Skip to main content

'Tis the season to start feeling good about your body and knock off all the hurtful fat talk.

Mashable reports on a new spot for the cereal Special K that looks more like a public-service announcement than a commercial.

Titled "Shhhut Down Fat Talk," the two-minute spot opens with smartphone closeup shots of social-media posts from women bemoaning their weight problems, including, "My tights are WAY too tight #thunderthighs" and "I just wish I was skinnier #fatty."

The spot's female narrator announces that "93 per cent of women fat talk. We believe it's a barrier to managing our weight. It happens everywhere, especially when shopping for clothes."

The narrator continues: "To show how damaging words can be, we created a store with actual fat talk."

At which point the spot shows a women's clothing store located on a typical urban street in an undisclosed U.S. city.

Fittingly, the store is called Shhh.

In the spot's unscripted scenario, a handful of women enter the store and begin browsing. Most seem to like the frocks and tops, but they're uniformly aghast at the tags affixed to the merchandise.

Instead of designer labels, the clothing has tags with such comments as "I look fat in this," "I look OK from the neck up," "I have a muffin top" and "Cellulite is in my DNA."

The point of the spot becomes evident when one of the shoppers states bluntly: "These are all things that I've said." Another says: "It's like looking at the inside of my head."

Cut to a stark white screen and the words: "You wouldn't talk this way to anyone else. So why do it to yourself?"

The spot closes with the same female shoppers seemingly coming to the realization that when it comes to body image, they can often be their own worst enemy.

One woman says: "It's kind of bewildering to me that someone can do this and say this and feel this way about themselves." Another declares firmly: "No more fat talk."

The ad closes off by inviting the viewer to go to the website

And at no point in the spot is there ever a bowl of cereal shown.

Since being posted to YouTube last weekend, the Special K ad has generated more than a half-million views.

Of course, Special K isn't the first product to showcase negative female body image issues.

Earlier this year, the soap company Dove and hair-product maker Pantene both generated viral attention with ads centred on body image issues.

The Special K ad is part of the cereal company's broader campaign called Fight Fat Talk, which includes the participation of Tyra Banks.

The TV host andsupermodel recently asked her almost 11 million Twitter followers to post a "shhh selfie" to help promote the feel-good campaign.

Interact with The Globe