When you see this image, what are you thinking? Probably that this guy’s leg was amputated due to obesity, right? FALSE!
The New York City Department of Health paid for a stock image of a man “seemingly” without his right leg and incorporated it into the print advertisement in order to enhance the dangers that food consumption has grown dramatically to health-threatening proportions. Obesity has shown strong links to diabetes and other related diseases.
My opinion: the ad is not saying any specific information about this person and illness, thus they are only using typical “advertising” tactics to promote their argument.
John Kelly, a health department spokesman, replied to the feedback of this ad: “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.”
Does it hurt to have a stock image vs a real person to convey the message? Maybe a little bit – real stories always make a message stronger in my opinion. But, this is a case of standard advertising process that used cheap materials to promote a sensitive issue and now being called “controversial.” Ultimately, the bigger question should be if advertisers should ever use these types of images in their campaigns? Does it send the wrong message by deceiving its consumers?
How do you feel about the ad? Do you feel NYC Dept of Health did the right thing? Or did they dupe fellow New Yorkers?