Rewind time to 2011. Remember the Peta Ad that was banned from the superbowl for being too “racy”? If you don’t, let me remind you and break down 3 reasons how social media can influence your habits.
First take a second to see the master piece for yourself:
What did you notice? What was the message?
If you were occupied with the lingerie clad woman and the canoodling of vegetables, than Peta did it’s job. The message delivered in this video is “Studies show, vegetarians have better sex” but the real question is why was this so effective and why was it so controversial enough to be banned?
Food is a social experience and often times our choices reflect what our society values. In the Peta Ad, woman in sexy lingerie are just that, sexy. So, vegetables held by sexy women are by proxy SEXY! So, this leads to us delving into 3 reasons how social media can influence your eating habits or habits in general.
1.) It appeals to your emotions. By inciting feeling of love, or even sexual arousal, social media can affect our eating habits and can connect certain messages with more pleasant somatic feelings. We as practitioners can steer people towards healthier habits by coupling it with socially accepted norms.
2.) It creates a faux electronic environment of peer pressure. No one wants to stand out. As humans we are social beings and with that, the more something is portrayed as negative or un-favorable the more people will steer away from it. Let’s take a look at another food inspired ad that’s gone “viral” to create healthy drug free habits. Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub_a2t0ZfTs&feature=kp. What did you notice? If the harsh tapping of the egg on the cast iron pan didn’t make your cringe than the eggs being scrambled must of definitely let you an impression as to what drugs can do. It can also make you fearful of what happens to you if you choose to associate with it so as practitioners, getting advertising to go “viral” can add an additional layer of pressure to create behavior and health change.
3.) Makes you feel as “one” of the pack. Once again humans are social beings and as a result we like to engage with one another. By making advertising social, one can create the illusion that the activities associated with the advertising equate being social and popular. As health practitioners, we can use this to our advantage like Joe Camel was able to infiltrate cigarettes into society. Although Joe Camel negatively influenced youth to consider smoking as “sexy”, ad’s like the ones with teenagers at parties getting hurt create the opposite effect and influences teenagers to steer away from drugs/alcohol.
So how can we use communications to change health? Applying social contextual rules to advertising on sites like facebook, youtube, and twitter can help appeal to the masses by creating a more personal and distinguishable experience versus the everyday that one may get.