Be Strong. Be Fit.


“Shrink a Few Sizes” Message Has Backfired in New York

October 10th, 2008 · 9 Comments ·


Imagine one day, you walk into a laundry, getting ready to wash your clothes, suddenly you saw something inside the washer. It is a tiny T-shirt with a statement like this “Shrink a few sizes”. Now, what is your reaction?

Recently, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are placing tiny T-shirts in dryers throughout New York City urging laundry-doers to “Shrink a few sizes.” The campaign, which is done by ad agency McCann-Erickson, is targeting laundromat patron. Quite some people are offended by that message,

People who are upset about this move have these following comments:

  • The message is a sign of government intrusion into their private lives. They feel like being personally stalked.
  • The campaign is just to fill the advertising creative director’s ego. They are suggesting why not the ad agency ask shorties to “grow few inches taller?”


Now, my take on this “Shrink a Few Sizes” campaign:

  • I am wondering whether these tiny shirts are placed in every dryer. What if somebody who is underweight see the message instead? Are we telling them that they still have to grow few pounds down?
  • Probably the ad agency is testing the use of public laundromat as an advertising delivery device. So, if privacy is the great concern, may be it is time to own a washing machine and dryer at home?
  • Some overweight people are sensitive to see message like this. Even the intention is good, they may feel offended. The truth hurts, sometimes, especially an honest one. Some overweight people rather the message is told by doctors, and not to be insulted with a tiny shirt instead. The insensitivity issue of the message may not been thoroughly thought through.
  • overweight-woman-in-new-york.jpg

  • Overweight is a health issue. But, to tell others without offending their feeling is a complicated issue itself. If the campaign objectivity is to create a buzz, to a certain extent, it has done that. But, whether we will see people watching diet and exercising to lose weight after that, no one can be sure. I am hoping some one who actually say this while holding the shirt, “Wow. You know what. This cute message on this tiny shirt is so right. I need to lose weight!”
  • Last but not least, the authority may consider doing some other things like subsidizing some pedometers to encourage to walk more or jog more with a message like this “Be active. Be healthy.” or “Be strong. Be fit” (the tag line of this blog). No doubt, the tiny shirt is cute, but who can really fit into it? It is going to be thrown away and therefore the money should be well spent.

What say you?




Category: Weight Loss

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9 responses so far ↓
  • ivy // Oct 10, 2008 at 8:35 AM

    The Shrink for few size shirt is a good idea, although it is offensive to some. I think it’s also a waste.

  • alfonto // Oct 10, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    i’m just thinking, this campaign is a really good way to save some spending on baby’s clothes especially for parents with newborn. maybe they should put in a small pants too. heheh

  • Daniel // Oct 11, 2008 at 2:58 AM

    Maybe they should just try limit food portions in New York and promote walking for an hour a day.

    Try the rewards system rather than just putting something ridiculous such as that in the dryer.

  • Ghada A. // Oct 11, 2008 at 3:27 AM

    I loved the post! Ha ha.. that’s actually a cute marketing idea, but a pedometer attached to it would have been better. Maybe even a weight loss pamphlet.

    Great site!

    Love, Ghada

  • Taylor Ryan // Oct 13, 2008 at 10:04 PM

    The fact that way more people in the US are overweight than underweight, i feel it’s a decent campaign and that those that are underweight wouldn’t get defensive. the population knows that we are in a fat epidemic and that we need to fight. overweight people shouldn’t be offended as this is not news that they are overweight.

  • CJ // Oct 14, 2008 at 5:52 AM

    I don’t know that I’m offended by that per se. But I’m bothered that they think it would be effective. Especially considering the number of factors (aside from fat) that go into what size a person is. If they’re going to spend the effort then why not transfer the money to the public schools to make lunches healthier. Or make fitness centers more available. Or fund community gardens to get people better access to vegetables. You know things that have actually been shown to have an impact.

  • Angie Tan // Oct 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    Bad advertising idea. Some people will not get the message.

    Anyway, the message is also bad to those people who are so weight-conscious that the message will force them to “shrink” themselves a lot more…

    It’s better to teach people about nutrition and exercise than send such a vague message out. Sometimes, people just don’t have the knowledge rather than they don’t want to exercise.

    Positive reinforcements and encouragement will work better. I know that because I’m also an overweight person trying to get healthier.

  • Sally // Oct 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    Looking at your pics makes me want to get up and go jogging right now at 11pm!!!

  • asithi // Oct 28, 2008 at 11:51 PM

    Pedometers might be a better idea like you said. I remember when McDonalds was giving away a pedometer with their salads a while back. My co-workers were buying the salads in order to get the pedometer. A handful of them actually even used them. I love my pedometer because it really is a good indication of whether I need to move more throughout my day.

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