Special K Tries to Stop Women Who ‘Fat Talk’ by Confronting Them With It

Empowering or just odd?

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Special K believes positivity is key to weight management success. So, it's taking aim at its opposite—"fat talk," or the negative things some women say about their bodies and others. The Kellogg's brand says 93 percent of women fat talk, "and it's weighing women down." Now, ahead of the New Year slim-down season, Special K and Leo Burnett have launched a whole "Fight Fat Talk" campaign, with social, video and other efforts aimed at getting women to talk more positively about themselves.

The two-minute spot below, directed by O Positive's Peyton Wilson, has a pretty aggressive strategy for dealing with fat talk: It ambushes women with it while they're shopping for clothes (a prime occasion for fat talk). Actual fat talk, taken from Twitter and elsewhere, is printed on signs and labels in the store—and is meant to make women realize how terribly self-defeating it is.

The spot is clearly going for an empowering vibe, à la Dove or Pantene. And the women do get emotional upon seeing the signs, realizing they're being too hard on themselves. But in some ways, it doesn't feel as natural. Without any positivity at all, the signs just don't seem very inspiring—unlike the Dove and Pantene ads, which had the stranger-described sketches and the "Don't let labels hold you back" elements as springboards for positivity. Plus, there's also the inconvenient fact that Special K is expressly meant to make you thinner—rather than making you more accepting of yourself.

What do you think of the video? Does it work for you?

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.