These days, weight-loss programs aren't the only ones showing images of obese or overweight individuals, reports USA Today.
Whereas overweight people were in the past often used as the butt of jokes in ads, some marketers are now (carefully) using such images to inspire consumers to change their habits--with the help of their products or services.
Examples: Nike launched an ad this summer showing an obese runner jogging; Subway will in March 2013 runs ads celebrating brand spokesperson Jared Fogle's 15th anniversary of dropping hundreds of pounds and maintaining his weight loss with ads that show him at his former 425-pound weight; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has two new TV ads that show overweight/obese parents reconsidering their own nutrition choices after watching their children emulate their behavior.
Why is it now acceptable to show obesity in ads? "More of us are overweight, so it's a shared problem," says Valerie Folkes, marketing professor at University of Southern California.