September 30th, 2008

red panda eating bamboo

Kaiser's Thrive campaign promotes violence against fat people

On the 101 South freeway near San Francisco around the beginning of September, I saw a billboard that was part of Kaiser Permanente's Thrive ad campaign. It said:
Beat Obesity With A Stick
The background was hard to see until I got up close, but I figured out it was sticks of celery.

Har har.


Photo by Marilyn Wann, used by permission

As a person who has been physically and verbally abused because I am fat, I was pretty appalled at what I thought was an encouragement of violence against fat people. And if Kaiser thinks that weight loss is a simple matter of eating celery, it seemed to me that there might be non-violent ways of saying it.

People who have contacts at Kaiser complained, and according to a NAAFA press release, Kaiser said that the ad would be removed. So we initially thought that quiet activism (documented here: http://firecat.livejournal.com/559365.html) would be sufficient to address this.

But the ad is still there three weeks later. The photo was taken just last week. Apparently Kaiser and its ad agency are OK with continuing to give some people the impression that they are promoting violence against fat people and fat-hatred.

Lara Frater also blogged about this, here: http://fatchicksrule.blogs.com/fat_chicks_rule/2008/09/when-help-is-not-needed.html (Warning, there is fat-hatred in the comments.)

I'm told that relevant Kaiser executive in charge of advertising is:
Debbie Cantu
Vice President, Brand Marketing and Advertising
Kaiser Permanente
300 Lakeside Drive
Oakland CA 94611
debbie.cantu@kp.org

I haven't yet decided what to say to her.