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Slimy Sumo Salad

I’m about to get seriously nasty. 

I was alerted to the latest advertising campaign by food franchise Sumo Salad by Danni Watts who is an experienced fitness trainer and Project Officer at The Butterfly Foundation. Thanks Danni for bringing this to my attention and being the amazing sort of fitness professional who believes this sort of crap is just not ok.

While loathe to send you to the site, you have to see it to believe such trash would even exist. Has someone in that company completely lost their mind? Clearly they have, because this sort of advertising is disgusting, shaming, hateful and just downright offensive.

Let’s take a closer look here…..

Firstly – how the hell the company is getting away with putting the words ’Surgeon General’s Warning’ in their ads I have no idea.  Last time I checked I thought warnings that came out of the Surgeon General’s office were meant to be serious in nature and not involve mocking people for so-called ‘cankles’ and ‘moobs.’

Next issue is the ridiculous accompanying ‘Quit Guide’ that is supposedly meant to inspire you to give up your fatty fat ways to eat only salad.  Sumo Salad of course.  It contains NO helpful or substantial information whatsoever, just gems like “put the greasy chicken down” and cankles are “predominantly (a) female urban condition where grease & nasties in fatty foods slide inside your body, building up to create swelling on your ankles…Sufferers describe it as capri-pant & strappy sandal sabotage.”  Oh – delightful Sumo boys.  Just delightful.  Thanks for bringing to the general publics attention the dire importance of needing to have hot looking ankles in capri pants.

What is clearly at play here is that Sumo Salad executives loathe anyone that is not thin. They are trying to sell their food under the guise of caring about people’s health, but really, who are they kidding? They are slagging off at anyone that does not fit their accepted aesthetic and the visuals in their ads clearly show they are more concerned with the way people look rather than their actual health. Wonder if they do a muffin top or cankle check when you apply for a job with them? The mind boggles.

Clearly, the slimy Sumo’s believe that by displaying their fat hatred for people and promoting a society that revels in believing you are only healthy if you are thin (with not a fat ankle, love handle or man boob in sight), that you will buy their salad.

Ha! Hee! Ha Ha! Hee Hee! You must be kidding. I’ll make my own damn salad or buy one straight from your competitor thanks stupid Sumo’s. And if I want to wash it down with a chocolate milkshake that will go straight to my ankles I damn well will.

Post Script @ 1.55pm Tuesday November 16th

When I learned of this campaign late yesterday, little did I know in under 24 hours it would emerge to national status and involve television ads.  I have thought long and hard about posting these ads to Beautiful You, because, put plainly, they are vile.  Not really in keeping with my vibe here. 

I’ve decided however that if people such as myself don’t speak against this sort of body hatred, then very little will change towards developing a world that appreciates people of all shapes and sizes.  For that to happen and people to hopefully join me, we need to know what we are up against.  So dear readers – here they are.  As if the website and visuals were not bad enough – these ads are now showing on national television.

Thankyou to FOX FM for running these ad’s as a story on drive time news today.  My quote in the news piece was ‘These ads should be offensive & insulting to all people. They are the worst type of body hatred advertising possible.”

12 people have commented
  1. Fiona says:

    Like the new layout!

    At the surgeon general's thing – isn't that just a US thing? I've only seen it on my parallel export branded wines…

    I've seen some overweight people working at sumo salad in Canberra centre. Or one. One that I clearly remember. Not morbidly obese, but she had more than a "muffin top" above her waistline…

    I find some of the Sumo stuff too cheesy for me – I can only handle so much.

  2. Julie Parker says:

    Hey Fiona – Yes. Surgeon General warnings only from the US, but we have similar systems here. Maybe SS are thinking of beginning to ship their salads o/s?

    Glad to hear they employ staff who sustain themselves on more than lettuce. Wonder how they feel about the current advertising?

    Thanks re: the layout. Still getting used to it!

  3. sayhealth says:

    First of all, the new layout is awesome! Kudos!

    You write that the makers of Sumo Salad clear loathe anyone that's not thin. I do not disagree with this. However, who knows if that's true? At the end of the day, so many countries are run not so much by democracy, but by capitalism. If it makes a profit, companies will go for it, regardless of whether or not it fits with their worldview. For, example, the same company that makes Dove & the Campaign for Real Beauty, also makes Axe with its misogynist commercials. Ideals don't drive business much of the time; profits do. So, if Sumo Salad is operating in a larger society that loathes people who are no thin, they will be able to create profitable campaigns based on that loathing.

  4. Julie Parker says:

    Hi sayhealth…You know you are absolutely right. Many (if not all) decisions in the for profit sector are driven solely by what will make money. If that means people are marginalised or disrespected then the feeling appears to be 'so be it.'

    I think, very sadly, SS are operating in a larger society that distrusts and dislikes larger people, hence the ability for them to create this campaign. To make things even worse from my perspective, I have just seen a tv ad for the campaign this morning. It shows a woman stuffing her face with hot chips and then ending up with cankles – a word I just hate. It once again is an example of how fat people are presented in our society as lazy, slovenly and disgusting. So the loathing you mention clearly does exist and is being fed into.

    There is much work to be done to change this and I'm certainly going to keep trying.

    Thanks for dropping by and for the tick re: the layout. Glad you like it!

  5. L. Flowers says:

    Isn't this double edged sword in a way?

    First, there is a terrible problem with obesity, childhood, and adult, and the terrible problem with people carrying too much weight, and the bad affects on your heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

    Then, when someone comes along and says "your diet is causing you health problems" (although, in this advert, they say it using terms of cankles, moobs, and muffin tops), and that you should adopt a more healthy lifestyle, it is condemned by the advocates for a better body image.

    I mean, we have to do something about folks being obese, AND we have to do something to help the ED/Bad Body Image folks.

    Cannot we agree on that?

  6. Julie Parker says:

    Hi L.Flowers – Any person who has a health issue, for whatever reason and whatever size they are, is absolutely worthy of all the medical, psychological and emotional support they need.

    But, a campaign like this that is driven by profit and mocks people with language like cankles and moobs? I don't think that is helpful at all, in fact, I think it's harmful and more likely to make someone who is the direct target of the ads feel ashamed, guilty and victimised. Research clearly tells us that when such feelings arise in people, it often makes them eat or binge even more.

  7. L.Flowers says:

    Julie,

    Thanks for the response, so I will relay my real world experieince….Today, for the first time in 22 months I had to go to the doctor to have a "bad bump" on my head looked at. (Turns out, I have an abscess)….as part of the exam, they had me climb on the scale. I weighed 17 pounds less than I did 20 months ago, the last time I went to the doc. Now, don't get confused, at 5"9, and 234, I am still too big.

    Who says I am too big. The doctor did. The BMI health charts did. Society did. Potental partners did.

    But, I don't abide by those voices, including the doctor who commented that I would be better off 35-40 pounds lighter. (3 times, he said it, using different reasons each time), because I am satisifed that what I way, and how I look are reasonable for me.

    But, I also have a friend with an eating disorder, who is the same height as I am, and at 100 piunds, feels like she is huge (her words). When asked what she hears when someone says "You look good", is "Your too fat", and if someone says "Your too thin", she hears "Almnost where I want to be."……20 years now she listens to that voice….20 years of very unhealthy eating (and she admonishes me for my bad eating habits) have conditioned her to the fact that the only control she has in life is the control about what she eats, and how often.

    Sorry, I do not know how to reconcile these two dichotomies…..the "Your too fat", and the "Your too thin"…..both are control issues….

    Then there is my step-daughter, she had gastric bypass last year, and has lost 100+ pounds. She now weighs less than she did in the 8th grade…but the doctor told her that according to the BMI chart, she should lose another 25 pounds…..but she is inclined to go ahead and lose the weight, because a doctor she trust showed her an official chart….

  8. Julie Parker says:

    L.Flowers – Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and story further. I hope that means that you feel you can do that here as a 'safe' space. I certainly appreciate it.

    I am so sorry you have an abscess right now – definately something to go for a doctor for! The thing I don't understand though is why it was necessary to weigh you as part of a head examination and I think from what you say here you also don't know why either? How is your weight related to that?

    While you may be receiving messages from your doctor and others that you are too "big" – I am so glad you are choosing not to listen to those voices. As you say – this is about what is ok for you and if YOU are ok with YOU – that is all that matters.

    There is now a growing lot of evidence that the BMI is not the sound measurement of health that it was once thought to be. I think your stepdaughters case is a clear example of that. While I do not know what she weighed in 8th grade (it doesn't really matter anyway) the fact she weighs less than that now and is being told by a doctor to lose more weight frightens me. It is confusing to all concerned and yes, reconciling all these messages is difficult.

    Have you by chance ever read any fat acceptance blogs? You may find that some reading in there is very empowering. I also think that taking a look at Kate Harding's BMI project/slideslow may interest you – http://kateharding.net/bmi-illustrated/ Shapely Prose can be a confronting read for a first timer if you have not done so before, but the FAQ's section alone I feel has really helped me understand that it is possible for obese people to reclaim their personal power re: feelings about their bodies.

    Thankyou again for sharing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As somebody who has worked in the media/advertising industries for about a decade, I have seen, first-hand, the distortion of body image. I am now using my background in media in a very different way – speaking at schools to youth about media literacy and body image. Unfortunately, popular culture is dictated by demand. Sad but true. I aspire to educate the kids about the messages they are being exposed to and teach them to make educated, media literate decisions for themselves.

    The Sumo Salad ads are NOT RIGHT but if sales targets are met, they will continue to run. I’m not justifying it – that is just a sad fact. I heard an in-store radio ad at the shops today that claimed “Eat Sumo Salad and be thin” … This disgusted me as the emphasis was on size, not health. As I tell the kids I work with, size 6 is healthy for some, size 16 is healthy for some.

    Lisa Cox
    Author – ‘Does my bum look big in this ad?’
    http://www.LisaCoxPresents.com
    http://www.BestSchoolPerformances.com.au

  10. Em says:

    Congratulations for such an elegant post about such a horrible ad campaign.

    I just…there are absolutely no words for this.

    Who approves this sort of thing? And you are so right about the faux 'Surgeon General's Warning'. How are they allowed to get away with that?

  11. Marsha @ Green Mountain at Fox Run says:

    Great post, Julie. Applaud your decision to look at problems with ads like these. They bombard us daily through television and other media, and if someone doesn't point out the problems with them, many people just accept what they say as truth.

  12. Diet Coke Missy says:

    Never eating sumo salad again. Ever.

    *blood boiling*

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