Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PSAs for eating disorders

The tagline reads "Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note." This is part of the Public Service Announcement campaign for eating disorders in Canada which began airing today. The Looking Glass Foundation in British Columbia, a company dedicated to raising awareness of eating disorders and gaining funds for residential treatment, wanted a way to draw attention to plight of eating disorders and the importance of early intervention.

The founders hope that these PSAs which show images of girls compulsively weighing and measuring themselves, a broken toothbrush used by a bulimic, and other stories of eating disorder sufferers will help let go of the stigma surrounding these illnesses. Their hope is that people will begin to talk about these problems rather than hiding them.

The creative director of DDB Canada, a marketing communications agency, says "The campaign's tone reflects both the seriousness of this disease and optimism for thoseafflicted, and leaves viewers with a positive message of hope."

I don't live in Canada, so if any of you Canadians see or read these PSAs, I'm interested in hearing what you think about them. Did you find them helpful and informative?


Googling PSAs on eating disorders, here is a PSA from NEDA, entitled "do you think I'm fat?" NEDIC, based in Toronto, Canada also has some PSAs. Face the issue has several PSAs on eating disorders directed at young children and adolescents. Print wise, I know NEDA has a number of brochures and posters about eating disorder awareness.

I don't know how many of you saw the print ad by The Body Shop a number of years ago.

If you can't read the line, it says "there are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Even though many of us know that EDs are not about vanity, I still think this ad gave food for thought. There was another ad at about the same time that sparked controversy of a naked woman in the act of purging. On the side of the photo, it read "obsession." I think it was supposed to emulate a "Calvin Klein-esque" feel.

Anyway, I think PSAs can be a good thing in bringing about education and awareness. Often times when I think about PSAs, I think about the ones involving substance abuse, drugs, or drunk driving. It's obvious that there has been an effort for PSAs on eating disorders, so why is there still so much misguided and false information out there?

I think part of the problem is that these PSAs aren't widespread enough and only seen in certain areas of the country versus nationwide. I could be wrong about this, but I don't remember seeing many of these PSAs on eating disorders or maybe they just weren't memorable? Come to think of it, the ones that stick out in my mind the most are those from the Dove real beauty campaign.

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