Tesco Clubcard Plus

After moving out of home this year and becoming an “adult” officially I have discovered how expensive grocery shopping is so when I heard about the new Tesco Clubcard Plus I thought it  would definitely  be an excellent way to save money.

The first advertisement for the scheme I saw was a billboard in town. It was simply a blown up photograph of a tennis player with a speech bubble poorly edited onto the image (he could have been really famous I know nothing about tennis), my initial thought to this wasn’t anything to do with the Clubcard but more in relation to how bad the advertisement was, for such a huge company. After seeing this billboard it seemed like there was no avoiding Tesco Clubcard Plus. It’s plastered on every bus top in Belfast, every ad break in any TV show, and now all over social media- with thanks to Mel B.

You’ve probably seen the image either in real life or if not, on social media somewhere. Mel B called out Tesco on her Instagram and demanded the CEO get in contact with her urgently. Tesco have come out and said that they had permission to use the photograph. However clearly Mel B thinks otherwise.

 “Here at Tesco we are really big fans of Mel B and were excited to feature her photo in our campaign,” “We had authorisation to use this image, but we’re sorry Mel B is unhappy so we’ve stopped using it.” Claimed a spokesperson for Tesco.

 Mel B has recently back tracked and claimed she did give permission for her photograph to be used and the rumours pretty much came out of nowhere, when in reality she created them. She explained in an instagram caption that she was originally meant to be working on a campaign with Women’s Aid but their funding fell through. She praised Tesco in the caption saying that they had been so understanding. Could this have all been set up between Tesco and Mel B to give the scheme more media attention?

With a slogan like “value you can’t stop talking about” you would think they value would be good. However it seems that all people are talking about it how terrible the value is.

You have to pay a monthly subscription of £7.99, to save money? The perks are that you can save 10% on two “big shops” a month. However Tesco have not clarified what falls under the category of “big shop” they have only said it has to be under £200.  The only way anyone would make a noticeable saving is if they were spending at least £150 twice a month. You would save £30 per month- before you take away the monthly subscription.  Anyone could easily save this on their monthly shops by shopping somewhere cheaper.

Next up, let’s talk about how lazy the advertising is for this scheme. All they have done is taken images of celebrities (potentially without their permission), and old movies, and inserted basic textboxes over the top- literally something a 10 year old could do on paint. The TV adverts include old movies with the characters talking about how much they could save on their Tesco shops. I just don’t get the relevance at all. None of it makes any sense to me.

So, was this a successful campaign for Tesco? They launched it at a good time; people will be shopping more leading up to Christmas. And of course many people have been talking about the campaign which is possibly giving it more publicity than it would have if for example, it had half decent advertisements and decent savings and offers. The whole thing baffles me; Tesco can afford to do so much better than this, both in their advertising and providing genuine savings for their customers.  Obviously there is more to the loyalty card that just the 10% off 2 big shops, there is also double data and discount on Tesco own brands. The scheme is not completely terrible. It could be very beneficial to large families or people with large appetites who will be spending £200 on 2 large shops a month, are with Tesco mobile and only by their clothes and other bits from Tesco?

 They are right in claiming this is value you can’t stop talking about, which is true, people can’t stop talking about the value, although they think it’s bad, people are still talking. So was it possible Tesco did all this to get people talking about their latest scheme to attract more attention?

Anna Tilley is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter – @annatilley_, Instagram – @annatilleyx and Linked In: Anna Tilley

The Fears of Social Media

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I have always been interested in social media and how it has influenced every aspect of our lives. People are obsessed with their image, likes and how they present themselves on various platforms, and as the years have went on our social skills and social anxiety have plummeted. We feel the need to be constantly connected to what people are doing, what they are wearing or how many likes they get on a photo of themselves on a Saturday night sitting on the swing at ‘Ollies’, which has manifested the term ‘FOMO’. ‘FOMO’ is simply defined as the ‘Fear of missing out’ or otherwise known as fear of regret.

It can lead to a ‘compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for a social interaction, a novel experience, a profitable investment, or other satisfying events’. It essentially puts a fear in us that we are not spending our time wisely and makes us imagine how different our day would have gone if we had of just said the simple word ‘Yes’. It is alarming how this affects our psychological wellbeing, and can so easily add to a person’s negative mindset and depressed feelings. If we type in the ‘Fear of missing out’ the first thing that comes up is a definition, which was helpful for me as I used it in this blog, but further down there are pages upon pages of psychological websites on how to ‘deal with it’. This is not just some relatable quote a person posted on Instagram to try and get a trend going, it is real for a lot of people whether they realise it or not.

Personally, and although I hate to admit it as I got older my FOMO has only gotten worse, and that applies to my generation as we grew up with social media and it is everything we know. On that note, this vulnerability has subjected us to be an interesting market to target, as marketers are able to tap into the powerful emotional effects that are associated with this fear. On a realistic level regardless of the situation FOMO may affect people differently, whether it’s not being able to make it to dinner with your friends, not seeing the latest movie when it comes out, missing that hyped up holiday, or not attending your weekly/monthly group night out. But for many it is the sense of knowing that all your friends are out ‘living their best lives’ and you missed it due to something coming up or you just didn’t feel like it. Sometimes you may seem to find yourself checking your group chat for updates, snooping at Snapchat stories to see where your drunk friend has passed out next, or going into work the next day to find out any gossip from the night before. Without realising it you have tricked yourself into thinking that what you were doing was boring, and started to imagine how your day would have gone differently.

Whether we like it or not, we always seem to have those people on Instagram who we jump at the chance to view their stories or latest post because they go on 36 holidays a year, never wear the same thing twice, drive a brand-new Audi, have the best hair extensions, Russian lashes, fillers and around 3 different pairs of Alexander McQueen trainers. By looking at these types of people it tricks us into thinking we are not progressing in life and triggers that tiny voice in your head saying, ‘why can’t I have all that’. But if you think about it these types of people are probably so anxiety riddled and obsessed with keeping up their ‘image’ and social media status that their life is not actually so perfect after all and as the saying goes ‘you don’t know what happens behind closed doors’.

Although this topic you could say is quite sensitive, people including myself need to remember that it is not the end of the world, and someone out there could be looking at everything we do and thinking the exact same. It is nice that we don’t all have the same goals, want the same things, or live a certain lifestyle otherwise life would be dull, and moments would never be unexpected. We need to stop focusing on the what ifs and start focusing on the here and now, forget FOMO and remember JOMO (‘acronym for joy of missing out and describes the pleasure of taking a break from social activity- especially social media to enjoy personal time’).

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Chloe Light is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-light-358421172/ and Instagram @Chloe_lightbulb

 

Have you too been victimised by marketing decoys?

The answer, I’m sure for the majority is yes, even without realising. Everyone loves a bargain right? I can’t speak for us all, but I know for sure I can justify just about absolutely anything that is on sale, regardless whether I need it or not. Initialled mug for my tea? Yes please, because the other 40 cups at home just aren’t the same without the letter ‘N’ on it. A coconut lip scrub with avocado oil for extra soft lips? Aye sure it’s on offer, may as well – You get the drift!

It’s no secret that certain marketing tricks exist to help separate you from more of your money. Most people know about strategic item placement, music to fit your shopping mood, and other tricks of the trade, but are you sharp enough to spot them all?

 

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Here’s a list of 6 marketing stunts we fall victim to everyday;

  1. Decoy Pricing

You know when you’re choosing the size of popcorn you’re going to get at the cinema and the small is £3 and the large is £8? You would probably just buy the small. However, if there was a medium for £7 most people would buy the large because “it’s only one pound more than the medium.” This is a tactic that boosts sales of high profit items by creating another version of the product solely to make the dearer version seem more reasonable by comparison.

  1. The expensive dish on the menu

I’ve always wondered who actually buys the steak at £35 in a restaurant? Apparently, it’s sole purpose isn’t there to be bought. For a long time now, menu strategists have used this tactic of creating one or two ridiculously overpriced options on the menu with the intention to make everything else on the menu appear more affordable. Steak at £35? No way. Prawn Linguini at £23? Yep, bargain!

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  1. False sense of urgency

When you are shopping for something but spy the “limited time offer” or “last remaining stock” signs, it’s hard to resist having a look. The latest incarnation is when we are online looking at travel websites. “Limited offer flights to Madrid £60 return. 5 seats remaining, 16 people are currently looking at this offer.” We instantly think “better hustle” and are often persuaded into buying the flights there and then in case we miss such an offer. Often these signs are in red and there is a reason for that: people usually react faster and more forcefully when they see the colour red. Again, mind games!

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  1. Odd number pricing strategy

Why is it that a book at £9.99 seems so much cheaper than a book at £10? This hinges on our psychological inclination to think that £9.99 seems closer to £9 than £10 because we see the number 9. We know it’s not true, but it gets us every time!

  1. Buy One Get One Free

It really is no secret that wherever and whenever we see the word ‘free’ we are instantly interested. ‘BOGOF’ is one of shopper marketing’s biggest weapons that we are all well aware of yet still can’t resist it. This usually results in us buying something more expensive than we had planned because we can now justify it by thinking ‘sure I’m getting something free, so the money from that I can spend on something else’- we’ve all been there! Let’s be honest though, most of the time we were never going to buy the ‘free’ item in the first place anyway, nor do we need it, right?

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  1. In-store product placement

Ever wonder why you always have to trek to the back of a grocery store just to get a loaf of bread or pint of milk? They are placed at the back for a specific reason. They are necessities that most people come into a grocery store for. Ever see the bright, random offers that greet you as you walk into the grocery store? Yes, they are also there for a specific reason – to make you spend money on things you don’t really need. Having to walk down different isles to get to what you want will increase the chances of you picking up some items that you didn’t come in for thus increasing your spend in the store.

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At the end of the day, these secret marketing strategies are just one big catalogue of manipulations really. Hopefully by reading this it will make you slightly more aware of the sneaky games retailers play on us daily.

Niamh Mac Manus is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram – @niamhmacmanus_ , Twitter – @niamh_mac_manus and Linked In – @NiamhMacManus.

Keeping on top of your digital strategy

I’ll start off easy. For many of you who don’t study anything business or marketing related, you may look at the words ‘Digital Strategy’ and freak out. More haunting words that sound like you’re travelling down the wrong path, but once you come to grips with it you can turn your business into an overnight success. Okay, maybe not overnight, but you get what I mean!

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Having a clear understanding of what Digital Strategy is, allows you to start working on building your reputation and stacking up the dollars on a digital scale. ‘Digital strategy’ can be summarised in seven words – “achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies” (Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). Analysing a straightforward definition like that makes it feel like we’re reading ‘Digital Strategy for Dummies’ and that it could all be so simple, but we still need to consider our hyper-competitive marketplaces to allow us to take control.

So how powerful is a Digital Strategy?

In a recent study ‘Managing Digital Marketing’ by Smart Insights it concluded 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital strategy. Shocking. We’re now in 2018 and almost half of business leaders don’t realise this is how you let your business grow? You need to start making a plan! And fast.

Thankfully we have progressed since the release of the first website and the digital world continues to get more interesting. Your business can now take to the stage in more than just the newspaper, it can feature on social media sites I’m certain you’re familiar with (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), e-mail marketing, classified ads and the easiest way of-mobile marketing. All inside that device you throw into your back pocket-well that’s if you’ve progressed from the Nokia 3310, also known as ‘The Indestructible’.

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Depending on the aspect you want your business to take and the marketing strategy you have in place, ensuring you’re going to reach the target audience you want, your knowledge of the route you want to lead needs to be concise and creative in order for it to work. Websites that are easy to use are key, keeping up with market trends, your performance as a business-how quickly you respond and the manner that you respond in, also promotional messages. Simple actions will have loyal customers rolling in, forming that purchase and re-purchase behaviour. For example-Domino’s daily texts and e-mails with discount codes and saying that they missed me encourages me to scoff those carbs down with no regret. They don’t shy away from the innovative marketing tactics and neither should you. (Which reminds me my Sizzler should be here by now, brb.)

Snapchat recently have integrated a ‘Website link’ feature which allows brands to attach their website in their snaps and direct consumers straight to their website address and browse it without having to close the app. An innovative way to up sell products, especially for smaller businesses who have just started up, increasing their digital presence and opportunity. Hurts my bank balance though.

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Do I need one?

Y-E-S! Having no direction within a business can be an absolute nightmare. And a strategic plan that is not too complicated will allow for the digital objectives that you want to pursue to be achieved. This will allow for a stronger connection with existing customers whilst developing new relationships as a result of adopting use of those digital tools. The start of your plan should be based on a detailed situational analysis. Summarising this as the process by which the company develops a clear understanding of each individual market and then evaluates its significance for the company and for other markets in which the business operates.

Google Analytics is an easily accessible tool can help to monitor these aspects, giving a stronger indication of how your success can measured. They proliferate your awareness of your target audience, improve engagement and interpret the data you need to continue to create this effective digital strategy.

Following PR Smith’s model; SOSTAC allows for a balanced strategic plan and can be used no matter if your business is big or small. Once you have analysed the situation, your objectives come into practice and you want to start engaging with your customers and ensuring their needs are satisfied. The strategy now in this modern technological world would involve getting your advertisements out on social media sites, making yourselves known, zoning in on the areas you want to target and who. With your focused and efficient tactics, the model will allow you to monitor and control, so if problems arise, they can be easily construed and stopped in their tracks before anything too crazy happens.

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What makes it so effective?

Brand identity. Is your presence known? If it’s not then you won’t be remembered in a hurry! You want to make yourself aware on and off the internet bringing brand promise, this needs to be consistent. Kapferer created a brand identity prism that is a good framework for helping you source the answers to questions like; ‘What makes a brand distinguished?’, ‘What is brand equity?’ Kapferer’s (1997) argument that this new model adheres to, is that brand identity is a richer concept to understand and build brands, than just focusing on positioning. Allowing you to determine possible limits for brand development and variation. Then, you’re on the path to success.

See, it’s simpler than you think. Although I do advise that you always plan for the worst as you cannot control every situation or employee that crosses your path. Feedback from customers can be a heart-breaking or a ‘made my day’ experience, reels in opportunities to boost your business, being inspired to improve. As Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon says; “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Reputation makes customers.

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Fionnuala Hegarty is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @fionnualaheg,  LinkedIn –Fionnuala Hegarty, and Instagram – fionnualahegarty

The Online Shopping Revolution

As many of you have seen, ASOS have launched a new trial tool on its site called ‘See My Fit’ and personally I think its genius…

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See My Fit

This tool lets shoppers see what an item of clothing would look like on 16 different body shapes ranging from sizes 4-18 and heights 5’1” to 5’9”. According to Tim Carey, senior content manager at ASOS Studios: “the tool uses AR technology to put the power in our customers’ hands, so they can choose to view a dress on the model that they most identify with in a way that wouldn’t be possible using traditional model-shooting techniques”.

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An example of the ‘See My Fit’ app

Can’t please em’ all

ASOS are always one step ahead and the product that it built will change our shopping experience for the better. However a lot of people have made comment on the fact that the model isn’t actually wearing the item. Step into the 21st century hun….imagine how long it would take if ASOS was to shoot every item of clothing on its website onto 16 different models (eye-roll)

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My view on ASOS

DISCLOSURE: In 2019 I paid a £9.99 one off payment to avail of ASOS’s free next day delivery for a year. Yes this investment was great value for money as next day delivery usually costs £4.99 per transaction. But, believe it or not there are pros and cons.

A major CON being the fact that I get an ASOS parcel delivered to my work every other day if not every day. Due to the fact that it’s free delivery, I hold the mindset that “Oh well, I may as well order it, sure I’ll probably send it back” (truth be told I usually don’t)

(9 times out of 10 I return things that I don’t like- I do however return things a lot more for a different size or if it doesn’t fit properly, even if I LOVE the item)

Have you noticed that I’ve began with the cons…

I usually do so as by the time that I’ve listed the positives I have forgotten the cons, selected my size, moved the items from my wish list to my bag, pay now…you get where this is going.

There are major pros to ASOS, the main one being that if I have last minute plans and it’s raining outside I can order an outfit or 2 or 3 (for selection purposes…obvs) from the comfort of my bed and it will be there the very next day. ASOS are miles ahead of the game when it comes to time management and selection. It really is like walking into a huge shopping centre with a shop just for you filled with your favourite brands in your size.

BACK TO THE POINT…

Like many people I am not ‘textbook size’. I take a different size in tops than in bottoms and I am usually tripping over the mile trail left on the floor when I put on my jeans. I am what many websites brand petite and as a result I have in many situations been the perfect example of #ExpectationVSReality.

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Expectation vs Reality

ASOS do have a pretty good petite range, but it is what I would describe as ‘the best of a bad bunch’.
They still fall guilty of one size fits all shapes in many of their products.

The Revolution

The new tool ‘See My Fit’ could possibly revolutionise the future of online shopping. This tool allows shoppers to see what the item of clothing would look like on various different shapes. In my case I could select a small petite girl with my build.
This would have many benefits for ASOS and of course its shoppers. I may be pleasantly surprised with how an item of clothing looks on someone my height and purchase, where as before I would have never considered buying it. This could lead to a lot more sales for ASOS eliminating the self doubt aspect or it could do the opposite and prove that they need to up their game and provide more size variations in their products.

Returns

Simple online returns are a major part of any consumers shopping experience as it gives them a choice, however it costs the industry BILLIONS! This year on Black Friday returns alone predicted to cost UK fashion retailers 1.6 billion pounds , according to returns management platform ReBound Returns. With returns predicted to rise by 27.3% in the next 5 years, this could have a catastrophic impact on our favourite brands.

Could ASOS’s new app be the solution?

Well if customers can see what the product would look like on someone like them, they are more likely to be confident with their purchase. The fact that ASOS are being upfront with its customer again may affect sales but it should definitely have an impact in reducing the quantity of returns.

ASOS have set the standards as far as online shopping goes and it wont be long before the other large retail competitors are forced to keep up. Even though this tool is seen as a unique selling point for ASOS in a few years time we will see this level of customer service as an essential, something we expect.

So for that …THANK YOU ASOS!

 

Kayleigh Tinney is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently doing a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on: Instagram – @Kayleightinney and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayleigh-tinney-76b240161/.

A ‘Whale’ Big Problem for SeaWorld.

Do you ever find yourself about 20 videos deep from what you were originally watching on YouTube and have no clue how you ended up clicking on a video about how Doc Martins are made in a factory? Because same.

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Well, that’s exactly how I came across the trailer for a documentary called Blackfish. So of course I went online and seen that the documentary was available to watch on Netflix and that is how I found myself knee deep looking for information on the topic and the PR crisis that they were facing.

Now if you haven’t seen the documentary i’ll give you a quick rundown on what it’s about. Blackfish is a highly controversial documentary about the SeaWorld company that came about after one of their trainers Dawn Brancheau was sadly killed by Tilikum an orca whale in the Orlando park. However, this same whale had previously been involved in the death of two other individuals. The documentary covers the history of killer whales who were taken into captivity up until Dawns death.

Ever since the documentary aired SeaWorld have not only been under intense scrutiny by organisations such as PETA but also a rake of other people. In fact, Joan Jett who is famous for her song ‘I love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ demanded that the song be removed from the ‘Shamu Rocks’ show which displays these killer whales.

This was only the beginning of the roller coaster for SeaWorld. Sometimes the only way to learn a lesson is to be thrown in at the deep end and swim. Not Sea-World though. Oh no. They just sunk.

SeaWorld probably did the worst thing when it came to the backlash of this documentary. The only thing they did in this situation was release a statement essentially saying that the documentary was misleading and exploits a tragedy. They attacked the documentary company rather than fix incorrect information. Now if this isn’t the beginning of a PR disaster then what is?

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As another attempt at fixing this PR crisis SeaWorld also released an ad which could be found both on the televison and online. The main purpose of the advertisement was to try an express how much of an effort SeaWorld put in to caring for their marine life, particulary the killer whales. Once again the company quickly came under fire from animal activist groups claiming that it was a direct attack on previous campaigns made against Sea World.

For 2 years (yes, they really ignored this for 2 years) SeaWorld pushed this all to the side and didn’t break breath about the situation. Sometime later they finally decided to try and be pro-active and came up with the campaign #AskSeaWorld. Brilliant idea, eh? Wrong. All this done was give ammunition to everyone who had their backs up about the company being mute for 2 years and were finally able to give their honest opinion on what they thought of SeaWorld.

Would it have been better if SeaWorld ignored the whole situation? Is it true when they say all PR is good PR? I honestly don’t think so. 

Here are a few pointers I would give to any compny that may find themselves in a bit of a PR mess:

1. Honesty really is the best policy – Had SeaWorld been open and honest about what was happening with the documentary and the company they mightn’t have got themselves in the mess they did. Nobody likes a company who is so secretive. Whether or not they thought it was better to stay quiet, 2 years is quite a while and in the long run they just did more harm than good.

2. Devise a plan – Some companies go a lifetime without having any PR issues. However, the best idea would be to have a process in place on how best to manage an issue. Don’t do the automatic reaction that SeaWorld did of jumping down someones throat and insisting that they are being misleading. What good is that going to do you?

3. Admit if you made a mistake – Some may not agree with me on this one. However, I think it’s better for a company to admit when they’ve made a mistake and are willing to learn from it. It almost makes the company look more humble.

After all this, there is one thing I hope SeaWorld actually did right and that is that whoever was in charge of their PR and marketing got the boot.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Blackfish I strongly recommed you do. As someone who always wanted to go to SeaWorld (thankfully I never got) it gave me a real eye opener about what is actually going on in there.

You can still watch it on Netflix now. Pinch a pals password if you haven’t got an account. It’s okay though, I won’t judge. I still sponge off my sister for it but it’s allowed because we’re students, right? 

Courtney O’Neill is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Courtneyon21 and Linkedin: @courtneyoneill

Is social media normalising being unhealthily overweight?

Is social media normalising being unhealthily overweight?

Everyone has a love-hate relationship with social media; why?

Pros:

  • Easy way to keep in touch with friends
  • Easy access to current affairs
  • Enables us to educate ourselves

The list goes on. There are endless reasons why we love social media; the extent to which can be seen in cities like Augsburg, Germany where pedestrian crossings signs have been put on the ground; because we spend most of our time with our heads down, engrossed in our phones. 

Cons:

  • Depression
  • Cyberbullying
  • FOMO (Fear of missing out)
  • Negative body image
  • Unrealistic perceptions of other people’s lives

Social media also has its pros and cons on the subject of body image. It can be a source of ‘fitspiration’ to people striving to lead healthier lives. Aroosha Nekonam battled with anorexia for years and claimed social media helped her in the midst of her eating disorder. https://www.healthline.com/health/social-media-choices#inspiration-vs.-expectation 

female bodybuilders’ Instagram and Youtube accounts provided something to aspire to

This is, on the other hand, is one of social media’s biggest downfalls; and dangers! Constantly flicking through Instagram, seeing models with perfect physiques on regular holidays; wearing expensive clothes, and driving expensive cars. This can have a profound impact on someone’s mental health; especially when they start comparing their lives to what they see on Instagram.


The question I pose is: are the various body positivity campaigns such as the 2012 #FatKini, or #LoseHateNotWeight encouraging us to be more physically unhealthy? In a time where positive mental health is so important, could we be losing sight of how necessary good physical health is to compensate?

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For years, the ideology that you have to be a size 4 to be regarded beautiful was all that we knew. In an age of mental health being so prevalent, businesses and individuals with a platform have tried to combat this mentality, which in my opinion is a huge positive and step forward. It is completely unrealistic to assume that all women should be a certain size as we come naturally in different shapes and sizes.


Dr. Stephanie Buttermore, a Ph.D. academic turned fitness model from Canada, is going “all in” in an attempt to prove that people’s bodies have a natural ‘set point’. Buttermore describes going ‘all in’ as eating until your hunger is completely satiable. Stephanie expects that by the end of the process her body will return to a size where it is genetically supposed to be.

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She delves into the process on her YouTube channel, self-titled, Stephanie Buttermore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DotlyWhBhak


Returning the focus to social media body positivity campaigns: I fully understand the main point of these; to be happy in your skin. As we are trying to push away from the thinking that you have to be ‘skinny’ to be viewed attractive. For example, Dove’sReal Beauty’ campaign, showing a diverse range of models; one that I thought displayed the message of body positivity in a healthy way.

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Another company that I feel tried to jump on the bandwagon with this, and in my opinion, failed was Gillette. Gillette’s April 2019 Twitter advert featured a plus-size model, Anna O’Brien.

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This campaign faced major backlash stating that the model shown is not healthy, and listing health problems that arise from being obese.

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Companies like Dove are positively combating the mentality that being dramatically underweight is not healthy, however, they are not using models at the other end of the spectrum to show this – surely this would be contradicting anyway?


We cannot deny the implications that come with being overweight: In England, obesity rates have increased from 16.4% in 1993 to 26.8% in 2015 in women (with similar statistics in men) costing the NHS £6.1 billion between 2014-2015 alone. Obesity is a trend that is on the rise and these figures are only going to vastly increase.

Now let’s look at the actual health risks associated with obesity:

  • 3 times more likely to develop colon cancer
  • 2.5 times more likely to develop high blood pressure (higher risk of heart disease)
  • 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes

Obviously, obesity blame is not solely on campaigns like Gillette but isn’t helped by businesses on social media trying to normalise it to appear more inclusive with the sole purpose of generating more sales; disregarding the physical health risks that are brought with it.

I appreciate that businesses using these campaigns have an aim to make women feel more confident in their skin; although I think that we need to be more conscious of how this can be perceived. Many people may look at these campaigns and think that being physically healthy is not a priority so long as you’re happy, which to an extent may be true. Looking at social media for a perfect figure is unhealthy as often these figures are naturally unattainable. Pictures have been airbrushed and models have had surgery but it can be a great source of information and motivation to get on the right track.

My point is that we cannot neglect our physical health in the hope that we will feel more mentally healthy, instead, we need to work on getting to a place where our bodies and minds are both happy and with a healthy diet and regular exercise this can be achieved.

 

Orlaigh Doherty is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/orlaigh-doherty-7351a7139/