‘Realize’ This is Poor Marketing

I just stumbled across a website for a company called Realize. Take a look at the image below, from the home page. Those people look pretty good right? My first thought was, “Why in the world would these people need weight-loss surgery?” You have to hover over each person to see that they are all patients who have had the surgery already. Okay, that makes more sense. But it’s a terrible marketing idea.

When you hover over the first woman, a link invites you to “Find out if you’re a candidate for surgery.” I see a woman who appears to be of a healthy weight, so what am I to make of that? That even someone her size needs weight-loss surgery? What if I am twice or three times this woman’s size, and looking at this site? Would I think, “Gosh, if that lady needs it at her size, I really need it. Sign me up!” Of course that’s exactly what this company wants you to think, because it translates into more dollars in their pockets.

I didn’t delve too deeply into this site, because I was already annoyed just seeing the home page. I did, however, click Step 5 – “Learn about real patients.” And that’s where I found this (emphasis mine):

Tracy is 35 years old, married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of four daughters. She works at a hospital and attends school, majoring in education. Tracy lost control of her weight after the birth of her second daughter, and successive births exacerbated her struggles. She’s determined to lose weight for herself and for her family. She dreams of attending a Broadway show, going to the gym with her daughters and most of all, inspiring her family to get healthy. She believes it all starts with mom.

So, if I’m fat and I don’t get weight-loss surgery, there’s no way I can see a Broadway show, right? And I certainly wouldn’t dream of going to the gym!

It deeply saddens me that people believe this, that they cannot have or enjoy a full life until they reach a weight-loss goal. That is not to say that for some people, weight-loss surgery isn’t a valid option. However, I truly believe that if you have mobility, you have the ability to get healthy (I should trademark that!). I’m going to talk more about weight-loss surgery later, but for now, let’s leave it at this: you don’t have to have massively expensive and potentially dangerous surgery, and you don’t have to be skinny, to lead a full and wonderful life. I wish the people behind Realize would realize that.