There are a number of disturbing realities in John Bohannon’s article explaining how he fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss. The most disturbing being the harsh reality of mind games, which many fall victim to – especially in the name of body image.
Bohannon’s factitious article deceived so many partially due to the alluring headline, which promised a loss of weight by eating chocolate. After all, what’s more appealing than being able to indulge in our favorite sweats while losing weight at the same time? We all want to have our cake and eat it too and the media knows this all too well. In his tell all article, Bohannon admits to the clever tricks that enabled him to fool vast amounts of people in stating
With the paper out, it was time to make some noise. I called a friend of a friend who works in scientific PR. She walked me through some of the dirty tricks for grabbing headlines
Although, the headline grab of Bohannon’s fibbing formula isn’t too surprising. The public isn’t ignorant to headline editor’s tricks. Nonetheless, they continue to fall for them time and time again.
We live off headlines in the current age. Ads flashing our way right and left, all trying to catch our precious, fleeting attention. Product slogans are just one of the everyday mind games we fight through and chocolate brands have some of the most tempting ones out there:
KitKat: Gimme me a break
Maltesers: The lighter way to enjoy chocolate
Nestle Crunch: For the Kid in you
KitKat targets the modern day consumers fast paced life and offers them a break. Nestle Crunch brings the consumer back to easier days as a child. But Maltesers may have the most compelling slogan, which focuses on portraying their sugary product as a “light” snack, fully aware of the consumer’s obsession with body image. Regardless of which slogan is best, mind games are in full force in each.
Another component of Bohannon’s formula involves an even dirtier side of the mind games in advertising–graphics. Bohannon and his team created music videos in order better to pitch their scientific article to publishers. It became evident publishers were interested in the scientific results, but none were interested in the music videos. Bohannon commented
No one dipped into our buffet of chocolate music videos. Instead, they used vaguely pornographic images of women eating chocolate…
Disinterest in music videos rapping about chocolate is understandable. Disgust comes in the exploitation of women for page views. Even the most self-confident of readers will most likely compare themselves to the photoshopped woman on the screen and flounder in their flaws. The use of unrealistic photographs is another mind game all internet users must navigate on a daily basis, which can plummet one’s personal body image.
At the end of his article, Bohannon stated that hopefully our little experiment will make reporters and readers alike more skeptical…but why stop at being skeptical only about science? Bohannon not only blew the whistle on the falsities in some of the diet science craze, he also brought to light the negative connotations on the use of headlines and graphics–to name a few. Sadly, we need to be skeptical towards just about anything we come across on the internet, especially when it pertains to beauty and body image.