What is normal in the media?

Andrew Ebding

Over the course of two weeks, the focus on communication in health has given me a completely different mindset on what Americans consider “normal”. Many of factors are involved to consider a lifestyle as something “normal”, but one of the largest contributors to determining what is customary is the media. Something I found interesting was the use of qualitative stories in advertisements to persuade the audience to think that a product is healthy and normal for people to buy. When we watch these advertisements, we tend to agree with what the message is trying to say. But, are the advertisements that we are presented telling the truth?

Chipotle was our class example of how corporations use advertisements to convince the audience that their restaurants are the best places to eat. Recently, they have used cartoon advertisements to promote their fresh food. Played on television, in theaters, and even on YouTube, these ads all tell an emotional story to show the viewer, that their food is fresh. The video of the farmer reverting to his old ways, and the scarecrow starting his own burrito stand  are both very touching to the audience (see link below). What the viewers don’t consider are the overwhelming issues that Chipotle actually has with their company.

Recall the ads that we watched in class. We mentioned the that Chipotle doesn’t show their logo until the end of the ad, because we need to believe that the farmer in the commercial is a passionate man. When we see the logo, we tend to think that Chipotle is a passionate corporation, and that the company went back to it’s old ways to ensure every customer that they’re getting the healthiest meat on the market. What we look past is that the farmer leaned towards a very industrial production in the past. Is this an accurate representation of what Chipotle use to be? Are they really one hundred percent all natural? Of course not. If they were really “all natural”, very few of the items on the menu would be available.

Let’s not forget the nationwide E. coli outbreak. Many Chipotle locations around the nation had traces of E. coli in their meat, which was used to produce meals to a large amount of customers. According to the FDA, the CDC reported 55 people infected with E. coli across 11 states. How did Chipotle try and fix the solution? By offering a coupon for a free burrito. This lead Americans to think that Chipotle was trying to do good. In reality, Chipotle could have used these coupons to cover up a huge corporate issue, all while still bringing customers into their restaurants. So, do ads really give us the facts? Or, do ads simply feed us information that we want to see in order to make society think that a certain lifestyle is “normal”?

FDA article: http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm470410.htm

The Scarecrow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE

Back to the Start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos

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3 thoughts on “What is normal in the media?

  1. Your post is very similar to mine in terms of trust and the media. So often I have found myself being fully engaged or even feeling fully obsessed with a product who’s advertisement appeals to me. However, how often do I realize that the main objective for the advertisement is not my health or happiness, but their ability to make money off of the consumer. Advertisers are very intelligent when it comes to truly speaking to their target audience, and usually this works very well. I am so happy you delved deeper into the meaning of the Chipotle ad from class because you made me realize that by just using simple logic, we can really debunk some of the hidden truths from within companies whose products we frequently use.

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  2. I really appreciated how you used Chipotle as a discussion point for “health standard”. I think most of us consider Chipotle a healthy fast food option and that’s because of their standards they choose for their products, and this trend seems to be catching on; McDonalds, Wendy’s, are all taking effort to seem fresher and have healthy options because they know that’s what sells. I know I heard my friends or family claim they were never going to eat at Chipotle again after the E.coli break, but just a few months later they’re back at it again and have seemingly forgotten all about their previous vow. Advertising and its strategies are really powerful.

    Victoria Obermeyer

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