Culture Jam

Original Ad: Popchips and Katy Perry

In the this ad, by potato chip brand, Popchips, we have a very fit looking Katy Perry, who is promoting the snack brand as one that will allow women to stay slim and beautiful while indulging in a savory snack. This caters to the modern idea that the ideal body type of a woman is one that is thin. The word “modern” is used because the perference towards slimmer body types is relatively new, as more curvaceous body figures were preffered in the 1800s to mid 1900s. This can be seen through the popularity of burlesque dance in the mid 1800s, as the female performers often had fuller bodies. However, with the rise of super models and actresses beginning to fill the stage in the mid to late 1900s, curvy body types lost popularity in favor of the “chic” and “fashionable” slim body types.

The ad by Popchips may actually appear to be rather innocent at first, as it is promoting Popchips as a alternative to fattier snacks. With Katy Perry clad in fitness apparel, we are given the image of a fit woman holding Popchips, which presumably represents the idea that Popchips means fit, which in turn means healthy. With what I have explained so far, nothing appears terribly wrong, however, issues start appearing when one analyzes the choice of wording and model.

The ad perpetuates the idea that a slim body means beauty, which is a concern that fills the mind of many women. As women grow up, they are exposed to images of slim models and actresses. As such, that becomes their idea of beauty, because that’s what people want to see. That’s what men want to see. If they don’t have that “ideal” body, they are not beautiful. Hence, we have young and impressionable women who eat less in pursuit of that image. As such, we see a rise in eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, particularly in the modelling industry, as women are heavily judged on their body types. The fear of judgement from others may also lead to anxiety and other mental disorders.


Jammed Ad: Popchips and Body Image

In the jammed version of the ad, I aimed to expose the implicit messages of the original Popchips ad by replacing the main tagline and quote with messages that are quite a bit more blunt than the original. The line “love. without the handles” is replaced with “eat this. because no one loves a fat woman” to bring thought around the word “love”. In the article, the word “love” can be interpreted with multiple meanings. “love” could either represent the love of eating Popchips, a delicious snack, or the literal “love” that we desire from other people. In my jamming, I’m interpreting the ad as the latter, because there is no “love” in “love handles”. As the statement implies, we don’t want love handles, because it’s not attractive.

The quote, which is supposedly from Katy Perry herself, as been replaced with a statement that reflects the worries of many women who are struggling with the concept of beauty in the modern age. The original ad reads “good thing they don’t go straight to my hips”. Why is this a “good thing”? Because having wide hips doesn’t fit societies image of beautiful. The ad is clearly exploiting the worries of body image in woman for commercial gain. The whole ad is essentially saying “If you don’t want to be fat, eat Popchips!”.

In the final part of my jamming, the name Katy Perry is replaced with “Pop Culture Icon Who Men Find Attractive”. Katy Perry’s presence itself in this ad is of major significance, as in this age of pop culture, she is a sex icon among a large following of men. With thin waist and larger bust, she has gained much popularity outside of music as an idol of sexual desire. This much is known amongst men and women. By placing her in such an ad, it sends the message that if women want to be desirable, they should eat Popchip. In addition, with Katy Perry also being a role model to many younger women, having her in the ad may attract much of her female fan base to buying Popchips. “If we want to be thin and attractive like Katy, we should eat Popchips”.