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Why You're Fat: You’re Tricked Into Eating Junk Food

Marketers get paid a of lot money to get you to eat unhealthy food. And they’re really good at their jobs.

| September 13th, 2011
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Eat Pretty Barrier: Youre Tricked Into Eating Junk Food

There’s the Lay’s commercial with joyous young people munching on crispy potato chips that played during the morning news, the billboard of the buff athlete offering you a refreshing sip of Gatorade that you drove past on your way to work and the magazine ad of a healthy, happy family sitting down to share a meal of Stouffer’s lasagna that you flipped by while waiting for your doctor’s appointment.

It’s no surprise that we’re exposed to nearly 3,000 marketing messages daily. And even though we’re all too familiar with the art of being sold something—people try to sell us their products, we take that information for what it’s worth and then we make an informed decision—the “sell” isn’t always so blatantly obvious. If you think you’re picking up everything those clever marketers are putting down, think again: Research shows that the images and associations these ads form within our minds eye are much more powerful than we realize.

What’s the Deal?

“Any advertiser will tell you that successful marketing appeals to emotions and slips below the radar of critical thinking,” says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., the author of the groundbreaking book, “Food Politics.” “We are not supposed to notice advertising and we don’t—unless we deliberately set out to look for it.”

Marketers want you to automatically associate their brand with feeling good. They do this by linking their brand to basic human motivations—like accomplishment, belonging, self-fulfillment—to boost product sales.

MORE: More Dirty Secrets of the Psychology of Food Advertising

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