New Years’s Resolutions as a Marketing Tool

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This one isn’t about dancing so you can skip it if that is your main interest.  But this is the first Sunday paper after the new year and so it was loaded with ads and a whole bunch of coupons.  Guess what everyone is selling?  Of course, fitness clothes, fitness accessories, diet stuff, healthy food and even some things for quitting smoking.  Think they covered the majority of resolutions that were made?  I commented on this before and I can’t blame the stores and companies for doing this as advertising is just a way to get you to make choices and buy things and stores need you to buy things to stay in business so that’s our circle of life but I can’t help but feel that the ads that appear so helpful really end up doing more harm than good.

Take the fitness stuff.  First of all, they show people who are already in great shape wearing all this stuff but you wonder if they really stock the sizes they actually need.  Does it become self-defeating if you buy some fitness wear and what you see in the mirror is nowhere close to what the ads show?  Not to mention the fact that, as I’ve said before, exercise alone isn’t going to cut it.  So do you get people who say they are going to get in shape and lose weight and go buy this stuff and then give up after a month because they didn’t control their calorie intake and haven’t seen instant results.  Or how many people buy what looks new and shiny in the store and then can’t find the time and just see the unused equipment day after day after day which would feed the “I’m a failure” message.  How many years does this go on?

Well I won’t go on too much of a rant over this because in the end we are all responsible for our choices – good and bad – that put us in the situations we are in.  What I would say to anyone is please ignore all the shiny new stuff in the stores and the commercials that promise quick fixes and do a little more research.  Educate yourself and then you can make the smart choices about diet and exercise.  As I said earlier, it is hard work so be ready for it.

The funny part of all this is that in the middle of all the coupons for diet food, IHOP is promoting their “all you can eat pancakes”.  Now, I wonder what audience are they trying to reach.  Just figuring that people are going to blow their resolutions so they might as well drown their sorrows in endless plates of pancakes.  Or are they going for those who are going to treat fitness like Mardi Gras and have one last little fling before getting serious.  “Oh yeah, I’m going to get in shape starting Monday but today, I’m hitting IHOP because its a great deal”.  Truth in advertising would be to explain how long it would take on a treadmill at a given speed to work off a single pancake.  Or are they just going for people who have given up and don’t care.  Not that I want to draw deeper meaning from an IHOP ad because I doubt there is anything deeper there, but it was interesting to see two competing forces at work.  Heavy pressure from all the ads to get in shape and keep those resolutions and IHOP telling you “Don’t worry, eat pancakes.”  Why do I feel that more people will take advantage of the pancakes than the various other ads.

PS – I’m not an IHOP hater by the way but I’ve read enough to know that “all you can eat” is not compatible with the lifestyle I’ve now chosen.

PSS – I did clip the coupons for Atkins which I still use.  I may hate the marketing ploy but I’ll take advantage of it if it helps me.

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