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Katy Perry for Pop Chips: Is food even about flavor anymore?

By October 18, 2012 16 Comments
Ad for Pop Chips featuring Katy Perry holding bags of chips in front of her breasts.

Sorry, but since when do Katy Perry’s breasts have anything to do with Pop Chips?

It seems Pop Chips has gotten a fresh face for its new ad line. Within the past month, Katy Perry has begun to promote the all-natural potato snacks, popping up on billboards around the country. Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to endorse anything Katy Perry-related, these recent ads promote unhealthy rhetoric that perpetuates diet-obsessed behaviors in our culture. Sorry, Katy, but no can do.

In the first ad, Katy holds two bags of Pop Chips in front of her breasts, smiling giddily under the text “nothing fake about ‘em.” The media’s habit of juxtaposing virtually any products with blatantly sexual statements never fails to baffle me. Do Pop Chips really have to rely on Katy Perry’s breasts to sell their products? I see the clever corollary between “all-natural” ingredients and “all-natural” breasts, but frankly, the organic or non-organic nature of Katy Perry’s body parts shouldn’t be publicly disputed on a billboard.

The other two advertisements pertain to diet culture more specifically. One shows Katy in workout gear as she blows the camera a kiss. The text says “love. without the handles.” Ugh, give me a break. The last ad features Katy holding a bag of Pop Chips under the text “spare me the guilt chip.” I think I’m confused. Where’s the text mentioning how delicious Pop Chips are? Are we buying snack food or diet pills here?

Ad for Pop Chips featuring Katy Perry blowing a kiss with text that reads, "Love. Without the handles."

Body-shaming much?

Advertisements about food aren’t about food anymore. Instead of focusing on how savory and delightful snacks ought to be, ads promote the guilt, shame, and constant vigilance that accompany food consumption in 21st century America.

With advertisements like this being so pervasive, it’s hard for anyone to simply enjoy food for what it is — food! There will always be a billboard or commercial implying that our “indulgences” ought to be ridden with guilt. If you want to buy Pop Chips, buy Pop Chips — but do it because they’re a tasty choice or a healthy choice — not because they won’t result in guilt or love handles.

Hailey Magee is a Women’s and Gender Studies and Politics double major at Brandeis University. Her foremost interests include media literacy and empowerment of young girls. Hailey hopes to one day pursue a career in the political arena and become an advocate for gender equality.