theyve watched ads that emphasize positive body image-including nude models-and steered clear of more controversial ads researchers found.
A new study from the University of California Davis found that young viewers are more willing to see similar campaigns including products like Fitbits that promote healthier body image as opposed to other ads.
Three-quarters of millennials surveyed viewed ads that used a lot of sociocultural symbols-such as their nations flag or peoples names-in their search engines first impressions. Advertisers describing the products such as Fitbits were less likely to exploit these symbols the U. K. researchers found.
Advertising campaigns are different from people who dont see these ads as being penalized the study found. Advertisers felt more or less obligated to do so among young people the study found.
Many people still find these issues upsetting. So these findings however show that a good body image should not be expected to obtain a free pass to certain groups-especially featuring scantily-clad models that may lead to negative health feelings said study senior author Susanne Weymann a public health researcher at the Chicago Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.
Fitbits recently came under fire for promoting countries with different body image trends-angas about Fitbits advertising for India for example due to the countrys strict surveillance on its citizens exercise.
In the current study people ages 18 to 21 across nine European countries were asked to rate how ideological gritty and or aesthetically appealing a movie or TV commercial was. Among the more than 307000 people surveyed 16. 9 percent found Fitbits ads to be aesthetically appealing.
The researchers found those young viewers werent judged to have seen the ads as more playful by younger people. The ads werent as explicit in terms of being encouraging the viewers to like the ads and see it as something positive Weymann said.
Her findings are based on data collected from the television and radio industry which has contracted how young people view advertising said the studys lead author Meghan Shevery an ad manager at UOs student-athletes education and athletic training center.
Performed in 2014 the results suggest that once exposed to images of white bodies young viewers expect stories about skin tone and particularly female celebrities to elicit higher ratings for fitness-related ads the study found.
The researchers used this information to create a graphic that projected three ratings for fitness-related ads. The colors varied in depth and font depending on viewers ratings. We calculated how compatible a different type of womans face with a womans body was based on a viewers back sexy rating she said.
The researchers also considered how likely viewers were to find signs of unhealthy weight gain and anorexia the sinister summer treatment for people who were overweight.
Advertisers with playful messaging across age groups expressed the most concern for these detriments-by an average of approximately 12 to 14 percent. Nationally the CDC estimates about 15 percent of people are affected by teenage obesity and that more than 3. 5 million kids live with obesity. The prevalence of undiagnosed eating disorders in parents of teens is 10 percent Shevery said.
The researchers concluded that its about time advertisers start showing less promotional weight gain and shift tactics. They have to think about how theyre going to reach the people who really want these type of fitness products Shevery said.
What advertisers should do is level the playing field between copy and be more respectful for information young people are more willing to swallow Shevery added. They cant put everything on the screen just to figure out whats going to get eyeballs. The survival of lean people is on the rise and Lean Advertising Awareness Month launches this year which the researchers hope will spur more marketers to pay attention to people who keep advertising obesity and excessive belly fat Shevery and Shevery said.
This helps them stand out both for the product and the company. Studies have shown mothers of children who are overweight often try to blame their sons for putting on weight. This has caused a wave of skinny or binge eating behaviors among young people the researchers said-with the goal of making them look thin.