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Tom Caru

About Tom Caru

Tom is a writer, healthy lifestyle enthusiast and a stark raving mad Batfleck fan. Coffee lover, traveller and creator of the *Around the World in 80 Gyms*® project. He currently resides in Michigan, eternally searching for better coffee and learning to drive on the other side of the road.

Is the LiveLighter campaign the answer to the obesity epidemic, or, as Tom Caru foresees, will many Australians just choose to switch off?


You may have heard the saying that if you keep doing the same thing, you’re going to get the same results.

When it comes to public obesity interventions, I think it’s safe to say we keep getting the same results.

So the question is not whether this new LiveLighter initiative will work, but rather, what’s different about it?

Shock value. The kid gloves are away and the new LiveLighter TV commercials are throwing gut punches. Visceral images specifically tailored to terrorise/guilt/shame overweight people into becoming thinner.  Their minds will wake up from their distorted behaviour as if dunked into icy water.

Think of it as the ALS ice bucket challenge… except nobody is waiting to envelope your shivering psyche in a warm towel afterwards.

They are serious messages for a serious problem. However, the real problems that the advertising industry has had the kid gloves off for years. They have been wailing on us for so long our nerves have died and we can’t even tell how much damage their blows are doing.

How well do they really expect these new LiveLighter commercials will compete with the feel-good beer, burger, pizza, and chocolate commercials designed to titillate your mind instead of terrifying it?

The world may not be made of Cadbury, but it might as well be… you never have to look very far to see some sugar and you never hear a service station attendant asking if you want also want to buy a discounted salad with your petrol.

At the end of the day, people can change the channel.

It’s like those World Vision ads. Most people would rather change the channel on a teary-eyed, starving child (with a fly in his/her eye) than undergo any minor amount of emotional discomfort and those children are complete strangers – these ads target us. How much faster do you think people will be reaching for the remote when they are trying to escape emotional discomfort directed at themselves?

You’re fat.

You’re an irresponsible parent.

You’re killing yourself and significantly shortening the lifespan and quality of life of your children.

Now here’s a commercial for Hungry Jacks.

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