NutriSystem for men

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There’s a new commercial for NutriSystem FOR MEN! which makes for a very interesting side-by-side comparison with the ones for women. The most striking difference is the main product benefit highlighted for each gender: NutriSystem makes women feel so much better about themselves, but it makes men have an “excellent sex life!” Over and over, the men crow about their fabulous sex lives since losing all that weight. Also, the advertisement promises no calorie counting, for a striking reason: “What guy has time for that?” Emphasis clear from actor’s tone. You’ll “eat like a man, and feel like a man.”

NutriSystem used to run ads including both male and female clients who’d lost weight and now felt “so much better” about themselves. Apparently, those ads didn’t draw in the male customers. Or perhaps they did, but the men didn’t stick around, citing annoyance with calorie counting and small portions as their reason for leaving the program. The new ads tell men in no uncertain terms that NutriSystem has designed something just for them, the benefits of which will outweight the negatives. That’s all fine by me. Even the spurious suggestion that losing weight will improve a man’s sex life amuses me rather than offends me: yet again, advertisers assume that a man will buy anything, if they can get him to connect it with sex.

In fact, my only real objection to the commercial is the line, “What guy has time for that?” The implication being that a man’s time is valuable, but women have ample free time to count calories. What male fantasy is this playing into? The 1950’s one where men jealously imagine their wives at home popping bonbons all day? Or the modern one, where the man imagines that because he works so hard and does the dishes two evenings a week, he has it so much tougher than his wife, who works as many hours as he does, and handles all of the other household chores, and ninety percent of the child-rearing duties? Or is it that men think women are so vain about appearance, we’ll make the time to worry about calorie counting?

Comments

  1. Mecha says

    Hoo, that is pretty bad. Since when has being a guy meant less inherent free time indeed. Calorie counting is for everyone if they need to count calories. It’s that simple. ;)

    On the sex drive thing, this is but one of many things I’ve seen talk about a link (and more than in just ‘feeling ugly’.) http://onhealth.webmd.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56044 Of course, it affects women too, from what I read. They could always make the ad talk about how it helps womens’ sex drive too. Welcome to the modern era.

    Also, from what you say, they implicitly link ‘sex’ to ‘manliness’. You’ll feel like a man… when you get lots of sex! Oy.

    -Mecha

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    They weren’t saying it would improve your sex drive. They were saying it would improve your sex “life”. The implication seemed to be: “Lose weight, and you’ll get lots of sex.” That logic is missing a couple of steps. :)

  3. Gategrrl says

    Ah yes, I first saw this commercial a few nights ago, with my husband and 10 year old daughter in attendance. Husband and I started laughing our asses off, and daughter was tilting her head in bafflement, when we explained to her the come-ons that most weight loss plans try to foist on their prospective clients, etc etc -. I still think she doesn’t “get it”, but she’s only ten, and has plenty of time to start worrying about her weight (which she already does, sort of).

    Yeah, this advertisement has all the subtleties of a jackhammer outside a bedroom window at 6am.

  4. Jay says

    It’s incredibly sad that you have the time to search for deep hidden misogynist messages in commercials. A commercial has one, and only one purpose. That is to generate sales for it’s product.

    If this post had been an indictment of the sad fact that research has shown this marketing to be effective with men, I could see your point. But don’t blame Nutri-System for determining why their target would use their product and framing the product in that context.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    It’s incredibly sad that you need a false charge to mount an argument. As I said in the article, “That’s all fine by me”. That one line of dialog was my only real complaint, and I didn’t call it a misogynistic message. Just a male fantasy.

    And I did indict the point that it’s rather hilarious that, once again, they choose to manipulate men through promises of sex. The difference is, you evidently believe your gender to be as stupid as marketers believe you to be, while I (as you would know if you read the site) doubt the validity of statistical data which can be manipulated during both the compilation and interpretation phase.

  6. sbg says

    Y’know, there seem to be very few diet program ads that encourage a person to lose weight for their own health. It’s always to get into that swimsuit or, in this rather horrific case, implies that weight loss = better sex life.

    I would think health should be the primary motivation for female or male.

  7. Gategrrl says

    It could be the emphasis of the message, but when you’re healthier, you feel better. And when you feel better, about your looks and your self, you are sexier. Looks alone don’t make a person sexy. It’s like all of these lose weight advertisments skip the first few parts and go straight for the easy sell.

    I suppose it’s the only way they *can* shill their wares. They’ve got only 50 seconds or less to get their message across – and if folks aren’t to be bothered listening to their doctor about losing weight (what’s “sexy” and appealing about that?) then it’s the appeal to vanity line.

    If anything, the ads aimed at men appeal to them as purely vain creatures…but then, so do they all, don’t they?

    Weight is huge issue, seperate from gender. Just ask overweight people! Just look at the Health Channel with its entire nights scheduled of how morbidly obese people deal with (or not) their obesity. Those shows walk the fine line of informing, and train-wreck fascination. And the shows don’t all focus on overweight women, either: the fattest people on earth are usually men! (and I wonder how they got that way, hmm? enabling goes across gender boundries)

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