This book explores the addictive techniques used in advertisements for ultra-processed foods, which promise consequence-free eating to consumers while at the same time encouraging over-consumption of unhealthy food. Debbie Danowski presents an analysis of promotional techniques in the context of food addiction characteristics and behaviors through an exploration of the themes used in this type of advertising. These thematic messages include using food to rebel, to play, to relax, to achieve happiness, to replace exercise, to achieve good health, to increase intelligence, to show love, to bond with others, and to create environmental change. Ultimately, Danowski argues that these competing and contradictory messages have had long-term negative ramifications for American habits of consumption, both literally and figuratively. Scholars of communication, advertising, media studies, and food studies will find this book particularly useful.
For more information, check out this conversation between the author and Susan Branscome, host of Food Addiction: The Problem and The Solution.
Debbie Danowski is associate professor of communication studies at Sacred Heart University.
Chapter One: Don’t Worry, Eat
Chapter Two: I’ll Eat What I Want, When I Want
Chapter Three: Kids Know Best What to Eat
Chapter Four: Breathe Deeply and Eat
Chapter Five: Be Happy and Eat
Chapter Six: Move and Chew
Chapter Seven: Be Healthy and Eat
Chapter Eight: Eat and Be Smart
Chapter Nine: Eat This Because I Love You
Chapter Ten: Chew and Make Friends
Chapter Eleven: Chew and Change the World
Chapter Twelve: Start Worrying and Change Things
“Happy Eating” and Food Addiction in American Advertising is a timely text that examines the food addiction behaviors featured in ultra-processed food advertising. From catchy commercial phrases to the use of iconic mascots the author brings to light the various ways advertisers communicate about food and why we should eat it. Grounded in careful analysis of fast food and processed food commercials, Danowski demonstrates the tactics advertisers use to suggest we purchase the food and then consume it. This book is a one-of-kind gem that left me critically analyzing the food I now put in my grocery cart.
In her timely new book "Happy Eating" and Food Addiction in American Advertising, Debbie Danowski provides a compelling examination of how food companies (aka Big Food) promote unhealthy, addictive eating through sophisticated advertising techniques. As an addiction physician specializing in food addiction, I found this book highly relevant to the growing body of food addiction research that is affecting millions of people world wide... Beyond the compelling content, Danowski's book is engaging to read thanks to her conversational tone and seamless integration of vivid historical advertisements, celebrity endorsements, and popular culture references. In summary, this well-researched book, replete with multiple citations, makes a vital contribution to understanding the forces driving America’s unhealthy relationship with food. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in food addiction or advertising’s role in public health.