What springs to mind when you think of Special K? Chances are it’s those godawful adverts and the controversial “Special K Challenge” diet plan, which involved eating two paltry bowls of cereal each day to lose weight. It doesn’t exactly have the most women-friendly reputation and even it's nutritional claims have been called into question.
So, the brand’s latest advert might take you by surprise. It’s hopped on the ever-so-trendy feminist bandwagon and done a full U-turn, now telling women to “own” (urgh) the act of eating.
The 30-second clip helpfully reminds us that – NEWSFLASH – women do, in fact, eat. “Women are amazing," the brand tells us, pointing out that: "Our bodies grow babies. We run marathons, companies, solve problems," all because – wait for it – we eat.
"We eat almonds, strawberries, quinoa," it continues, "and yeah, we eat chocolate." FFS, now the whole world knows our dirty little secret. We're not the only ones perplexed by the ad, either. Plenty of women have aired their confusion on Twitter.
To be fair, Special K doesn’t seem to be completely tone deaf, having anticipated potential criticism's of its new "feminist" stance on its own website. In a blog post headlined “Special K has changed, here’s why we did”, it takes great pains to outline how it’s now trying to “stand for something stronger” than it did previously.
Presumably something other than women starving themselves to fit into red clothing.
“While some certainly try, no company or brand can suddenly stand for female strength or jump on the positivity bandwagon. We know that," it says. “We’re redefining our brand philosophy to better support women today — evolving everything we 'serve,' from the way we behave to the foods we make.”
It seems to have cottoned on to the idea of #balance, too. “In most places around the world, women have moved away from the days of dieting, and view nutrition as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Why wouldn’t we?”
Sure, anything's better than promoting starvation as a weight-loss tactic, but is "women eat" the most revolutionary message they could come up with?