“The medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan coined that oft-quoted observation nearly half a century ago, but he could have been talking about a poster now appearing in New York City subways courtesy of the Bloomberg administration.
The ad, part of the mayor’s campaign to scare residents into cutting down on sugar-laden foods, shows an overweight man seated on a stool behind three progressively larger cups of soda. The man is missing his right leg below the knee, and a pair of crutches is propped against the wall behind him. The accompanying text explains the connection:
Portions have grown. So has type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations.
Cut your portions. Cut your risk.
Nice of the mayor to care so much. His nurturing side has surfaced before, first in his efforts to forcibly wrest the salt shaker from the hands of New Yorkers and again in his installation of curbside bike lanes, which has increased traffic congestion manyfold.
Unlike his previous health-oriented endeavors, which were grotesquely hands-on, this latest wag of the finger is purely instructional—there to “tell it like it is.” Sort of. It turns out that the man in the picture isn’t really an amputee but a model who sat for the photo years earlier. You can see this for yourself by comparing the finished poster with the unretouched photo.
By way of justifying the use of a doctored photo, New York Health Department spokesman John Kelly told the New York Times:
Sometimes we use individuals who are suffering from the particular disease; other times we have to use actors. We might stop using actors in our ads if the food industry stops using actors in theirs.
In other words, one bad turn deserves another.
The Times article also quotes Bob Garfield, a commentator for Advertising Age and National Public Radio, who said, “Why people lie when there’s no penalty for telling the truth is an absolute mystery to me.”
- TV cooking celeb Paula Deen reveals she has type 2 diabetes
- 1,000 NYC pedestrians injured despite (because of?) Bloomberg’s goofy bike lanes
- E. coli found at NYC Starbucks that received “A” grades from NYC Health Dept
- Bloomberg spends $245,000 in taxpayers’ money on three chefs
- Does watching cooking shows on TV make you fat?
- The war on salt and personal freedom heats up
- Starbucks, Heinz, and Subway sign on to Bloomberg’s dubious salt reduction initiative
- New York restaurants will be required to make the grade AND reveal their GPA
- Cigarette packs to shock smokers into quitting by showing gory graphic images
- White House Task Force on Obesity Report is filled with lies and distortions
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