But then there are the other ads--the ones that make you want to take your healthy little magazine and shred it, spit on it, and then set the whole mess on fire. Or at least sigh and grumble a bit.
Now Cranky Fitness could fund an expedition out to the local newsstand to dig some of these up--but well, we'd rather just
Faux Elitism: Let's Trash the Joggers!
First up: Katieo over at Sister Skinny had a great post about this obnoxious ad campaign by Pearl Izumi. (Note: coincidentally, Katie and the two authors of Cranky Fitness all happen to own this brand of shoe. Since I can barely ever find them in a store (and won't be looking quite as hard now), this was a surprising discovery. Are bloggers naturally attracted to pretentious shoes? If it's any excuse, none of us had seen the ads before we bought them.)
Anyway the point of the ad is to separate the wild, daring, dangerous, heroic "runners" from the lazy, boring, half-assed "joggers." You're supposed to identify as a runner, no matter how slow you yourself go, and look down on mere joggers. The ad portrays runners as "endangered" by all those joggers messing up the purity of their running experience by merely existing.
Not sure if you're a runner or a jogger? Some tips: if you do your "running" on a treadmill or with a stroller or an iPod, sorry, you're not really a runner. (You may, however, be a runner and own a plasma tv or an expensive car). The answer, if you're a poor pathetic jogger and want to be a runner? Just go faster--and buy their shoes.
Yeccch. Wouldn't it be great if they were pushing health and fitness for everyone, not just the "special" people? Why do they feel their experience is cheapened if others are allowed to have it too? Jogging is great exercise! Screw you, Pearl Izumi.
Kelly at Fitness Fixation found this ad for Champion products--which looks kind of normal until you check out the width of the women's arms (particularly the one in the blue shorts). Kelly has a great rant not only on model selection but on the general assumption that women should aspire to be skinny, not muscular.
It's annoying enough when underwear or high-fashion models look dangerously thin and/or airbrushed. But when you're in the sports clothing industry, wouldn't it be nice to pick a few women who look like they could lift a ten pound weight or even a can of Diet Coke without breaking an arm?
Women as Scantily Clad Cuts of Meat:
This skeezy ad for Equinox Fitness Clubs was spotted by Leslie, who has a great blog called The Weighting Game over at iVillage. (She has also written a book, making me jealous, about women and body image called "The Locker Room Diaries.")
The ad is awful enough as is, with a collection of vapid, plastic, women-as-pieces-of furniture. (Why in the world does anyone aspire to be furniture?) But what I would have missed, had she not pointed it out, was the fact that these women have been marked up like pieces of meat with a marking pen. It's creepy and confusing, too--does anyone have any idea why that's supposed to make you want to go to the gym?
And Finally, Combining The Most Loathsome Elements of All the Rest: the Anti-Gym!
Amy at Shaping Up My Life directed us to this rather amazing gym. Or sorry, anti-gym. No, wait, it's "Denver’s only health and vanity lifestyle boutique!" Think that's weird? Oh, hang on, it gets weirder.
Like the Pearl Izumi people, they need their second class citizens, the "chubbies," to make fun of. Naturally though, you can have your beer gut and still not be a "chubby" if you go to their gym and work out. The "chubbies" are always other people. So please don't be offended by their "No Chubbies" T-shirts.
Like the Equinox Ads, women seem to be pieces of meat, and like the Champion Ads, their fitness seems to be judged by odd standards. At least if you go by the pictures, which are basically porn with clothes on. Women are featured licking lollipops, clinging (in pairs) to men, and getting ready to make out with each other. Oh wait, they can also be cage dancers! And do martial arts--or something. (In one odd photo, a robotic looking woman seems to be trying to fend off a quasi-sexual attack by a man wielding a cupcake. )
WTF? Could someone explain this to me? If this is a macho gym aimed at guys who like porn, then what's with the "vanity lifestyle boutique" language? What actual macho guy would want to go to a vanity boutique? This is not to say there's anything wrong with a gym being sexy, or edgy, or "adult." But why is sexy always defined through 13-year old male eyes?
However, one persons "ick" can be another persons "wow, that's creative!" so I'm curious if others find these ads to be annoying too or if it's just me. And has anyone noticed any other health or fitness ads that grate?