On a rainy, cold, dark and dreary day two weeks ago in London a team of people met to discuss how to end the marketing of diets and weight loss products around kids. It wasn’t a high profile meeting endorsed by celebrities or featuring #gifted goodie bags and a who’s who of Instagram influencers, but then no one said creating change was glamorous.
When I launched the #FreeFromDiets campaign back in the summer I had no idea how it would go down. It started with a few angry rants on Instagram Stories about diet club reps handing out leaflets at various school gates up and down the country, and then it snowballed into a fully fledged campaign with a petition and a video and a website and a team of ambassadors and a campaign manager.
Every week I get DM after DM after DM from parents all over the UK telling me stories of weight loss brands using schools and kids’ clubs as a recruitment ground for new members.
Aggressive marketing techniques include handing out leaflets in school book bags to take home to parents, hanging huge banners on school gates, putting up posters in kids’ club changing rooms. I even heard from one mum who was shocked to find a rep for a big diet brand dressed up as the Easter Bunny in her local park, handing out balloons and leaflets enticing parents to join her local club.[Read More…]