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?